2016 CEO Fall Meeting

The Conference of Executive Officers holds semi-annual meetings to discuss substantive issues in the humanities as well as practical and organizational aspects of society management. The 2016 fall meeting was held in St. Louis, MO, November 2-5, hosted by Explore St. Louis. The meeting began on Wednesday morning with opening remarks by CEO Executive Committee Chair Keith Francis of the American Society for Church History, followed by a report on ACLS activities by Steve Wheatley, ACLS vice president. 

The CEO business meeting was presided over by Keith Francis. He provided an update on the 2016 census efforts, a progress report on the plans for the 2017 ACLS Annual Meeting, and the dates for the 2017 Leadership/Governance Seminar (September 11) and the 2017 CEO fall meeting in Fort Worth, TX (November 9-12).

The first session of the meeting focused on contingent faculty. Jack Fitzmier, American Academy of Religion (AAR), discussed strategies AAR has implemented and is considering to engage contingent faculty in organizational activities. Rob Townsend, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, gave an overview of data on the humanities workforce from the Humanities Indicators project. He also briefly reported on the Coalition on the Academic Workforce.

In the next session, Craig Klafter, American Society for Legal History, moderated a presentation on aspects of annual meeting site selection. The presenters were:

  • Klafter, who gave a Powerpoint presentation on state tax exemptions for nonprofits. He provided an updatable spreadsheet with state-specific information that he encouraged CEO members to review and update.
  • Lisa Mighetto, American Society for Environmental History, who offered the group best practices for implementing sustainable options in food/beverage and travel options for conferences.
  • John Kutsko, Society of Biblical Literature, and Jack Fitzmier, American Academy of Religion, who spoke about their joint meetings. They underscored the importance of finding a balance so that neither group’s interests take precedence over the other.
  • Don Harreld, Sixteenth Century Society and Conference, who offered advice on international meetings, specifically on working with the local convention and visitors bureaus, which he has found to be extremely helpful in identifying historic sites for meeting events.

On Friday there were breakout sessions on 1) managing affiliate organizations, 2) managing sections within societies, 3) strategic planning, and 4) journal issues (legal/contractual). Participants reconvened to report back to the group; Jerry Hauser, Rhetoric Society of America, moderated.

Jim Grossman, American Historical Association, introduced the next session on development. Presenting were Marc Hilton, a development consultant who had worked with ACLS and other nonprofit institutions, and Rona Sheramy, Association for Jewish Studies. Hilton spoke about best practices for initiating and conducting a major gift campaign. Sheramy gave a PowerPoint presentation on AJS’s development efforts from the planning phase through the first year of implementation.

In another breakout session, those from similar-sized societies gathered to discuss topics of their choice. Participants then reconvened to learn about discussions touching on business issues, data security, fundraising, campus carry laws and their impact on workplace safety and freedom, communications strategies, data collection, and member retention.

To conclude the meeting, Francis moderated an informal “grab bag” session on managerial and operational issues.

Fall meetings of the CEO are held in cities of interest as possible convention sites and are hosted by each city's convention bureau. Thanks to the generosity of Explore St. Louis, the group enjoyed accommodations at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch and the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark. Receptions, meals, and meeting rooms at other select properties (St. Louis Union Station Hotel, Marriott Grand Hotel, and the St. Louis Convention Center), and visits to local attractions, including Gateway Arch. the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, the Missouri History Museum, the National Blues Museum, and the St. Louis Symphony.

The CEO will next convene on May 13, 2017, in Baltimore, following the ACLS annual meeting.