Minutes of the AFA National Council, 2008

20 November 2008
San Diego, CA

Daniel Cronn-Mills: Call to order.  The minutes were distributed.  The minutes were accepted upon a motion.

I. AFA Historian (Gerald Sanders)

A. We should limit the NDT ballots preserved by the archive to just the elimination rounds.  He made  specific statements regarding what would be saved.  He also noted that the University of Utah would recognize the archives next year and called for new rules for what should be included. He also said he was seeking to have the AFA recognized as an educational as well as an activity based program.

B.  Archives fund has some money.  The research committee should offer special awards for people using the archives at the University of Utah.

C. James W. Pratt noted that there were no limitations on the funds and that this would be possible.

D. James Dimock asked if the grants would be small, or, how they would be made available.  Since it is not an endowment---it is limited to funds available. There is an opportunity to try and raise some funds for the program.   However, the research committee should deal directly with this.

II. Professional Development and Support Committee (Kelly McDonald).

A. Moving forward on liability and code of conduct in conjunction with several other groups. There are timelines with the CEDA development conference and the AFA summer conference to bring forward a clear mandate.

B.Seeks approval for the Speaker of the Year, Paul Newman.  The nomination was accepted.

C. It was expressed by the committee that while they recommended Duane Fish (Northwest College).  The nomination was accepted

D. Members brought a request that there be a second award for an additional nominee.   There have never been two service awards in the past.   Pratt noted that there has never been a rule against it. McDonald noted that he would be bringing forth additional criteria. Bruce Manchester was nominated for the honor.  The nomination was accepted. 

E. Cronn-Mills noted that they were on the way to working through code of conduct issues and liability issues and would have a report in the future.

F. Will Baker noted that since there was not a limit to the number of awards. If there should be a limit.  McDonald will bring it back to the committee.

III Finance Committee (James Dimock)

A. James Pratt distributed the financial sheet for the year. While the value of the organization is up, membership is down in every group.  Pratt noted that constituent organizations do not promote AFA membership. Donations ($1550) are for the archives.  Since invested money is in CD's they are largely unaffected by the markets.  Royalties ($13K) come from electronic distribution through EBSCO which guarantees $3750 per quarter.  Smaller royalties come from other groups.

B. In expenses, there is not much different.  The newsletter and directory has switched to on-line email publication.  It has reduced the secretarial costs and postage. The area of concern is that the directory has not been published since 2006.  If there will be an online version---then the organization should dedicate some effort.  The only real difference is that there were 6 issues of the journal last year which moves toward the publication schedule.  All of the publications came in under their $5k budgeted costs.  The one other thing tied is that income from agency memberships, library subscription agencies, which has more to do with the publication schedule rather than the actual membership.

C. Ballot sales still give a modest income.  High schools, particularly several specific leagues, are consistent customers.

D. Savings account analysis demonstrates that AFA has $44k on hand, with more in CD's. 

E. The only outstanding account receivable is a single school that owes for ballots.

F. Will Baker asked about the EBSCO payment---is the payment listed a partial?  Yes, it has to do with the way that the budget year lays out.  Since the minimum is guaranteed, it is not itemized. Baker:  Under ballot sales---what is the relation of the second column to the first.  The second is a running subtotal---which is why there are repeats.

G. A motion to accept the financial statements was approved.

H. Pratt noted that the new budget was optimistic---since it assumed that the AFA would increase the number of members, especially student members.

I. There was an unbudgeted reserve item. They voted to send $2k to send the President to the Alta and Debate conferences. They approved $5k for sponsorships for the AFA summer debate conference.  They also approved $300.00 for Danielle Weise to attend the debate conference.  This leaves $650.00 in the unbudgeted reserve.

J. Mike Janas asked if there were periodic audits. Pratt noted that the yearly income statements to the IRS required them.

IV. Publication (Stephen Croucher for Dale Hample)

A. Hample has received 51 total-most of which were carried forward from the previous editor: 16 rejected, 4 accepted, 7 revisions and 23 waiting for reviewers. This is a 14% acceptance rate.

B. Hample is concerned that he has only published one issue of the journal. The difficulties are due to the number of authors who do not revise or do not do so promptly. Reviewers are often late or do not do it at all.  As a consequence, there are more special issues---most issues in the future will the special issues.  This is unavoidable if the journal is going to get back on schedule.  Special issues involve Lincoln-Douglas debates, the Perelman conference, the election, the Venice Conference and perhaps another. Proposes to approach Dennis Gouran about some systematic relationship with the ALTA conference to help gain publishable essays.  A new feature will appear regarding vocabulary for argument studies. Seeking speakers from other languages. It will be modeled on the book review subject. Seek to get a single essay on each language.

C. The publications committee did not get a quorum for their meeting due to room changes. On the agenda, there is a need to have a new chair.  Will discuss the report on the journal.  Solicited comments on the letter from Dale Hample.

D. A discussion of review boards followed, looking for ways to get reviewers to look at the material. Cronn-Mills said that we should seek a systematic review of reviewers and to make it clear that they will be dropped if they do not follow through.  The editorial board serves at the will of the editor.  Baker suggested that since people are often busy, and the goal is to get their attention---updates at regular intervals tends to have a positive effect on people. Cronn-Mills noted that quicker deadlines often worked better than longer ones.  Croucher noted that very little individual events material was included because the call was very restrictive---and the reviewers were not supporters. If it is the flagship journal of AFA---then it should try to include some of its materials from the constituent organizations.  Cronn-Mills noted that an expansion of the mission might be good since there are more argument journals that it competes against.  Dimock noted that this is a broad-reaching issues---that the lag was quite long.  Cronn-Mills noted that we may be overworking the reviewers.  Croucher noted that the submission process was antiquated---where you need to email and mail copies to the editor. Cronn-Mills noted that some of the paper issue had to do with the technology of the reviewers. Croucher noted that an on-line manuscript submission would be easier and simpler. It would try to be RTF or PDF files. Rich Edwards spoke in favor of efficiency in the submission process. Dimock noted that it might help to be more clear with deadlines-how much time to resubmit to create the sense that there is a clock that is moving rather than an open-ended offer.  Edwards suggested that this might be a good time for a race relations topic.

V. Nominative Committee did not meet. They are on a two-year cycle.

VI. IEducation Committee did not send a representative.

VII. Research Committee (James Dimock)

A. Had a quorum, but most of the work was by email.  Nominated William Keith's work for the Roher award (a chapter regarding contest debating and public pedagogy).  There were several excellent submissions.  It was well written and researched. The nomination was accepted.  There were no nominees for the thesis/dissertation award. 

B. More publicity would help.

VIII. Presidents Report (Dan Cronn-Mills).

A. Began with a lament for the CEDA incident.

B. The boycott of the hotel issue was put off. The Executive Council, for numerous reasons---the least of which was the previous obligation---decided to stay put.   Those who sent emails got responses that encouraged them to submit proposals.  None have been forwarded.

C. We did not use all of our available slots at NCA. There were 12 slots and we used 8 for panels and 2 for competitive papers.  It is likely that they will be stripped in the future.  After contacting other organizations, there were still no additional submissions. AFA had 6 competitive papers that formed 2 panels and had 8 submitted panels.  Part of the problem is that there are a lot of forensic slots---which comes to 42 total slots---which is a lot. This causes a diffusion of research.  Croucher noted that we could tailor the call so that we increased the number of submissions.  Cronn-Mills noted that the call did seem exceptionally long.  In the future it will be Rich Edwards' problem. The call has to be finalized by 8 December. With the new theme, however, there is a need to have a panel that regards the NCA centennial.

D. There is a request for affiliation by the International Public Debate Association (IPDA). The IPDA already approved it. The primary objective is to have the AFA help to manage IPDA dues.  Already the AFA collects for a host of organizations. This would be the 9th group to utilize these services.  It was moved that it should be forwarded to the national business meeting.

E. There is a widespread notion that the NDT is independent of the AFA instead of chartered by it. To that end, there is a new AFA logo that will attempt to brand the national tournaments in a consistent way.

F. Edwards asked if there was an appropriate committee to put together a "five year out" panel.  Croucher argued that it was the job of the research committee. Cronn-Mills noted that there were lots of potential ways of looking at this and that no real committee seemed to be in charge which meant that it was a convention planning problem.  Pratt gave several observations regarding the history of the organization.

IX. Past President (Dan Cronn-Mills for Carol Winkler)

A. The Department of Justice has taken a heightened interest in debate as a way to combat violence in public housing. Most US attorney and police captains sought more training on debate. There should be grant opportunities in the future.

X. Vice-President's Report (Rich Edwards) noted that this was a long-term endeavor and sought all help.

XI.  Pratt noted that we should remember Jerry Anderson (Concordia College) AFA President '72-74 who passed away this year. He read a memorial.

XII. Two-year college (M'Lisss Hindman)

A. Continuing the work to get more two year members. There is some movement in a positive direction.

XIII. High School Relations (Will Baker)

A. Noted efforts to connect the work of the AFA to the work of high schools.  Sought to increase organizational outreach. Noted that there was not much of information regarding how members have worked with high schools.  It is also a way of getting new publicity. He advocated a survey that would be worked through affiliated organizations.  Data should be collected by organizational interns.

B. Cronn-Mills noted that it might be worthwhile to have an affiliate relationship with the NFL. He noted that Mankato had an online program for graduate study for continuing education credits for high school coaches. So far, Mankato has ten completed modules and twenty potential CEU modules that might be translated into graduate credits.

XIV. There was a motion to adjourn.  The meeting was adjourned at 2:00 PM.