AATSEEL Executive Meeting minutes 2003

2003 & December


Minutes taken by President-Elect Catharine Nepomnyashchy

Prepared for
distribution by President Benjamin Rifkin

27:  Present and Voting
Members of the Executive Council:  Joan Chevalier, Kathleen Dillon, Karen
Evans-Romaine, Jerry Janecek. Emily Johnson, Catharine Nepomnyashchy, Sarah
Pratt, Benjamin Rifkin, Harlow Robinson, Cynthia Ruder, Carol Ueland

Also attending:  William Comer (newly appointed conference
program chair), George Gutsche (delegate from AAASS), Mary Nicholas (newly
elected Vice President – term begins January

1.         Approval
of Agenda for

2003 Meetings

The agenda for the
2003 meeting of the AATSEEL
Executive Council was approved by unanimous consent.

2.         Action
Agenda from


Review of actions
taken in accordance with approved minutes from
2002 (Rifkin).  Ben reported
on progress made on the “Action Agenda” during the past year. An “Action Agenda”
will be generated from the minutes again this year.  There was discussion about
how to raise awareness about AATSEEL in the field as a whole and increase
membership and a number of suggestions were made about actions to be taken in
the coming year to accomplish this.

Envisioning AATSEEL

It was agreed that an

allowing people to imagine what AATSEEL will look like
10 years now, will be held at
2004 conference and that
there will be some sort of follow up to the forum after the conference. Sarah
Pratt will chair the committee charged with developing this forum for the
2004 conference.

4.         Report on


Sarah Pratt reported that the
2003 elections were
successful.  The EC discussed timing for the
2004 elections and agreed
that elections should be moved up to the spring to allow winning candidates more
time to arrange their affairs to attend the annual conference and be present at
the EC meeting to "gear up" for their term of office.  The EC discussed the
importance of diversity in the Executive Council defined in terms of region,
professional field, and language of interest. 

5.         Less
Commonly Taught Languages at Sister Associations (ACTFL and MLA):

The EC voted unanimously to support a
resolution that ACTFL maintain at least one member on its Executive Council who
represents a less commonly taught language:  Ben Rifkin will follow up on this
in coordination with ACTR and perhaps other LCT language associations.  The EC
also voted unanimously that a resolution be put before the MLA Delegate Assembly
about the "othering" of less commonly taught languages.  Cathy Nepomnyashchy
will be working on this. 

6.         Executive
Director's Report:

membership has fallen in the past two years; we need to bring old members back
and recruit new members.  A recruiting effort is underway (letter signed by
senior scholars).  A committee was constituted to encourage graduate student
memberships (Carol Ueland, Emily Johnson, Harlow Robinson). 

Executive Director will look into the costs of printing and mailing SEEJ and how
they related to the size of each issue in order to determine if we have an
optimal size for each issue of the journal.

Executive Director explained that the auditor hired by Jerry Ervin reported only
10 days ago that she would not
do the audit for the past fiscal year or in the future due to changes in laws
regulating auditing (passed after the Enron scandal unfolded).   The AATSEEL
constitution requires an annual audit, but the audit will now cost between $5,000
and $10,000,
something that the association cannot possibly afford on an annual basis. The EC
resolved that the Executive Director should look into the possibility of getting
a compilation or financial review for the fiscal year just ended and that she
should look for another accountant who might be willing to give us pro-bono
audits.  Failing that, the EC agreed that we will have to look into the
possibility of amending the constitution to require an audit only every three
years or whenever there is turnover in the office of the Executive Director,
requiring only financial statements in years in which an audit is not conducted,
as a cost-savings measure.

Executive Director also reported that expenses charged in this past fiscal year
include costs of producing more than
4 issues of SEEJ per year (as
the journal is still catching up from the period following Steve Baehr's death)
and for setting up the online membership management services.  The charges to
set up the online services are one-time costs; recurring costs to maintain these
services on-line are substantially lower.  The EC agreed that AATSEEL should
conduct its next election on-line and use the online service to send e-mail
reminders to members to renew their membership on line.  The EC resolved to
express AATSEEL's gratitude to Dan Morris Associates, the firm that runs our
on-line membership services, for its excellent work and especially for its
excellent customer service.  The EC further resolved that in order to reduce
costs to the association we would not accept payments on American Express or
Discover, accepting credit card payments only through Visa or Mastercard.

The rest of the Executive Director's
Report was discussed at the December
30 meeting.

7.         SEEJ.

Editor Jerry Janecek described
discussions of the redesign of the SEEJ cover and explained costs associated
with different design possibilities.  The EC resolved that any changes in the
cover of SEEJ must be cost-neutral.  Jerry Janecek agreed to take this
information back to the editorial board and the design committee.  Jerry also
reported that SEEJ would put out five issues in
2004 that would put SEEJ
back on schedule.  Jerry will review the SEEJ webpage to see if it can be
improved. The EC unanimously expressed gratitude to the entire SEEJ team and
especially to editor Jerry Janecek.

Nominations, Elections, Awards.

Past-President Sarah Pratt discussed the difficulty for the awards committee to
come up with appropriate nominees in all fields. It was decided that members of
the awards committee would each chair a newly constituted subcommittee for the
selection of new awards.  The new award subcommittees would recruit recent
winners of the awards to join in the nomination and selection process.  Cynthia
Ruder will chair the subcommittee for the two teaching awards (secondary and
post-secondary).  Harlow Robinson will chair the subcommittee for the awards in
scholarship.  Sarah Pratt will chair the subcommittees for the awards for
service.   There will continue to be one posting to SEELANGs about all the
awards.  Subcommittee chairs will be responsible for writing up award citations.

It was
agreed that all award nominees had to be members of AATSEEL except for awards
conferred posthumously.

Nominees for elections will be
recruited in January and February and the election will be held in March.

9.         Committee
on Statistics on the Field.

Carol Ueland reported that she had been
in touch with Jolanta Davis about information on the AAASS website. The CCPCR
has also been collecting statistics.  Carol has collected statistics about
Russian programs in small liberal arts colleges. She will contribute that data
to the AATSEEL website, where it will be posted.  In addition, she will help
another member of the field collect parallel data on Slavic programs in research

10.       Business

The EC agreed that the topics to be
discussed at the Business Meeting would be:  membership, conference registration
and participation, financial standing, web-based membership services, the newly
proposed Title VI advisory boards, SEEJ, and volunteering for AATSEEL. It was
also decided that in the future the EC would articulate the agenda for the
annual business meeting earlier in the year so that the agenda could be printed
in the conference program.

The meeting was
adjourned at



Present and Voting Members of the Executive Council: 
Chevalier, Dillon, Evans-Romaine, Janecek. Johnson, Nepomnyashchy, Rifkin,
Robinson, Ruder

Also attending:  Buckler (chair of publications committee) 
Comer (newly appointed conference program chair), Gutsche (delegate from AAASS),
Nicholas (newly elected Vice President),

Publications Committee Report

Julie Buckler expressed thanks to
her predecessor Kevin Platt for his help as former chair of the publications
committee.  The EC discussed the issue of membership for winners of awards and
it was agreed that all award winners had to be members of AATSEEL.  The EC
discussed the fact that Betty Lou Leaver's term as editor of the Newsletter will
end in June
2005 and we may need to
recruit a new editor for the Newsletter.  Betty Lou Leaver will be asked to
decide whether or not to renew her term as editor by April
2004.  If she declines to
renew, the Publications Committee will need to find a new editor for the
Newsletter.  Mary Nicholas volunteered to join Julie in an advisory capacity on
the search committee.

It was decided that Ben Rifkin and
Julie Buckler will put an announcement in the Newsletter that being considered
for an award is a benefit of AATSEEL membership. The EC agreed that all people
being considered for awards, except retired scholars and teachers, must be
members. This announcement should also go out over SEELANGS.  It was also
decided that there should be a benefits of membership list on webpage. 

Jerry Janacek
confirmed that he is staying on as editor of SEEJ for another three years,
making his term through June

12.       Executive
Director's Report (Part II)

It was pointed out that AATSEEL
expenses will escalate as we assume responsibility for the University of
Kentucky’s contribution to SEEJ.  Net income for the rental of AATSEEL's mailing
list has gone up now that we no longer send out labels, but rather an electronic
file.  However, the Executive Director has implemented a new policy that the
mailing list cannot be rented without approval in advance of copy to be mailed
out to members. This will prevent the distribution of inappropriate mailings.

Kathleen reported that exhibitor
participation in our conference has been lower than we would liked. It was
suggested that the issue of finding ways to draw more exhibit revenue into the
organization should be studied by a committee.  A committee to address this
issue was constituted; its members are:  Jerry Janacek, William Comer, and
Harlow Robinson.

It was pointed out that our fees
are still lower than those of other organizations.  The EC resolved that we
would increase all membership fee levels by $10,
but provide a $10 discount for
renewals on-line in order to provide financial incentives for members to join or
renew on-line, reducing the burden on the Executive Director to handle the
paperwork of mail-in renewals and conference registrations.

Kathleen pointed out that there
are no complaints about the price of membership, but there are complaints about
the price of conference registration, although our conference registration fees
are lower than those of many other professional conferences.  Kathleen noted
that there were more walk-in registrations in San Diego than she had expected.

The possibility of charging for
equipment use at the conference was discussed.  There was a motion to charge $50
to each speaker who uses equipment, but the motion was not seconded.  A motion
to increase all conference registration fees by $10
passed with one dissenting vote.  The purpose of the increase is to offset
equipment charges.

Kathleen reiterated the conference
policy of providing rooms at the conference at no charge for officers of the
association:  for the duration of the conference, comped rooms are provided for
the President, Past President, Executive Director and Program Committee Chair. 
When possible these expenses should be covered by the individual's home

2004 will take place in
Philadelphia at the Hyatt Regency at Penns Landing.  This hotel is two subway
stops from the MLA hotels.  A bidding war between two hotels got us a great rate
of $99 per night.  Kathleen
reports that there was no option for a downtown hotel in San Diego; MLA had
booked them all. 

Investment accounts.  Acting on
decisions made at last year’s EC meeting, Kathleen consulted with an
accountant.  An investment counselor agreed to work pro bono up until the point
when we use his services to make actual investments.  He feels that a money
market fund is best move for AATSEEL, He recommends that we transfer all our
assets into our existing Vanguard account.  The EC voted to move our assets to
Vanguard except for the amount held in the Morgan Stanley dividend growth
account until the latter can be moved without a surrender charge.

Kathleen Dillon's
term as Executive Director will end in June
2005.  The organization
needs to do some real strategizing about how this job of Executive Director can
be done by an active professional.  It was decided that this discussion be
resumed toward the end of the meeting.

13.       Special
Interest Groups / Affiliate Journals

The idea was raised
of allowing AATSEEL members to create special interest groups.  With AATSEEL
membership renewal, a member could register for a SIG by paying an additional $5.00,
as done in some other professional associations    The EC agreed that this did
not seem like an appropriate choice at this time, but that it would be a good
idea to follow AAASS in seeking affiliate journals.  Emily Johnson and George
Gutsche will constitute a committee to explore the affiliate journal idea. 

14.       Report on
pre-conference workshop

It went very well and
should continue next year.  It was decided that the documents created should be
put on the website.

15.       Technology

The EC needs a chair
for this committee.  This committee might be assigned to review websites for a
website award.

16.       Volunteer

            Cynthia Ruder
volunteered to coordinate volunteers for AATSEEL.

17.       For the
good of the order

The EC discussed the possibility
of reconsidering AATSEEL's relationship with the MLA.  Ben Rifkin will follow up
on this discussion and will be in touch with EC members by e-mail during the
course of the academic year. 

Kathleen Dillon was asked to leave
the room.  Rifkin proposed that the EC offer to renew Dillon's term as Executive
Director. If she wouldn't accept another
3-year term in the position,
then to offer her a year-by-year renewal, with an annual deadline of April
1 to renew for the fiscal year
15 months later.  The EC
unanimously voted to propose these terms. The EC also voted unanimously to raise
the salary of the Executive Director to $20,000
for the first year of a new term. 

Kathleen Dillon reentered the

The EC agreed to keep the same
schedule for its meetings for the
2004 conference:  EC
meetings in
2004 will be held on
2004 at
7 pm to
10 pm and on December
2004 at
7 am to
10 am at the Hyatt Regency at
Penns Landing in Philadelphia.

The EC agreed that the on-line
membership form should have a place for people to make donations to AATSEEL.

Retiring members of
the EC Cynthia Ruder and Harlow Robinson were thanked for their service.

18.       Contact

All EC members were
asked to contact Kathleen Dillon if they have any changes in their contact

The meeting was adjourned at