Association of Professors and Researchers in Religious Education
Minutes, 1996 Annual Business Meeting
November 26, 1996
New Orleans, Louisiana

Charles Melchert called the meeting to order. Approximately 70 in attendance.

Ken Stokes shared with the membership that Reg Wickett is battling cancer but he was not sure of the seriousness of the cancer. A card was circulated through the membership for signatures.

Fayette Veverka explained that parliamentary procedure is not one of her "habits of the heart" and apologized for any awkwardness in the procedures of the meeting.

1. Adoption of agenda

Veverka reviewed the agenda and called for any changes. A motion to adopt the agenda was made and seconded. Motion passed by voice vote. Applause was given for Veverka’s clearing her first parliamentary hurdle.

2. Recommendations from the Executive Committee

Veverka introduced four recommendations from the Executive Committee for the membership’s consideration. Each recommendation was presented by an Executive Committee member who had familiarity with the recommendation.

Recommendation Regarding Task Forces

Veverka read the following motion:

The Executive Committee moves that the purpose of "task forces" be to work on specific projects and that they be recognized as part of the annual meeting program for a two year renewable period.

Charles Foster explained that the recommendation was intended to help with the situation where some task forces are having trouble terminating when they have finished their task. Foster stated that the motion regularizes the original intent that task forces focus on projects. Task forces are responsible for identifying their project. Melchert reported that he does not receive enough information to publish in the program what is happening in task forces. He needs to have an identified convener and topic to publish so people can make choices about participation. The motion was moved and seconded. A request was made to identify two conveners for each task force. Melchert indicated that more names is fine—the problem is about not having any names. He also shared that one task force was helped by using the listservers to establish itself and for ongoing conversation. The motion passed by voice vote.

Recommendation Regarding Publication of Meeting Proceedings

Veverka read the following motion:

The Executive Committee moves that the registration fees for the annual meeting be increased to include the cost of publishing a book of proceedings.

Melchert explained the recommendation. He has had contact with publishers of proceedings from professional meetings. The recommendation would mean that members would have all of the annual meeting’s papers and addresses when they arrive at the meeting. The collection would be offered as a subscription to those who cannot attend the meeting and to libraries. Implementation of the recommendation would not change the time line for paper submission very much except that papers would have to be complete and received by September 15th. Estimates suggest that the publication could be produced with all items for about $11 per copy. The recommendation is being made that this amount be included in the meeting registration fee. A higher fee would be charged for those who did not attend the meeting. Copies could be available for classes wishing to use them. It is possible that some access could be offered through the world wide web by subscription. With so much happening at a meeting, such a publication would provide access to sessions people could not attend. The motion was seconded and open for discussion.

A concern was raised about the timeline and how peer review prior to publication would be lost. A suggestion was made that the proceedings follow the meeting so that papers could be refined after their presentation. Several agreed. A question was asked about whether the balance in various funds could be used to offset the raise in registration. Melchert responded that the funds are designated for the support of other projects and therefor are not all available. He also observed that distribution of the publication after the meeting could cost an additional $5 for mailing and spread the work over a longer period of time. A question was raised about the possibility of responding to papers prior to meetings. Melchert reported that many presenters have not distributed their papers prior to the meeting because they were not done and some have cancelled their session for this reason. He pointed out that the proceedings would not replace the journal which is juried. Foster suggested that an abstract and detailed outline be sent prior to the meeting. Another concern voiced was that the uneven quality in the papers may reflect poorly on the organization and therefore they should not be published in advance of the meeting. The suggestion was made that the papers be clearly identified as works in progress so proceedings can be published before the meeting. The question was raised about what would happen if a paper was not received by the proceedings deadline. Melchert responded that the policy for that situation was not determined as of yet. One option would be if the paper is not complete then it would not be included in the program. A second option would be that the late paper be included in the program but not published. The observation was made that such a proceedings publication might provide a form of publication credit for some of the younger scholars.

A motion to amend the original motion was made, seconded and passed. The motion was amended to read:

The Executive Committee moves that the registration fees for the annual meeting be increased to include the cost of publishing a book of proceedings on a two year trial period with a supervisory committee.

Michael Warren made an alternative motion calling for the proceedings be published after the meeting and after revisions to papers. The motion was seconded. In discussion of this motion concern was raised about the turn around time for revisions. Opposition for the motion was made in light of additional logistical costs and problems with authors who procrastinate. Motion failed in a voice vote.

Joseph Crockett moved that the proceeding be prepared and published prior to the meeting. The motion was seconded and passed in a voice vote.

Recommendation Regarding Guidelines for Use of Established Funds

Veverka read the following motion:

The Executive Committee moves that the annual combined interest from the Travel, Twenty-Fifth Anniversary, and Padraic O’Hare funds be divided so that half is used for travel awards and half toward support services for students and junior scholars. Travel funds should be distributed in a three to one student/non-student ratio.

Bill Rogers explained the recommendation. Melchert, as Executive Secretary, had requested of the Executive Committee guidelines for how these funds should be distributed. The recommendation was that only the interest from funds be used. Because of the appeals to provide strong student support the funding favored students as recipients. The motion was seconded. A question was raised regarding the nature of the Padraic O’Hare funds. It was explained that Padraic O’Hare donated half of his last year’s salary as Executive Secretary to student support. The O’Hare fund has about $1,000, the 25th anniversary fund about $1,000 and the travel fund about ____. A request was made that "Padraic" be included in the name of the fund. The question was asked where junior scholars were considered in the travel fund ratio. The answer was that junior scholars were considered non-student. The motion was passed by voice vote.

Recommendations Regarding Mentoring Students and Junior Scholars

The Executive Committee moves that in place of the Doctoral Dissertation Award the annual program include forums for students to present and discuss with the membership approved dissertation proposals and pre-proposal ideas. The Award Committee will be responsible for these sessions and be renamed the Doctoral Forum Committee.

Sara Lee explained the recommendation. She pointed out the difficulties in judging excellence in award process. The present process is based on competition rather than collaboration. The committee would like to provide opportunities for doctoral students to share ideas. This could take the form of pre-proposal poster sessions. Poster session might also be a good forum for non-student members. Other mentoring opportunities would focus on networking and social connections. The overall intent is to offer a richer environment for receiving feedback and collaboration on ideas. The motion was seconded. In the discussion concern was expressed about how separate student sessions or programs may create a non-student/student hierarchy potentially isolating students. Students have presented papers in the past as part of regular program. The observation was made that some students feel afraid to submit papers for regular program sessions. It was recommended to explicitly encourage student submissions in the program’s call for papers. The desires for the doctoral session to be for all members and for doctoral sessions not to be in conflict with other sessions were expressed. A needed correction was observed in the motion—the award is for a doctoral "paper," not a doctoral "dissertation." The student representative on the Executive Committee stated that the submission of a separate paper related to the dissertation was not realistic given the additional effort involved. The motion was passed by voice vote.

3. Financial report and proposed budget

Melchert the financial report and proposed budget. Copies were distributed to the membership present. He offered the following commentary on the combined financial/budget report. He proposed that in light of the previous motion, that the Doctoral Award line item be kept and renamed for use by the Doctoral Forum Committee. Melchert noted that the postal line item is lower because the Directory was not mailed this year and the previous year reflected bulk mailing start up costs. He added that bulk mailing procedures are changing which may incur additional expense. A question was raised about the reduction in the Executive Secretary’s travel expense, particularly in light of the trip to San Francisco next year. Melchert indicated the cut was made to have a balanced budget. A motion to accept the 1995-96 financial report was made and seconded. The report was accepted by voice vote. A motion to adopt the proposed budget was made and seconded. In the discussion the question of whether the budget reflects the cost of the newly adopted proceedings. Melchert responded that those costs will be covered by registrations. The proposed budget was adopted by voice vote.

4. 1997 and 1998 Annual meetings

Melchert reported that he had discussed with AAR/SBL arrangements similar to this year’s meeting. APRRE would have its own program in a separate space with access to shuttles for AAR/SBL venues. This year’s trial has gone well with the largest registration ever and membership is up. The Executive Committee recommended that the joint meeting continue for a three year trial with assessments along way and at the end. REA is happy with the arrangement. Melchert was asked if the APRRE registration badge could allow access to the AAR/SBL book display. Melchert said "no" but at the end the three year relationship there will be an opportunity to consider APRRE’s becoming a part of AAR. A concern was raised that some members were being torn because they felt like missing out on something all the time. It was asked if APRRE could meet prior to AAR/SBL so the conflict would not exist. The response was that such an arrangement would mean extended travel absence and reintroducing problems of scheduling around Sabbath. Comment was also made that access to AAR/SBL is helpful. Another commented that the shuttle bus service ended too early at night. A concern was expressed that during three year of joint meetings there may be decreased participation in APRRE sessions as people attend AAR/SBL sessions. Some APRRE members were at few of the sessions—is there a decrease in the quality of APRRE’s life together? Registration is not the same as participation. Suggestion was made to create deliberate space in the APRRE program so that people can be free to attend parts of AAR/SBL. A desire to connect and support the society of practical theologians was also expressed. Another person observed that joint meetings strengthened some of the APRRE sessions because presenters would not have been at the meeting if they had to choose between AAR/SBL. A motion to meet with AAR/SBL for the next two years was made, seconded and passed by voice vote.

5. Nominating committe

The nominating committee consisted of Charles Foster, Greer Ann Wenh-In Ng, and Joseph Crockett. Thomas Groome was nominated for Vice President. Those nominated for three year terms on the Executive Committee included Patrice Rosner, Bob O’Gorman, and Susan Davis. A call for nominations from the floor was made and none were offered. The nominations were approved by voice vote. Appreciation for their service was given to those leaving the Executive Committee: Crockett, Morris, Butkus, and Foster. Appreciation was also given to Fayette Veverka for her work with this year’s program.

6. Retirements and Memorials.

Charles Foster shared memories of Grant Shockley who died last February. The retirements of Luther Win___?, Fran Anderson, and Estelle McCarthy were recognized.


The meeting was adjourned.
Respectfully submitted,
Randy G. Litchfield