Post-SFRA Executive Committee Meeting Notes

SFRA Review, vol. 51, no. 3

From the SFRA Executive Committee

Post-SFRA Executive Committee Meeting Notes

Sean Guynes
06 July 2021

Attendees: Gerry Canavan (president), Sonja Fritzsche (vice president), Sean Guynes (secretary), Hugh O’Connell (treasurer), Keren Omry (immediate past president)

  1. New Exec Composition: Development, DEI Officer, “At-Large” Membership
    a. We will need to rewrite bylaws and poll membership
    b. DEI Officer
    i. Someone in charge of making sure EC has a “diverse” perspective and who is in charge of a DEI committee that makes decisions and suggestions
    ii. Verdict: a good idea to add to EC, will explore specifics in a follow-up meeting
    c. Development Officer
    i. Someone in charge of bringing in money for SFRA
    ii. Keren suggests it’s difficult to see how “feasible” it is, esp. given how difficult it is to find people to take on positions like the Treasurer
    iii. Hugh suggests making this a “board-appointed” position, rather than an EC position, someone who could work on this for more than just a short term
    iv. Verdict: not to be added to EC but will begin looking for someone to appoint
    d. At-Large Members
    i. Voting members who represent some portion of the SFRA community, but don’t serve a more specific role, e.g. Treasurer
    ii. Keren suggests that our organization is quite small and there might be enough voices already on EC; we have business meetings to get people involved; and we are generally transparent as an organization
    iii. Verdict: Will discuss more with a stakeholder group
  2. Conference Standing Committee
    a. This is a great idea as one of several committees that work in tandem with the EC
  3. Next Steps
    a. For a soon-to-happen discussion with a stakeholder group:
    i. DEI officer
    ii. At-Large Members of EC
    iii. What committees would be worthwhile to get membership involved and feeling like they have a stake in SFRA?
  4. Polling the Membership?
    a. A Google form or Google doc (or both) that allows people to comment on our plan, and then propose a final decision and put forward a vote on any by-law changes.
  5. Shorter stuff:
    a. Elections
    i. Keren is having difficulty finding volunteers to be voted on for the treasurer position; she has reached out to several candidates
    ii. For VP, one candidate has come forward, and Keren has considered others
    iii. Several names were discussed and suggested by the EC
    b. Award Committees
    i. An email will go out soliciting volunteers for award committees
    c. SFRA Review
    i. Ian is gathering materials to present to us on peer review and a journals platform hosting solution
    ii. It was suggested that a stronger embrace of SFRA Review’s role in the organization would lead to greater feeling of participation from the membership, since the Review works with dozens of scholars each year
    d. Website Migration
    i. This will be happening at the end of 2021, as we transition away from Wild Apricot and to a new TBD web hosting platform

From the Secretary: Minutes of the 2020 Executive Committee Meeting

SFRA Review, vol. 50, no. 2-3

From the SFRA Executive Committee

From the Secretary: Minutes of the 2020 Executive Committee Meeting

Sean Guynes
Secretary, SFRA
Senior Editor, SFRA Review

July 30, 2020 / 2pm EDT / Via Zoom

Attendees: Gerry Canavan (President), Sonja Fritzsche (Vice President), Hugh O’Connell (Treasurer), Sean Guynes (Secretary), Keren Omry (Immediate Past-President), Katherine Bishop (Webmaster)

The Webmaster

Gerry: Thank you to Katherine Bishop for her work as webmaster.

Katherine Bishop discusses the need to end her tenure as webmaster and outlines the key webmaster duties going forward. Of principal concern is Wild Apricot — poor user interface that is clunky to work with, not easily editable, allows privacy overrides so that Wild Apricot can own our content, there were members who did not want to renew memberships because of the end-user license agreements. Overall this creates a poor digital brand for SFRA. We are considering using a WordPress website and using the WordPress Business account to manage membership, payments, and other services Wild Apricot offers. If SFRA does want someone to build a website from the bottom-up, Katherine suggests (after Pawel’s suggestion, several years before) that the person who takes on the website rebuild be paid a one-time design fee for services. As of the end of this meeting, Katherine’s tenure as webmaster will be ended and the executive committee will need to find a new webmaster. /Katherine leaves the meeting.

Discussion: What order should the webmaster and website redesign take? We want to ensure continuity so that a website redesign is potentially separate from the webmaster position, so that future webmasters don’t necessarily have to have HTML and web design experience. Moving forward, then, we will advertise a webmaster position that will be slightly more discursive than in previous years, with the intent to formalize a 3-year position. We will move forward with the webmaster before the web design so that we can have their input. Keren notes that we also want to have the next generation of the SFRA website part of a larger rebranding, including of the SFRA’s award trophies, logos, etc.

General Discussion

Award committees for 2020-2021 are set.

The Support a Scholar grant search will be begun shortly.

There will be no student paper award given in 2020-2021.

There are remaining logistical questions re: the 2021 conference as a result of the pandemic; the SFRA community and Executive Committee will need to think actively about the 2021 conference and possibilities for digital conferencing should the pandemic continue to disrupt academic conferencing.

We have two great recent examples of digital conferencing we can build on for 2021 if necessary: Lars Schmeink’s asynchronous cyberpunk conference (a large conference featuring videos, live Discord chats, and an archived website of the conversations/videos; pro — low participation burden offered by the asynchronous format across 3 days; con — conversations suffered intellectually and length-wise when compared to in-person conference) + Rebekah Sheldon and David Higgins’s synchronous “zoomposium” of SF scholars (a smaller conference of 16 folks who knew each other rather well, allowing a bond that kept folks together for 8 hours x2 days; pro — conversation is deeper and more engaged; con — burnout and exhaustion). Other models include specific “feeds” of papers and events that participants sign up to, but this limits what folks can do.

Sonja suggests we can expand the recognition of SFRA and virtual conference engagement (if it comes to that in 2021) by leveraging the new SFRA Country Reps; we will want their inputs to make sure that we have broad global participation if the pandemic continues to disrupt academic conferencing.

Committee Member Reports

Keren: the issue of the trophy redesign is still outstanding; we would like an update on Beata and Yoshinaga’s Support a New Scholar Grant projects (Sean will reach out to them for the SFRA Review).

Sonja: will be responsible for the upcoming round of the Support a New Scholar Grant call and applications in September (with a late October deadline for applicants).

Sean: nothing to report from the Secretary.

Hugh: we will likely go in the red by between a thousand and several thousand dollars, since memberships are stagnant this year as a result of the conference cancellation and because membership costs mostly go to pay for members’ journal subscriptions.