2013 CAO Spring Meeting

The Conference of Administrative Officers (CAO) of the ACLS held its spring meeting at the Renaissance Harborplace Hotel in Baltimore on Saturday, May 11, 2013, following the ACLS Annual Meeting. CAO Executive Committee Chair

Jack Fitzmier, American Academy of Religion, led the meeting. Amy Newhall, Middle East Studies Association, serving as chair of the CAO Nominating Committee, presented the slate of proposed new members for the executive committee. Other nominating committee members were David Barclay, German Studies Association and Adam Blistein, American Philological Association. The nominees, who were elected to serve terms ending in spring 2016, were Nancy Kidd, National Communication Association; Tim Lloyd, American Folklore Society; and Milagros Pererya-Rojas, Latin American Studies Association. They replace outgoing members Newhall, Middle East Studies Association of North America; Michael Paschal, Association for Asian Studies; and Pauline Saliga, Society of Architectural Historians. Continuing on the committee are Jack Fitzmier, American Academy of Religion; Vicky Long, Society for Music Theory; Stephen Stuempfle, Society for Ethnomusicology; and Kent Williamson, College Forum of the National Council of Teachers of English.

Alyson Reed, Linguistic Society of America, reported on the work of the census committee. The committee, which consists of Alyson Reed (chair), John Dichtl, Keith Francis, Nancy Kidd, and Kent Williamson, are devising a new census instrument, with a refined set of survey questions. The committee will submit a draft of the census to the full CAO at the fall 2013 meeting in Louisville, with the intent to have the census carried out over the winter. Ultimately, the CAO aims to present the data at the 2014 ACLS Annual Meeting in May.

John Kutsko, Society of Biblical Literature, brought a proposal to the group for a meeting that would convene member societies’ program officers to discuss best practices, collaborate on solutions, and consider impending issues pertaining to the societies’ annual meetings. Because the CAO facilitates the sharing of information across ACLS membership, Kutsko proposed a workshop for a representative group of society officers, as a starting point, that could develop into an ongoing conversation for the full CAO. At the initial meeting, the program officer gathering would treat general, common topics and create breakout sessions that would allow focused conversation around dynamics particular to variously configured groups. Societies would send one to two representatives—perhaps the chair of the program committee and/or the society’s chief administrator or director of programs—to participate and would cover costs of their representatives. The proposed plan was met with approval by the CAO. Kutsko stated that he would present a more detailed agenda over the summer.

Heidi McGregor, vice president for marketing and communications at ITHAKA (the parent organization of JSTOR), spoke to the group about JPASS, a means for providing access to underserved individuals around the world who need access to digitally archived scholarly materials. McGregor proposed an arrangement by which ACLS member societies could offer their members individual subscriptions at considerable discounts. The JPASS user would be a professionals or academics who are not served, or not adequately served, by an institutional affiliation, and for whom the current pay-for-use plan may be cost-prohibitive given their usage needs. In her presentation, McGregor spoke of the various access options under consideration, including term-based plan options (e.g. monthly, annual passes) offering unlimited online reading and limited downloading (e.g., 120 downloads per year). The goal, she said, is to create an option that is affordable for those JSTOR aims to serve while ensuring that such service is sustainable and that publisher partners gain revenue from this extension of access to the archive collection.

Kathleen Fitzpatrick, director of scholarly communication at the Modern Language Association (MLA), gave a presentation on the MLA’s new online member network, MLA Commons, which was launched at its January 2013 convention. The Commons, which combines a large-scale blogging platform with a suite of social networking functions, is built on the open-source technology developed and piloted by the CUNY Graduate Center's Commons in a Box team. The MLA is now seeking, in the second phase of the Commons's development, to open the platform to other scholarly organizations and associations by creating a richly interconnected network of networks, the Humanities Commons, which will combine independently accessible and configurable spaces for a society’s members with the capacity for members to collaborate with one another across multiple organizations. Interested associations were instructed to contact Kathleen Fitzpatrick for more information.

Craig Klafter, executive director of the American Society for Legal History, reported on his efforts to offer group policy insurance as a brokered service for the CAO. He asked CAO members to provide copies of current policies in order to obtain a quote for group directors and officers liability insurance, event cancellation insurance, and cyber liability insurance. Once a quote is secured, CAO members will be given an opportunity to review the quote and terms, and then decide whether or not to join in. He introduced Mark Levine, an insurance broker, who gave a presentation on a range of group insurance options. Craig Klafter has offered to provide more information to interested members.

Stephen M. Schaefer, of the Washington-based law firm, Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, L.L.P, provides a “preferred client” rate to ACLS member societies. He gave a brief presentation on devising orientations for boards of directors. He made himself available for specific questions after the meeting. See Brokering Services on the CAONet for legal materials. 

The next leadership seminar for ACLS member society presidents and chief administrative officers will be held on Monday, September 9, 2013. This year's seminar will be led 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 CAO will next convene in Louisville, KY, November 14-17, 2013.