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2012 CAO Fall Meeting


The ACLS Conference of Administrative Officers (CAO) held its 2012 fall meeting in Nashville on November 8-11. The meeting was hosted by the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The meeting schedule is available here.

In the afternoon of November 8th, the CAO Executive Committee met to review the meeting program and look ahead to the spring 2013 meeting. Afterwards, they and ACLS staff welcomed new executive directors Amy Ferrer of the American Philosophical Assocation, Brian Henning of the Metaphysical Society of America, Susan Olson of the Law and Society Association, and Peter Rousseau of the American Economic Association; Stephen Kidd, the newly appointed executive director of the National Humanities Alliance, also attended. That evening the full group enjoyed a welcome reception and dinner at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

The meeting began on Friday, November 9, at The Hermitage Hotel, with opening remarks by ACLS President Pauline and CAO Executive Committee Chair Jack Fitzmier. Yu reported on the fall meeting of the Research University Consortium, a group of member institutions who provide extraordinary support to the ACLS fellowship campaign. Among the key points discussed were the "contraction" of graduate education (programs and faculty positions) and the need for "innovation without expansion." Participants envisioned new broad-based humanities curricula, and many view collaborative work between the humanities and social or physical sciences as a first step in making the case to university administrators of the importance of humanities research. There was also discussion of MOOCs (massive open online courses), which will be the focus of a program session at the 2013 ACLS Annual Meeting. Fitzmier raised the question of how best to maximize the resources and staff expertise of individual member societies to benefit the whole. A session later that day in which Andrew Vaughn of the American Schools of Oriental Research and Michael Murphy of the American Sociological Association presented their experiences in records management and archival work is exemplary of this effort.

At the CAO business meeting, the group reviewed dates for upcoming meetings and discussed plans for a new learned society census. Stephen Kidd reported on the advocacy activities of the National Humanities Alliance and the outlook for federal humanities funding. 

Afternoon meetings were held at the Nashville Convention Center. Michael Paschal of the Association of Asian Studies moderated an informal, wide-ranging Q&A session that allowed the group to share current issues and concerns. The day ended with a discussion of association management companies moderated by Kent Williamson of the College Forum of the National Council of Teachers of English.

Saturday morning was spent visiting The Hermitage, the home of President Andrew Jackson.  Two sessions were held in the afternoon: Rosemary G. Feal of the Modern Language Assocation led an interactive workshop on media relations, and James Grossman of the American Historical Association and Michael Brintnall of the American Political Science Association described two vulnerabilities in annual meeting operations: the forces of social/political issues and the forces of nature.

Fall meetings of the CAO are held in cities of interest as possible convention sites and are hosted by each city's convention bureau. Thanks to the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau, the group enjoyed receptions and meals at select hotels (the Renaissance Hotel Nashville, The Hermitage Hotel, the Sheraton Downtown) and attractions (the Nashville Convention Center, the Wildhorse Saloon, Puckett's Restaurant), as well as a memorable evening of the Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman Auditorium. 

The CAO will next convene on May 11, 2013, in Baltimore, MD, following the ACLS Annual Meeting.

  • Conference of Administrative Officers, Nashville, TN, November 2012

  • CAO Executive Committee Chair Jack Fitzmier with ACLS President Pauline Yu

  • Kent Williamson, College Forum of the NCTE, led a discussion of association management firms.

  • At the Country Music Hall of Fame: Kent and Elvis's car

  • John Seigfriend and Peter Rousseau, former and current executive directors of American Economic Assn.

  • Stephen Kidd reported on the advocacy efforts of the National Humanities Alliance.

  • Rosemary Feal, Modern Language Association, led a workshop on media relations.

  • ACLS Vice President Steve Wheatley

  • Andy Vaughn, American Schools of Oriental Research, spoke about archives/records management.

  • Jim Castonguay, Winston Welch and Brian Henning

  • Brian goes for the shot at the Wildhorse Saloon

  • Jim Grossman, American Historical Association, spoke about annual meeting challenges.

  • Learning about The Hermitage

  • Keith Francis and Mary Ellen Davis join the Hamiltons

  • Keith, Stephen Kidd, David Barclay, Amy Ferrer and Winston visit the cows. ("They're wearing tea cozies!")

  • Breakfast at Puckett's

  • The music folks (Stephen Stuempfle, Mariana Whitmer, and Vicky Long) with Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash