Minutes of the National Council, 2007, Chicago

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Wednesday, November 14th, 2007
Palmer House, Hilton, Chicago

I.  The meeting was called to order with Carol Winkler (Georgia State University) presiding and Kelly Happe (University of Georgia) serving as recording secretary.  Those present included Daniel Cronn-Mills, Vice-President (Minnesota State University-Mankato); David Steinberg, chair of the Publications Committee (University of Miami); Randy Lake, Editor, Argumentation and Advocacy (University of Southern California); Heidi Hamilton, chair of the Finance Committee (Emporia State University); Doyle Srader, chair of the Professional Development and Support Committee (Northwest Christian College); James W. Pratt, Executive Secretary (University of Wisconsin, River Falls); Darren Elliot, Two-Year College Representative (Kansas City, KS)

I.  Archives Project

1. Gerry Sanders, AFA historian, provided a report on the Archives Project.

2. Sanders reported that the NDT ballots stored in the AFA archives in Utah (University of Utah) are illegible and take up a lot of room. He proposed that ballots from elimination rounds only should be saved as well as a copy of each annual NDT results booklet.  The latter is Sanders' recommendation.  Sanders further suggested that ground rules need to be established to make sure relevant artifacts are saved, such as recordings of the NDT final round.  He noted that there should be enough space for saving these things even if we can't save all ballots in the archives.  He ended by pointing out that the archives have been very useful for researchers.

3. Sanders clarified, after a question by Gordon Mitchell, that there is a table of contents for the archives.

4. Cronn-Mills suggested that high-speed scanners be used to make electronic files of debate ballots.  Sanders agreed.

5. A proposal to allocate funds for the purchase of scanners and to contact NDT and NIET about this idea was seconded and approved.

6.  Sanders then discussed the oral history tapes.  He reiterated the need for past presidents to make tapes for this project.

7. Sanders ended by suggesting a formal opening and publicity for the archives at the 2009 Alta conference.  He made clear that he is always looking for new material to add; it was noted that scouting reports from coaches would be a great addition to the archives.

II.  Professional Development and Support

1.  Doyle Srader, chair of the committee, reported on the survey that was conducted last year to collect data about the health of forensics programs and about tenure and promotion of Directors of Forensics.  The survey was only marginally helpful, as only 75 people responded.  Problems with distribution and with competing surveys (folks reported "survey fatigue" at tournaments) undermined the survey's success.

2. Srader reported on the committee's recommendation that more work be done with affiliates in order to ensure the success of future surveys.  It was also recommended that student researchers be recruited to conduct telephone surveys of DOFs.  These researchers can then ask if the Directors know of any graduate assistants looking for service who might then be asked to serve on AFA committees and/or conduct additional surveys/interviews regarding forensics programs across the country. 

3.  The committee also recommends that new tenure guidelines be drafted to help candidates with the job interview process, with putting together a timeline for tenure, and with ranking journals (the latter is necessary in order to help strategically place publications during one's probationary period).

III.  Finance Committee

1. Heidi Hamilton, chair of the committee, reported that the budget was approved with just one addition, a stipend/honorarium for the webmaster. 

2.  The new chair will be Danielle Wiese.

3.  Jim Pratt, executive secretary reported that it was his sense, along with Hamilton's, that there was room in the budget to spend $1000 on two high-speed portable scanners for the archives project.

4. Randy Lake, past editor of Argumentation and Advocacy, noted that the financial statement for last year lists only 2 issues of journal, which means that more money is needed for the next budget in order to catch up.  Pratt indicated that the issues are all paid for; extra money saved from the last budget cycle will be used to publish 4 issues of the journal.

IV.  Argumentation and Advocacy

1. Randy Lake, outgoing editor of Argumentation Advocacy, reported that all of his issues are in press.  One of the issues is a special double issue on visual argument; he was sure to have this issue published in the same year so that citation information is consistent.

2. Lake then reported that Dale Hample, the new editor, is accepting manuscripts and has been getting submissions since July 2007.  Hample has 15 or so manuscripts; Lake has forwarded some revise-and-resubmits to him.  All in all, the transition has been going smoothly.

V. Publications Committee

1.  David Steinberg discussed the Alta proceedings.  He stated that they will be available soon.  He encouraged members to contact NCA and ask that the proceedings be published and made available, as it is an important publication.

2. Steinberg further discussed the importance of EBSCO for NCA publications and expressed support for the Amendment to License Agreement.  He indicated some problems with scans available through the EBSCO database.

3. Steinberg ended with a call for compiling rejection rates and other pertinent information regarding NCA publications.

VI.  Nominating Committee

1. President Winkler distributed the report from the Nominating Committee.  Nominations were made for Vice President, Secretary, Two-Year College Representative, and High School Representative.

2. The Nominating Committee consists of Jon Bruschke, David Cheshier, Mike Colletti, Susan Collie, Scott Deatherage, Glen Frappier, Rosie Mays, Becky Opsata, Ben Voth, and Joe Zompetti.

VII.  Education Committee

No report.

VIII.  Research Committee

1. The committee reported the names of the recipients of research awards for 2007.

2. No additional business was reported.

IX.  President's Report

1. President Winkler reported that she was contacted regarding new NCA rules for affiliates.  She worked with NCA Vice-President Buckner on a deadline extension so that AFA could comply with the new rules according to its bylaws.  Winkler agreed, per the addendum, to provide NCA with the names of standing committee members who meet the Wednesday before the convention.  It is also now the case that if AFA needs any AV equipment for its business meetings, it must pay for it.

2. President Winkler then announced that Al Gore is the recipient of the Distinguished Speaker Award and Al Louden is the winner of the Distinguished Service Award.

3.  The  Council approved the new EBSCO licensing agreement.

X. Past President's Report

1.  Past President Gordon Mitchell observed that it may be useful for AFA to undergo strategic planning and to hire a consultant to aid in the process.  He noted that AFA has a "credo" but no vision statement or charge for its committees.

XI.  Vice President's Report

1. Vice President Cronn-Mills reported 7 paper submissions for NCA, 6 were accepted and organized into two panels.  A top paper was awarded as was a top student paper award.

2.  In addition to 7 paper submissions, 23 panels were submitted, 16 were accepted.  18 slots were available, so 2 "transfer" panels from the Masters of Education section were selected.

3. A discussion followed as to how best to publicize the Call for Submissions in order to increase the number of submissions for NCA.  Gordon Mitchell recommended one-on-one solicitation as well as placing the call widely on a number of different listserves.

4.  Cronn-Mills distributed the 2008 NCA Call for Submissions.

XII. Two-Year College Report

1.  Darren Elliott, Two-Year College Representative, conveyed the concern that many two-year colleges are not joining forensics organizations and paying dues, even though membership has many advantages (for example, the NDT ranks Two-Year colleges, and these rankings can be presented to administrators to make the case for forensics education and competition).  CEDA currently waives dues for new or small programs, which helps ease the burden of forming/keeping programs and encourages more active participation.

2.  Elliott expressed support for strategic planning among two-year programs with forensics programs.  It was clarified during discussion that only 3 responses to the AFA survey came from two-year college representatives.

XIII.  Executive Secretary

1. Jim Pratt reported that he is now publishing the AFA newsletter online.  Hard copies will be provided by request only.

2. Pratt also reported that the membership directory will also be placed on the AFA website once such information can be password-protected.

A motion to adjourn was seconded and approved.

Respectfully submitted,
Kelly Happe,  Recording Secretary