U.S. Intellectual History Blog

2012-2013 Report: Secretary

S-USIH 2013 Report from the Secretary, Raymond Haberski, Jr.

1. S-USIH Website

The new website was launched on January 21, 2013.  A major part of launching this new site was the migration of the USIH blog from Blogger to WordPress.  The migration was, overall, a success but did create some problems in format.  Those problems are still being worked out and the site over all is still expanding.  We started a google doc that allows those people in charge of the site, blog, and society publications to post and converse about issues that need to be resolved, addressed or rolled out.

The designer of the website is Curtis Billue.  He lives in Indianapolis and the secretary of S-USIH, Ray Haberski, negotiated the contract that Curtis and continues to work with him on developing the site.  In the report from the society’s treasurer it will be noted that S-USIH has paid Curtis $2000 to develop, launch and continuously update the site for 2012-2013.

Among the changes that the website has inaugurated is to create profiles of society members.  This is something that I have assigned myself and need to carve out more time to work on.  I am also developing a schedule of podcasts for the New Books Network and other conversations with people that will be exclusive to the S-USIH site.  Finally, I hope that the “news” items will provide a quick way to provide updates on people, events, and themes that will of temporary interest to people who look at the site.

During the rest of 2013, Curtis and I will be working on building out the members-only areas of the site.  Part of the problem thus far has been working on a way to make this area secure so that members can use it for commercial transactions as well as a place to access content developed for members.  We hope to have our society newsletter in this area and place for syllabi, reading lists, and a forum for other discussions not appropriate for the blog.

2. Membership

The society’s membership is drive primarily by the conference.  This relationship has shifted a bit over the last year with more people joining who are not part of the annual conference. For the most part, though, this relationship has remained consistent.  At this moment there are 165 members.  As we progress with the website, one of the features we would like to create is a way to get a sense of the diversity of scholarly interests members have.  We have some information on members’ interests from the make-up of conference panels.  At this point, the society has not made plans to restructure the membership fee of $40, but has made it possible to join on-line.

3. 2013-2014 Officer Elections

As stipulated in the S-USIH constitution, the society will run its annual elections for officers no later than the first week of May 2013 so that new officers will be installed by June 1, 2013.   In the next two weeks, I will send out a call for nominations and self-nominations followed by the announcement on the society website of the candidates standing for election.  Each candidate will provide a brief biography and explanation of why they are standing for a particular office.  During the first week of May, I will arrange a SurveyMonkey poll so that members can cast their ballots for new officers.

4. Changes to the By-Laws

In the March 1, 2013 executive committee meeting, Paul Murphy (president) made a motion (which was seconded) to add the following by-law:

11.  For the purposes of effective planning, the Executive Committee may arrange to have Conference Committee Chairs elected two or more years before the conference for which that chair is responsible.

[Per Article III, sec. 1, only the most recently elected Conference Committee Chair is an officer of the Society and shall serve on the Executive Committee.  Per Article III, sec. 10, the term of office of a Conference Chair expires at the end of the conference for which that chair is responsible.]

The results of vote on this by-law follows:

Lora Burnett: yes

Paul Murphy: yes

Lisa Szefel: yes

Allison Perlman: yes

Ray Haberski: yes

Motion carried and the new by-law goes into effect immediately.