Minutes Teleconference December 12, 2014

NJCA Executive Board Phone Conference
Friday,  December, 12, 2014 – 9:00am

In attendance: Chris Caldiero; Barna Donovan; Laura Farrell; Sheena Howard; Todd Kelshaw; Christine Lemesianou; Christopher Lynch; Gina Marcello; David Pallant;  John Pollock; Evelyn Plummer;

1. Conference Update:

a. Planning. Barna reported that all planning is proceeding smoothly and according to schedule. Chris Lynch and John Pollock are already working on preparing the some of the  initiatives mentioned at the November meeting (White Paper /  Pedagogy Workshop on Critical Thinking). As part of the initiative to increase overall faculty involvement, Chris Lynch will send out a letter  to department chairs. He might also ask board members to conduct follow up phone calls as he did last year. Another specific goal is to revive the level of  participation from members of the Rutgers community and Chris Caldiero agreed to reach out to the current president of their graduate students’ organization.

b. Call for Papers. Laura announced that the call for submissions has been added to the webpage and sent out as an email to the listserv. However, no one on the call reported having receiving that email. In fact, several people mentioned also having difficulties posting email blasts to the listserv over the past several months, so Laura will contact Andy Mudrak about the  problem. In the meantime, she will ask board members to pass on the information about the call to their respective departments. When people submit, they will  be notified (by Barna) about the registration fees/dates.

Update: A listserv email with the CFP finally went through on 12/18/l4.

2. Membership categories and fees: Extensive discussion addressed the restructuring of the Institutional Membership category and the overall need to raise membership fees across all categories. One primary concern is the current situation in which the income from conference registration has not been keeping pace with the real costs of holding the conference. In recent years, the increased proportion of student attendees has also reduced revenues and the money in the treasury steadily has been decreasing .

Chris Lynch verified that according to the NJCA constitution, the board has the authority to set fees. Via unanimous vote the following actions were approved:

  • Increase the Institutional fee from $ 275.  to $290.00 . As a way to encourage more faculty engagement  greater flexibility will be used for determining the components of this category, but Universities will still benefit from saving money. The basic structure is  2 faculty +  4 students but if only one faculty member attends,  that extra faculty  slot could = 2  students. Currently,  it is not always easy to keep track of Institutional  Memberships; the completion of their registration is often delayed ( done via checks or purchase orders) and  it becomes difficult to list them in advance. The additional “perks” for I.M’s include: special rates for an ad in program / names listed in program / acknowledgement  during the business  meeting.
  • Increase the student rate from $20. to $35.00. Strong arguments were offered both for and against an increase, and the $35. figure was actually a compromise of sorts. It comes closer to covering the actual conference food/refreshment costs per student attendee but still subsidizes the students to some degree.
  • Institute an “early-bird” registration category whereby faculty pay $90 & students pay $35 prior to the 2-week-prior-to-the-conference-window. Maintaining the current faculty fee at this time supports the association’s expressed goal to increase faculty engagement--including among adjuncts.   Any registrations received within the  2 weeks prior to the conference will be subject to an additional surcharge. In this new, 2 week registration” window = Faculty fee goes  to  $100. and students go to  $40. It is hoped these new policies will result in earlier and more accurate registration figures and fewer “no shows” which then will enable more accurate conference planning  ( particularly in terms of ordering food) . Laura will work with Andy Mudrak to ensure the website registration capabilities are updated accordingly.

3. Financial Matters

a. Solvency. The current treasury contains $3800.00 and has been depleted with conference expenses and shifting membership compositions over past years. The board began discussing strategic ways to manage NJCA’s actual expenses (e.g. the conference, the journal, Andy Mudrak [ $500.], Student paper awards [$200.@]). However, it was determined more information is necessary in order to approach this productively.

b. Questions about the journal –  Sheena Howard verified that a check for $1449.00 had been written to Taylor and Francis,  paid as a yearly fee. Several specific questions were raised:  Where are the royalties/profits going (article copies, etc)? Can some of that revenue be  used to offset some of the fees we pay Taylor & Francis? Could we get T & F to donate/become a sponsor to the our conference? Is the fee we paid to T & F a flat fee or  based upon number of copies printed? Should we convert to a 100% ejournal structure?

Chris Lynch will contact Gary Radford about Gary’s recent meeting with our journal publisher, Taylor and Francis, that was scheduled to occur at the recent NCA conference. It was suggested a summary of the pertinent information be emailed to the board prior to the next meeting so that our discussion can produce more grounded decision making. In fact, it may be advisable to devote a meeting just to discussing journal issues.

c. Regaining Non-Profit status – Shawn Kildea had begun the paperwork process on this matter but the current stage of progress is unknown. Sheena will contact Shawn & follow up. This is a top priority item for many reasons, including the fact that it hinders sponsors from being able to make donations to NJCA, and possibly affects how association members are able to deduct fees paid to the association.


3. Board Opening: David Oh (Ramapo) has expressed willingness to assume the open position of Special  Projects Director. There was a quorum and the Board voted to accept this appointment. Several  “Special projects” are in-progress ( e.g. adjunct initiative, White Papers, Student Chapters, Faculty award) and details are listed in the minutes from the 11/15 meeting at Kean).

Pending topics for the next meeting include (1) Gary’s Journal report & (2) whether or not there should be separate categories of award for co-authored vs. single authored  papers.

The next phone conference likely will occur around  mid-January 2015. The next in-person meeting is planned for a Saturday in late February at Georgian Court. Gina Marcello is making the arrangements.

Respectfully submitted by Evelyn Plummer, Recording Secretary, 12/19/14