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Board of Trustees 2007 Annual Meeting

Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina

November 18th, 2007

PRESENT:P.E. MacAllister, Chairman, Eric Meyers, President, Tim Harrison, President Elect, Jeffrey A. Blakely, Interim VP for Publications, Eric Cline, VP for Programs, Terry Hofecker, Vice President for Development, , Ann Killebrew, Vice President for Archaeological Policy and Research, Tammi J. Schneider, Vice President for Membership, James F. Strange, Secretary, Sheldon Fox, Treasurer, Secretary, Susan Ackermann, Gary P. Arbino, Bill Arnold, Oded Borowswki, Mack W. Chavalas, Tom Davis, CAARI, Orly Nelson, Jennie Ebeling, Chair, Annual Meeting Program Committee, Gus Feissel, Nan Frederick, Lawrence T. Geraty, Sy Gitin for AIAR, Jimmy Hardin, Morag Kersel, Øysten LaBianca, Carol Meyers, Beth Alpert Nakhai, Chris Rollston, B.W. Ruffner, Joe D. Seger, Stuart Swiny for CAARI, Bethany J. Walker, Ed Wright for AIAR, Randall Younker, Andy Vaughn, Executive Director, Selma Omerefendic, Accoutant, Alex Ratzloff, Meetings and Programs Coordinator,

ABSENT: Elizabeth Bloch-Smith, Melody Knowles, Austin Ritterspach, Glen Schwartz for AIA, Susan Sheridan, Lydie Shufro.

1.      Call to Order 7:00 am.

2.      Larry Geraty was elected to the Board of Trustees as a board representative by acclamation.

3.      The Minutes were approved as distributed by voice vote.

4.      Discussion and vote on the issue of the future of the Annual Meeting:

(The Executive Committee presents the following motion to the Board of Trustees for consideration) BE IT RESOLVED that ASOR will continue administrative oversight of the Annual Meeting and meet in the same town and the same general dates as SBL.  Moreover, 1) the President and Executive Director in consultation with Camp, be empowered to explore opportunities to coordinate program sessions with SBL and to explore opportunities for access to SBL hotels and exhibits, 2) the President and Executive Director be empowered to discuss with the three research centers their role in the Annual Meeting, and 3) CAMP, in consultation with the President and Executive Director, be empowered to develop the best meeting plan possible.  Decisions will include program sessions and overall scheduling. PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.

     5. Auditors’ Report—Sheldon Fox (distributed) 

a.       Sheldon Fox reports that the auditors have completed their audit and distributed a draft audit report. The net worth has increased due to deferred income and due to a capitalized book inventory written off year end 2007 to the amount of $36,000 in order to initiate a more conservative policy. The deferred revenue for NEA went up compared to one year ago as of June 1, 2007. The Temporarily restricted net assets increased. A total of $282,000 is in fellowship funds.  Unrestricted assets grew from a negative $59,000 two years ago. The deferred income from NEA alone went up by about $45,000. As we catch up on NEA the deferred revenue will be recognized as revenue. “Board Designated Assets” includes the Opportunity Fund invested at Vanguard to pay the publication cost of books. “Net Assets” are what ASOR has for day to day operations. These funds are not available without the board's approval.  ASOR’s three largest programs are Annual Meeting, Archaeological & Policy Support, and Journals. About 28% of revenues are not designated to any particular programs.  Only two programs, Journals and Books, generate direct revenue to cover their costs. The Annual Meeting is subsidized by Journals and books.  Andy Vaughn added that the $244,000 includes monies reinvested from earnings. If the market goes down our earnings could be smaller. 

BE IT RESOLVED that, Whereas, the Board of Trustees of ASOR has received and discussed a draft of the June 30, 2007 audited financial statements; and Whereas, the Statements of Financial Position in the audited financial statements reflect the amount of $178,032 of net assets at June 30, 2007 that are considered “Board Designated”; and Whereas, the designation of such amount of net assets means that such assets are not available to the organization for general operating purposes; Therefore, The Board of Trustees of ASOR hereby affirms that the following amount of net assets totaling $178,032 are appropriately considered “Board Designated” and thus, unavailable for the general operations of ASOR: first, the amount of $72,623, which represents the excess of the value of the organization’s endowment accounts, which are invested with Charles Schwab, and the Sequoia Fund in the amount of $375,042 over the amount which is permanently restricted by the terms of the donors in the amount of $302,419; and Second, the amount of $105,409, which represents funds set aside for publications in the organization's “Publications Opportunity Fund” which is invested with Vanguard.  PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.

5.      Jeff Blakely, Interim Vice President for Publications. 

BE IT RESOLVED that CAP is to appoint a standing editor six months before the end of their term.  The Publications Committee presents Jim Weinstein to be renewed for another three year term. This is a motion and a second from a standing committee.  PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.

BE IT RESOLVED that Pamela Gaber and Peter Feinman be appointed to the Outreach Committee, that Jonathan Lawrence be appointed to the Junior Scholars Committee, and that the new members of the Annual Meeting committee are Laura Mazow, Derek Counts, and Annlee Dolan.

Greg Mumford, Larry Herr, Benjamin Saidel, Leigh-Ann Bedal, Ben Porter, and Tom Levy have been appointed to the Committee for Archaeological Policy.

Jeff Blakely further reports that at the members meeting we elected seven new trustees

In the Institutional slate, all listed candidates were elected, to wit:

            Eric Cline

Nili Fox

Jeffrey Chadwick

Barry Gittlen.

In the individual slate, the three elected were as follows:

            Jimmy Harden

            Lawson Younger

Robert Mullins

Chairman P.E. MacAllister called for public recognition and thanks for the efforts of Jeff Blakeley. The Board of Trustees expressed their thanks and acknowledged his efforts.

2.      Jeff Blakely reports that the Officer’s Nominating Committee could not find a candidate for VP for Publications, but has one “nibble”. Jeff Blakely’s view of ASOR is that ASOR’s sole purpose is to disseminate good archaeological information.  CAP gathers information; the Annual Meeting is where we disseminate information orally.  A publication is the arm of dissemination in print or video form. We have six organs:  (1) Journal of Cuneiform Studies for a small group of scholars.  It is very important, but small. (2) BASOR is aimed at scholars.  The production of BASOR is excellent, and the Editor has a long queue of manuscripts.  (3) The Newsletter does not come out of publications, but should come from President and from the Boston Office.  (4)The Annual is successfully producing books, but there are only a few buyers.  (5) Archaeological Reports Series is highly technical and has even fewer buyers. (6) Jeff stressed that his view that NEA is the interface with the lay public and is an important part of our publication future.  To make it successful it needs to be pushed more professionally than it has been. It needs better staffing. It should presuppose college freshman reading level. We made a mistake when we took the name “biblical” out of the title, since we lost subscribers. Discussion: ASOR needed to recover those lost when we took the name “biblical” out of what is now NEA. It was noted that the old BASOR had interesting, even riveting reports that ASOR members experienced from the 1930s to the 1950s.  We have no outlet for discursive prose about the give and take in the Annual Meetings. There is a kind of disconnect between the Board and the people of ASOR, and anecdotal material helps fill that gap. Electronic distribution of journals may help solve this. Andy opined that once we are caught up with NEA and have increased our subscribers, we will have the revenue to make professional changes to NEA. It was suggested that we decide on the direction for all of ASOR and make NEA and other publications part of the direction.  If we are going to change publications effectively, we need a professional editor. Anyone with a suggestion for a change to NEA should send suggestions to Jeff Blakely. 

3.      Discussion of the future direction of CAP—Ann Killebrew.  CAP should focus on benefits to excavation teams and not to the vetting process. Ann suggests a standard form for vetting excavation proposals.  She suggests we revisit the policy that only American projects can be affiliated. Now at least one director must be a North American.  She suggests a synergy between CAP and COP. ASOR-affiliated projects should be helped to publish in ASOR-related publications.  We should use the web appropriately to help affiliate projects. If we can better define our grants and funds primarily for ASOR affiliated projects, it would help. This is important to CAARI, since Cyprus is now part of the European Union, and British archaeoloists have expressed interest in working with CAARI.  Publication in BASOR would be a huge benefit to them. International recruiting for ASOR members is also implicated. One trustee injected a call for caution, because our resources are limited. Some asked whether this issue should be discussed at the spring Executive Committee Meeting.

4.      BE IT RESOLVED that the Committee for Archaeological Policy put together a document on the pros and cons of keeping asor affiliation be solely North American or international. Moved by Eric Cline and seconded. Gary Arbino offers an amendment to the motion to ask that the membership at large be consulted. This was accepted by Eric Cline as a friendly amendment. It was suggested that the three institutes’ directors be invited to the discussion. We should also have legal counsel. PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.

5.       Executive Committee Decisions:

a.       Andy Vaughn reviewed the decisions of the September Executive Committee from the minutes.

                                                               i.      Recommended these names to the Board of Trustees as new members for the Committee for Archaeological Research and Policy: Greg Mumford (Egyptologist), Larry Herr, Leigh-Ann Bedal, Ben Saidel, Ben Porter, and Tom Levy.  These were forwarded to the Board for email vote.

                                                             ii.      Approved the management committee’s endorsement of the recommendation from the Investment Committee to reinvest dividends from Sequoia Fund in mutual funds held with Charles Schwab.

                                                            iii.      Approved the decision of the Management Committee to hire a new staff person for membership services. 

                                                           iv.      Approved the action of the Management Committee to hire Parent, McLaughlin, and Nangle, CPAs, Inc. for auditors.

                                                             v.      Concurred with the decision of the Management Committee to recommend that board chairman MacAllister appoint Jeff Blakely as interim Vice President for Publications.

                                                           vi.      Approved the decision of the Management Committee to appoint Jeff Blakely as an interim co-editor of NEA to serve through a transition period.

                                                          vii.      Affirmed the action of the Management Committee to approve the recommendation from the Executive Director to allocate $1,223.43 from Smith Barney settlement to ASOR’s endowment.

                                                        viii.      Affirmed Boston University’s “Rules of Conduct” (Section 401 in the Personnel Policy Manual) for all communication and interaction between ASOR members and ASOR staff who are Boston University employees.” for all communication and interaction between board members, officers, committee members, and ASOR staff.

                                                           ix.      Recommended that all board members and other committee members strive to maintain the highest standards of conduct and civility in their interactions with one another.

                                                             x.      Affirmed Joe Seger as a member of the Officers’ Nominating Committee

b.      Decisions made at the November meeting read by Jim Strange, Secretary:

                                                               i.      Affirmed Jeff Blakely as Interim Vice President for publications through May 1, 2008.  [Inadvertently omitted by the Secretary in the meeting, but added for the Board’s information.]

                                                             ii.      Approved the financial report to be submitted to the Board.

                                                            iii.      Defined “Board Designated” funds for audit purposes at the behest of the Treasurer for audit purposes.

                                                           iv.      Recommended that ASOR will continue administrative oversight of the Annual Meeting and meet in the same town and the same general dates as SBL.  1) The President and Executive Director in consultation with the Committee for the Annual Meeting be empowered to explore opportunities to coordinate pre-program sessions with SBL and to explore opportunities for access to SBL hotels and exhibits. 2) The President and Executive Committee be empowered to discuss with the three research centers their role in the Annual Meeting. 3) CAMP, in consultation with the President and Executive Committee, be empowered to develop the best meeting plan possible.  Decisions will include program sessions and overall scheduling. Discussion: The Program Committee suggested we retain the status quo.  Membership Committee suggested the same, but start on Wednesday. It was suggested that ASOR grant free rooms to students rather than cash grants.

                                                             v.      Recognized Eric Cline’s excellent service on the Executive Committee.

                                                           vi.      Authorized the editor of JCS in consultation with the Vice President for Publications to waive the requirement that Editorial Board Members of JCS be Professional Members of ASOR authority in exceptional cases.  Furthermore, in exceptional cases journal editors of basor and nea may request the Executive Committee that the executive office raise money to pay for memberships of editorial board members of BASOR and NEA.

                                                          vii.      Accepted COP’s recommendation that Jim Weinstein serve another three year term as editor of BASOR, since his editorial appointment runs out in June. The new term will be July 1, 2008 – June 30, 2011.

                                                        viii.      Placed the unrestricted bequest from Jim Ross into the endowment account as an unrestricted gift.

6.      Administrative Reports

a.       President’s Report--Eric Meyers. Expressed thanks to the other Members of the Management Committee for their efforts in day to day administration of ASOR. Called for thanks to the CAMP Committee and the Boston staff for the Annual Meeting. He singled out Selma and Alex for a special thank you. Rachel Halotte and Eric Meyers have submitted the NEH Archives Proposal, which was a major work in itself. All the line items in the budget of this proposal had to be changed to preserve and reconstruct the papers and lantern slides that were damaged by water. The Harvard Semitic Museum contains most of the ASOR archive. We will leave the archives in place, but link them with the Albright and the campus of Boston University. Eric thanked Jeff Blakely for filling in a number of key roles. Thanked Tammi Schneider for how she ran the Membership Meeting.  He was impressed that we set aside two hours without competition for public discussion in a decorous and insightful way.   Thanked P.E. MacAllister for his great wisdom and generosity in challenging ASOR.

b.      Incoming President’s Report--Tim Harrison. Reported that he has been learning as much about ASOR as possible with feedback from the staff, from the elected officers, and from the membership.  He has circulated a Vision Statement, which he summarizes as follows:  ASOR is in transition since its separation from SBL. There are new definitions of the purpose and direction of ASOR.  There is a generational change in the membership ranks.  There is an increasingly engaged generation of scholars.  The dialog is healthy. This is an occasion to affirm ASOR’s core mission, to initiate, encourage, and research. Study the languages and cultures of the Near East. Central to these priorities is ASOR as a learned society. The core values and interests continue to unite ASOR as an organization committed to the dissemination of knowledge.  We need new ways of disseminating this knowledge. We must participate in promoting the best research methods, fellowship opportunities, etch. ASOR must promote the highest ethical standards. We must live within our means. We must develop a sustainable plan.  Another priority is to work with the ED to ensure the efficient operation etc.  We provide support the standing committees. We will update job descriptions; establish a personnel committee for annual evaluation. Governance has evolved in ten years. These changes have put pressure on the governance structure. There are some internal inconsistencies as a consequence, so we convene an ad hoc committee to look into the structure of ASOR to conduct a thorough review and make recommendations to the Board. The Annual Meeting is a key asset of ASOR. Tim will work with the Executive Director and CAMP to put in place this morning’s resolution on the Annual Meeting. He will focus in the short term to stabilize operations and talk to editors, rebuilt trust, and stabilize the production side. He will aid in the search for a new VP for Publications.  The editorship of NEA has immediate and long term concerns to identify the target audiences, long term strategies to grow the circulation, and engage the mission and priorities of ASOR.  Tim will work with CAP to put together the issues and possibilities around the concerns identified by Ann Killebrew. He will work with Development in the short term to build the Annual Fund numbers and in the long term to resume a discussion around developing a long-term strategic plan and produce a working document for the February, 2008 Executive Committee Meeting.  Times of transition are difficult, but they also present opportunities. Our ranks are growing in terms of memberships and subscriptions.

                                                               i.      ACOR report by Sten LaBianca.  The international conference “Crossing Jordan” was a success and resulted in a book by the same title.  ACOR is running an Arabic language program with thirty students funded by Homeland Security.  Laura Bush was hosted by ACOR in Petra.  Petra Papyrus III has just been published.  Bethany Walker leads the Jordan dig directors, and ACOR is writing a dig manual for them.  They plan a strategic plan initiative. Sten called for a commendation for those who organized and worked on the conference.

Be it resolved that the Board of Trustees conveys to the President and Trustees of ACOR congratulations for a splendid international congress “Crossing Jordan”.  Moved by Nan Frederick; seconded by Sten LaBianca

                                                             ii.      AIAR report by Sy Gitin.  Sixty-four fellows, including a new fellowship for eastern European scholars. AIAR hopes to establish a new summer fellowship and a new senior professorship for a little over $300,000 annually.  NEH will supply $500,000 of a new $2mill challenge grant, all but $90,000 of which has been raised. One part will endow the senior professorship and the second part will renovate and endow the hostel. The Jim and Miriam Ross bequest to the Albright will go for journals.  Renovation has already begun with extension to the library.  The Wright lab will be renovated with offices. The major renovation will begin in 2009 for six months, which will close the Albright for that time.  The fellowship begins January of 2010. The highlight of lectures this year is the Dothan endowed lectureship in March.

                                                            iii.      Caari report was distributed.  Tom Davis added that the drop in the dollar has hurt their finances. CAARI is the host for many European fellows who have no place else to go. The new web site The Director’s exchange program was very valuable.  Tom Davis visited ACOR. Jim and Miriam Ross gave a bequest which is acknowledged. CAARI’s 30th anniversary to be celebrated in June.

c.       Development—Terry Hofecker. Expressed thanks for appointing him to the position. We are behind in the donor’s cycle. Each board member will contribute a minimum of $500 per year. Resources follow relationships and flow from a clear and compelling vision for ASOR. Terry asked the Trustees to pledge now and pay before Dec 31, 2007.

d.      Membership—Tammi Schneider.  Lawson Younger has volunteered to chair the Membership Committee.  The goal is to contact the 150 members whose memberships lapse each year to urge them to sign up again. We are contacting institutional members so that they pay up front. Joe Seger added some comments about Heritage Memberships. Announced that Tel Aviv University is not an institutional member of ASOR.

e.       Eric Cline reported for Programs, stressing the success of this Annual Meeting’s Program.

f.        Ann Killebrew reported for CAP, stressing positive changes in CAP procedures so that we emphasize publication opportunities to the excavation directors, not simply vetting field projects.  CAP plans to evaluate affiliated projects by measurable characteristics.

g.       Jeff Blakely for Publications reiterates that NEA will be caught up by May of next year.  Acknowledges that Sandra Scham, past editor, and her assistant have retired

be it resolved, that this board conveys thanks of Sandra Scham and Camilla Lucky for an exemplary job editing NEA. Jeff moved, and it was seconded. Passed UNANIMOUSLY.

h.       P.E. MacAllister reports that his analogy for ASOR is the legends of Arthur in England. Built on an ancient tradition about Constantine, who removed the last Roman troops from Britain.  Britain reverted to disorder, and Arthur restored order with a council of knights at Camelot.  It took twelve battles to accomplish this.  Suddenly a religious awakening swept through the kingdom centered on the Grail. The Grail was believed to have magical powers for any who caught a glimpse of it. Arthur’s knights went on quest for the Grail, a vacuum was created, and evil entered. Only one knight gained divine favor.  The villain Mordred raised an army in the north and eventually killed Arthur, and Lancelot returned to the continent. But what had inspired the quests was an illusion.  Twenty-five knights made a personal decision to seek the Grail and abandoned Camelot. It was a failure to understand the priorities of Camelot. The mission is the mission of the king and his administration.  Camelot gained peace and security at the expense of the knights’ personal goals. Each has its own assignment, but hopefully each fits into the framework of the system.  Credit is given to the opinions of others. Not a lot is gained from good intentions, especially if they produce dreams and visions alone. There must also be a will or ability to execute the vision, fix the problems, or bell the cat. The implementing dynamic is the dream.  Recycling last year’s solutions may not help.  The momentum of the past is too valuable to hoard. Are we indeed giving it our best shot?

i.         Executive Director’s Report:  Andy Vaughn thanked all the staff for their efforts in making the Annual Meeting a success. We have been operating an Annual Meeting that we wish to continue operating. We have direction in grants now.  As Joe Seger pointed out, we gave away $36,000 in grant support.  We look forward to seeing this sum grow.  Eighteen months ago we had a goal of 10 Heritage memberships, which P.E. took care of almost single handedly by encouraging lay members to recruit one new member. We have 14 today.  Andy encouraged the Trustees to recruit 50 new members by the next Annual Meeting. We need to speak with retiring members and encourage them to continue their membership as retired. We are taking in new monies and putting them in endowment. That will encourage others to do the same. 2) We are working on ways to make Boston a destination rather than a platform for planning.  Boston area faculty will be meeting at the Boston ASOR office in December as part of this initiative.  The archives project is an important part of this project of Boston as Destination.  3) Andy has been encouraged to edit the Newsletter.  Tim Harrison will work with Andy to use the Newsletter as a presidential outlet and a means of sharing goals with the wider membership. He is available to meet with university presidents, provosts, etc. to explain why institutional membership in ASOR is so important. Andy is willing to do the same thing. He hopes to travel to the three institutes to see their work in progress.

j.        New Business: 

BE IT RESOLVED that ASOR send birthday wishes to Dick Scheuer for his 90th birthday. Eric Meyers moved, and it was seconded. PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.

k.      Announcement: Beth Alpert Nakhai opened a discussion on women in Ancient Near Eastern archaeology, and there is interest in taking this voice forward. She announced her public appreciation to Nan Frederick for her long service on the board, the third longest for a woman.  Nan adds that ACOR is facing its 40th anniversary in June.

l.         May 2-3 is the next Trustees meeting in Philadelphia.

Adjourn 10:59 am.

Respectfully Submitted,

James F. Strange, Secretary