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    Jack Fitzmier and David Harrington Watt, representatives of the American Academy of Religion

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2016 CEO Spring Meeting

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The Conference of Executive Officers (CEO), formerly the Conference of Administrative Officers, held its spring meeting at the Marriott Capital View Hotel in Arlington, VA, on May 7, 2016, following the ACLS annual meeting. CEO Executive Committee Chair Nancy Kidd, National Communication Association, led the meeting. 

The meeting agenda is here.

Kidd welcomed new CEO members from the Society for Classical Studies, College Forum of the National Council of Teachers of English, and the Renaissance Society of America to their first CEO spring meeting.  She then asked for a moment of silence to acknowledge the passing of CEO member Clifford Kuhn, who was executive director of the Oral History Association at the time of his death.  

The first order of business was the presentation of the slate of proposed new members for the executive committee. The nominating committee was chaired by Milagros Pererya, Latin American Studies; Mariana Whitmer, Society for American Music, and Susan Olson, Law and Society Association, served with her on the committee. The nominees, who were elected to serve terms ending in spring 2019, were Jim Grossman, American Historical Association; Gerard Hauser, Rhetoric Society of America; and Lynda Park, Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies.  They replace outgoing members Nancy Kidd, Timothy Lloyd, American Folklore Society, and Milagros Pererya. Continuing on the committee are Paul Erickson, American Antiquarian Society; Amy Ferrer, American Philosophical Association; Keith Francis, American Society for Church History’ and Craig Klafter, American Society for Legal History. 

Tim Lloyd reported on data collection for the 2016 census on organizational health. Fifty-five member societies had completed the questionnaire to date. Tim urged societies that had yet to participate to do so, also reminding all members to submit their IRS 990 forms. He encouraged members to continue to provide data for the annual quantitative reports as well as future qualitative publications. 

Kidd reported on the January and May 2016 meetings of the ACLS Board of Directors, highlighting the plans for expanding the work of ACLS as the organization moves into its second 100 years. 

She introduced Joseph LaMountain, vice president of Reingold, Inc., a public relations firm based in Arlington.  LaMountain discussed “strategic communications” as opposed to “public relations,” noting that most organizations turn to such strategies for crisis management. He outlined the different types of agencies (full-service, boutique, consultant/freelancer) and enumerated the pros and cons of each.  He advised CEO members to keep their organizational objectives at the forefront when reviewing their communications and social media strategies.  The majority of the CEO is interested in making research available to the general public, an objective LaMountain thought would have an impact and possibly broaden the membership base. 

Smaller discussion groups were arranged to consider the evolving learned society value proposition.  Four groups, arranged by size, discussed how to make the case to young scholars that society membership is in their long-term interest.  

When the full group reconvened, they heard a presentation from Joe Karaganis of The American Assembly, Columbia University, on the Open Syllabus Explorer, an online tool that aggregates data from over one million syllabi collected from college and university websites. He sought feedback from the CEO and asked them to consider the possibility of their societies' participation. In response to questions about access, Karaganis explained that the platform now provides basic information from the syllabi but no access to the underlying documents.   

Stephen M. Schaefer of Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, L.L.P. made himself available for consultation after the meeting. Suggested topics for discussion were top legal concerns in publishing and new European Union data protection requirements.

The next leadership seminar for ACLS member society presidents and chief executive officers will be held on Friday, September 12, 2016, led again by Bruce Lesley, a BoardSource consultant specializing in nonprofit board best practices, with a particular emphasis on the board's role in strategic planning and innovation.

The CEO will next convene in St. Louis, MO, November 2-5, 2016.

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  • Nancy Kidd opens the CEO Meeting

  • Timothy Lloyd, American Folklore Society

  • Robert (Jay) Malone, History of Science Society, and Keith Francis, American Society of Church History

  • Amy Ferrer, American Philosophical Association, and Robert Judd, American Musicological Society

  • Discussion group for small societies

  • Discussion group for large societies

  • Joe LaMountain, Reingold, Inc.

  • Ed Liebow, American Anthropological Association, poses a question

  • Allan Metcalf, American Dialect Society, and Rebecca Shapiro, Dictionary Society of North America