2014 CAO Spring Meeting

The Conference of Administrative Officers (CAO) held its spring meeting at the Sheraton Society Hill Hotel in Philadelphia on May 10, 2014, following the ACLS annual meeting. CAO Executive Committee Chair Jack Fitzmier, American Academy of Religion, led the meeting. 

Jack Fitzmier, American Academy of Religion, led the meeting. Victoria Long, Society of the Society for Music Theory, serving as chair of the CAO Nominating Committee, presented the slate of proposed new members for the executive committee. Other nominating committee members were Jay Malone, History of Science Society, and Pauline Saliga, Society of Architectural Historians.  The nominees, who were elected to serve terms ending in spring 2017, were Linda Downs of the College Art Association and Craig Klafter of the American Society of Legal History. They replace outgoing members Victoria Long and Jack Fitzmier. Continuing on the committee are Nancy Kidd, National Communication Association; Timothy Lloyd, American Folklore Society; Milagros Pererya-Rojas, Latin American Studies Association; 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. Fifty-six member societies completed a questionnaire regarding indicators of organizational health. As part of the ACLS annual meeting, a panel presented census data and discussed plans to conduct a yearly census to detect trends among our member societies. 

Linda Park, Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies, gave a report on a recent conference entitled “Internationalization of US Education in the 21st Century,” held at the College of William & Mary. The focus of the conference was the future of international and foreign language studies. What is at stake, she said, is the training needed for language proficiency and global competence. Ninety percent of US universities will not be able to support area studies programs without federal funding and private foundations cannot replace the lost funding. National policy directions are needed to ensure that US educational institutions are well positioned to address the nation’s global competence needs going forward.

ACLS Vice President Steven C. Wheatley brought forward a proposal from the Chain Bridge Group to provide assistance to ACLS member societies in assessing their options for increasing access to society-published content. The aim would be to develop a practical, politically-neutral guide that focuses on approaches to open-access distribution appropriate to the humanities and interpretive social sciences. The idea was recommended to the CAO Executive Committee for further discussion.  

John Paul Christy gave a brief history of ACLS's Public Fellows program, outlining its growth from eight awards in its first year to 20 fellowships in the fourth competition. Many fellows have converted their fellowships into permanent staff positions with their hosts, he noted, while others parlayed their fellowship experience into jobs with new organizations within their selected career fields. Christy also outlined some of the challenges facing PhDs who pursue non-academic careers, including reluctance among some graduate faculty and deans to support non-academic career outcomes, and a relative lack of visibility of PhDs working outside of the academy. He reported that both issues were improving, however, thanks to in part to programs like Public Fellows and the recent high-profile efforts by learned societies to support career diversity. 

Stephen M. Schaefer of Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, L.L.P (a law firm providing a “preferred client” rate to ACLS member societies) gave a brief presentation on the legal implications for social media. Following his presentation, he made himself available for specific questions. 

The next leadership seminar for ACLS member society presidents and chief administrative officers will be held on Monday, September 8, 2014. 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 Honolulu, HI, October 30-November 2, 2014.