Minutes Teleconference October 8, 2014

NJCA Executive Board Phone Conference
Wednesday, October 8, 2014 – 9:00am

In attendance: Barna Donovan; Todd Kelshaw; Christopher Lynch;  Evelyn Plummer; Suzanne Schwab

1. Board Membership: Bob Mann, of Caldwell University, is willing to assume the unfilled board position of second vice president.  The NJCA bylaws do not include a procedure for assigning officers to open positions. However, Chris Lynch noted that according to Robert’s Rules of Order, executive boards can appoint officers to open slots. Consequently, an electronic vote will be conducted to handle the filling of that position.

2. Conference Updates:

a. Planning – Barna reported that the conference planning has been progressing with strong support from St. Peter’s, especially the graduate communication program, the undergraduate communication club, and the University president.   Some financial support has already been received and Barna is exploring additional avenues for financial underwriting and “swag”, such as from the University PR/Business offices, textbook publishers. In summary:

- Location: St Peter’s University on Saturday, April 11, 2015

- Theme:  A VIRTUAL REVOLUTION – Technology & Teaching & Change

Keynote Speaker: Doug Rushkoff

b. Programming – While discussing ways of  increasing faculty interest and attendance,  it was agreed that inclusion of at least one panel with a focus on  pedagogy might generate interest.  Another idea raised was to develop a “certificate” series of pedagogy sessions --  targeted to a particular focus   (e.g.  Using technology in the classroom)

c. Balancing Participation – Chris Lynch noted that anecdotal feedback from last year’s career fair at the conference showed that it was popular among students attendees but the survey responses from faculty reflected concern that student work and presentations predominated. In their survey responses, faculty favored greater faculty-to-faculty networking opportunities.  Discussion revealed the evolving missions of NJCA have led to many student-centric policies in the past nine or so years. It is also true that the last several conferences have not paid for themselves. If this trend were to continue, the treasury eventually will be depleted. Additional related issues were raised, including:

- Students pay a highly discounted fee to attend the conferences which affects overall revenue.

- Chris L’s conversations with Shawn Kildea revealed a current budget of approximately $3800.

- Multiple factors affect the solvency of the association (e.g. financial costs of publishing the journal, low student fees bring in little revenue, lack of faculty membership and involvement--students often are not accompanied by their faculty mentors). Because of the complexity of the situation, the phone conference participants agreed with Todd Kelshaw that short tern and long term issues need to be addressed separately. Some thoughts about the long term were: Do we now want to reframe the association back toward an emphasis on faculty scholarship or do we want to strengthen the faculty support of their students’ research or do we want to be the locus for adjunct faculty support, etc.  ?

This need for extended discussion also supported the plan for conducting some board meetings in-person. The first such meeting will occur on Saturday, November 15, 2014—probably beginning at about 10am. Details will be finalized during the next phone conference which will occur in late October.

4.  Association Matters:

a. Summer Meeting – A small group, including Chris L & Laura Farrell, met at Kean over the summer to explore a NJ Adjunct database initiative. However, it was discovered that our current website cannot support such functionality. The estimated cost of an upgrade is $ 1500.  to $ 4000.

b. Engagement – Concern was expressed at the small number of board members who had called in for this meeting.   Chris L. solicited ideas about how to strengthen involvement and ongoing participation. In addition to supplementing the phone conferences with a resumption of a few face-to-face meetings a year, there was some discussion about what day & time would be best for the next phone conference in order to maximize attendance.

The next phone conference will occur in late October (to be confirmed via a separate email.  An in-person meeting will occur on Saturday morning, November 15 at Kean University.

Respectfully submitted by Evelyn Plummer, Recording Secretary, 10/14/14