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2008 CAO Spring Meeting

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The Conference of Administrative Officers (CAO) of the ACLS held its spring meeting in Pittsburgh on Saturday, May 10, 2008, following the ACLS Annual Meeting

The meeting schedule is available here.

The CAO business meeting was held in the morning at the Omni William Penn Hotel. CAO Executive Committee Chair Carl Monk, Association of American Law Schools, led the meeting.  Allan Metcalf, chair of the Nominating Committee, reported that Lisa Mighetto, American Society for Environmental History, and John Siegfried, American Economic Association, had been elected to the CAO Executive Committee, replacing outgoing members Carl Monk and Allan Metcalf.  They join committee members Olavi Arens, Association for the Avancement of Baltic Studies, David Barclay, German Studies Association, Jonathan Rodgers, American Oriental Society, and Rona Sheramy, Association for Jewish Studies. After the meeting proper, Rosemary G. Feal, Modern Language Association, was elected to serve as CAO Executive Committee chair. (See Boards and Committees for more information.)

Sandra Bradley, ACLS director of member relations, reported on plans for the September leadership seminar for ACLS member society presidents and chief administrative officers. Now in its fifth year, the workshop is led by Glenn Tecker, a professional consultant who specializes in associations and their leadership. 

John Hammer, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, provided an update on the Academy's Humanities Indicators Project.

Candace Frede, ACLS director of Web & information systems, invited the group to explore the new ACLS website (launched February 2008) and its presentation of the work of the learned societies and the CAO. Development of the CAO Net, a confidential work site for the group, is on track for launch in late summer 2008.

The meeting concluded with a program session on "The Role of the Executive Director." Rosemary G. Feal moderated a structured roundtable with representatives of small, medium, and large societies. The moderator asked questions and called on particular individuals to answer in a few sentences; she also invited questions from the floor. Leading off the session, panelists were asked:

  • What is the role of legal counsel at your learned societies? (What is the relationship between the executive director and legal counsel? How do you know when to consult an attorney?)
  • How do you make the work of the learned society more concrete to potential donors, to the public, and even to members? How do you take the subtle and slow way results can happen in the scholarly world, and make this quantifiable and tangible?
  • How do you justify any social action for your associations—e.g., what is the rationale for something as seemingly obvious as socially responsible investing, and what are the measures for gauging the effect of such policies? How do you make decisions about social or political issues?

The format provided for an especially lively and informative session.

In the afternoon, VisitPittsburgh (Greater Pittsburgh Convention and Visitors Bureau) hosted a tour of the city and its meeting facilities, notable among them the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, the largest certified "green" building in the world.  

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  • The CAO program session on "The Role of the Executive Director"

  • Jody Ciufo posing a question; Kendra Leonard, Donald Harreld, and Carol Martin

  • CAO Executive Committee Chair Carl Monk leads the business meeting.

  • Bill Davis and Jay Malone

  • Allan Metcalf, John Dichtl and David Barclay

  • Stephen Stuempfle and Lee Haring