Guide: President-Elect

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2009-10 Edition

Note Bene: Per Council decision, 22 October 2008, this Guide is meant to be a “living document” and must be maintained in a Word format to facilitate revision. Please feel free to revise as needed, adding your initials in parentheses after revision, thus enabling follow-up questions if necessary. At the end of your term, please forward a copy of this Guide to the ADE secretary for archiving. The ADE secretary will distribute the appropriate Guide to the incoming elected Council members, as well as forwarding copies of all Guides to the ADE president.

Congratulations! You have received the call, e-mail or letter asking you to serve as ADE President. Your year as president-elect will go by swiftly, and hopefully this guide may help you to also keep things going smoothly. Please edit or add to it as needed, and at the end of your term send it to the new President-Elect and to the ADE Secretary for archiving.

The President-Elect has two main jobs to accomplish:

1) Serving as Program Chair for the ADE Annual Meeting
2) Becoming Familiar with the ADE’s long-range plan and Council issues

Annual Meeting

You should start thinking about the Annual Meeting as soon as you accept the nomination. Determine who is chairing the Local Arrangements Committee for the Annual Meeting, as you will be in close communication throughout the year.

  • Conference Themes While ADE doesn’t usually announce a theme for its annual meeting, you may want to think broadly about the topics that you would like to see covered. You can consider organizing the meeting around anniversaries, memorials, challenges and opportunities specific to that year. This is your opportunity to think up panel ideas that you think ADE should hear and get them done.
  • Selecting a Program Committee (Check constitution) You have a number of choices when putting together a Program Committee– you can include the members who have proposed sessions or panels, select members whose advice you respect, or select people relatively new to ADE in order to encourage participation.
    The Committee’s role is up to you to determine. Sometimes the committee meets by phone to discuss proposals, sometimes the chair makes all the decisions.
  • Call for Papers A call for papers, giving the dates and location of the Annual Meeting should be posted on the ADE Website, SEDIT-L, and the discussion lists of any affiliated organizations by January. You can construct a proposal form, if you like, or just ask for proposals via e-mail, fax or regular mail. While you will prefer proposals for entire sessions, you should determine whether you will accept proposals for individual papers.
  • Types of Sessions The annual meetings usually take place over three days, starting in the afternoon or morning, usually on a Thursday, going all day Friday, and ending around noon on Saturday. There is often an organized trip that the members can take on Saturday afternoon, immediately after the last session.You will need to fill eight or nine slots, depending on the start time. The slots usually last 90 minutes, with a 15 minute break between them. Here is a typical schedule, those events marked with an asterisk will be arranged by the Local Arrangements Committee or the Council.
    • Wednesday ADE Council meeting (private)*
    • Thursday (1 or 2 slots) ADE Council meeting (private)* Morning session (optional) Lunch on your own Afternoon session (2-3:30 or so) 15-minute break Business meeting (usually an hour)* Short break Reception*
    • Friday ADE Breakfast 15-minute break First Morning session 15-minute break Second morning session Lunch on your own First Afternoon session 15-minute break Second Afternoon session Cocktail reception* Banquet
    • Saturday ADE Council meetings (private) Private Meetings with NEH / NHPRC / other agencies Morning Session
  • Panels Most panels consist of three speakers and a chair. Sometimes one of the speakers doubles as the chair. The general format is three twenty minute presentations, with time for introductions and questions following all three presenters. Chairs can prepare comments, comment extemporaneously, or simply introduce, select questioners and call an end to the session.
    Roundtables Can contain more presenters. They usually speak on a theme, taking turns discussing issues raised and commenting on points raised by the audience. Usually one person should be appointed to serve as the de facto chair, to ensure that all the speakers have time to speak.
  • Workshops At some meetings, how-to or show-and-tell workshops were organized to run concurrently in one slot. They might demonstrate the use of an indexing program, discuss new federal funding guidelines, or coach editors on creating a National History Day site. Since they are more hands-on, it is best not to run them as plenary sessions, which can attract over 100 people.
  • Breakfast The ADE Breakfast has often featured local talents discussing the history of the host city, special commemorations, such as anniversaries, or performers. The actual program time is only about 45 minutes, as there is no program while members are eating. As the breakfast costs about $25 ADE usually tries to make it more entertaining and light than some of the sessions.
  • Posters In 2008 and 2009 we experimented with a call for poster sessions. In 2008 the posters focused on descriptions of new projects, or projects new to ADE. Designed as a way to showcase new members’ work and to introduce them to the ADE, there were four posters proposed for the meeting. In 2009, poster sessions offered an avenue of participation for those proposing papers that didn’t quite fit into any of the panels that were developed. In the 2008 Tucson meeting we set aside Thursday afternoon to end of day Saturday for the display. A comparable span of time is planned for the 2009 conference in Springfield If you choose to continue this practice, check with the Local Arrangements Committee to ensure that there is sufficient space.
    • Recommend that posters be constructed of display board, with no valuable objects attached. While a computer slide show might be the best way to demonstrate a project, we do not want to be responsible for its security.
    • Unlike a traditional poster session at a history conference, these are designed to be simply displayed. The project does not have to staff the poster display or answer questions. Hopefully when other members see their name tag, they will recall the presentation and make conversation.
  • Tips on Selecting Panels Hopefully you will have received a good amount of panel proposals from your call for papers, but likely after you go over them, you will have to tweak them or fill additional slots.
    • Because sessions are usually plenary, try to incorporate papers with broad appeal to the membership as a whole. Three papers on a tightly constructed theme may be wonderful, but we don’t want the majority of the members to decide to skip it and meet at the pool!
    • When possible, try to integrate the work of literary editors and historical editors on the same panel. It will bring both sorts of editors together and we can learn from each other’s disciplines.
    • While sometimes unavoidable, try not to have panels that focus in one time period, unless they address broader themes that all editors can profit from.
    • It is traditional to include one “local” panel, drawn from experts in the host city who might not necessarily be members of ADE, but who might join after exposure to the group.
    • There are always technical panels proposed, but be sure not to focus solely on digital projects, as there are many members who are, choose one: bored, intimidated, or uninterested. Look back over past meetings to see what has been done recently, to make sure that you have a new take on it.
    • Try, whenever possible, to include a mix of editors on panels ranging from junior staffers to project directors. When you have been to a number of meetings, you start to see the same names over and over again, and persuading a new editor to give a paper gives them an immediate connection with the organization.
    • We have not required presenters to be ADE members.
  • Travel Funds Starting in 2008, the ADE’s $2,500 in travel funds were put at the discretion of the Program Committee, for help presenters pay their way. Because of this, it is important to include an initial due date on the Call for Papers, which will enable you to disburse funding, and to use it as an incentive to lure speakers when you have a few holes to fill. Ask those applying for funds to prepare a budget and a specific request, and then apply some Solomon-like wisdom to distribution. You can’t always get what you want, but if you apply sometimes, you get what you need.
    • Though you might notify the awards recipients of their prize in the spring or summer, likely they will not get the funds until after Sept. 1, when the new ADE budget kicks in.
    • With Travel Funds related directly to presenting on the program, I decided that all recipients had to become ADE members. By fiat. Feel free to change that if you want.
  • Rounding out Panels Often times a panel presentation is missing a chair, has only two papers, or is just a good idea, e-mailed to you by a member who cannot present it themselves. You need to call on the contacts you’ve made in the ADE, and rely on the advice of the other members of your conference committee, to fill in the holes in the program.
  • Audio-Visual Needs These days, one presenter in almost every panel wants to use a computer either to show a website, serve as a glorified slide carousel, or demonstrate esoteric tagging or database operations. You will need to work with your Local Arrangements Chair to determine what will be made available by the hotel, what the Local Arrangements Committee can provide, and how they prefer to handle these presentations. There is always a lot of angst, computer demonstrations invariably bog down in some technical incompatibility just when the session is about to start, but you can guard against this by finding out ahead of time who will want to use computers, whether they want to bring their own or use on supplied, whether they use Macs or PCs, and whether they require internet access. Provide all this to the Local Arrangements Committee in plenty of time, so that they can work with the presenters to make everything go smoothly.
  • The Banquet As incoming President and the chair of the Program Committee, you also get to be the master/mistress of ceremonies at the Annual Banquet. You won’t need to knock ‘em dead with a monologue, but you do need to prepare the information you need ahead of time, so that you are not scrambling to write down the names of the awards recipients on the back of your napkin.
    • Welcome
    • Introduction of newly elected officers?
    • Awards winners Any Distinguished Service Awards? Boyd Award Butterfield Award Boydston Prize
    • Introduction of the President Bestowing the dinosaur Invitation to the after-party, wherever that is to be held.
    • Presidential Address (take notes–you’ll be doing it next year!)
    • Following the banquet, you bring things to a close (thanking for coming and saying you look forward to seeing everyone again next year at the upcoming conference site is one possibility).
  • The Dinosaur The powers-that-be decreed that past presidents of the ADE would be identified on their ADE name tags by a dinosaur sticker. The President-elect seems to be responsible for procuring the stickers, and it has been the duty of the president-elect to place a fresh sticker on the president’s name tag, thus ushering him or her into extinction. At the close of her presidential address in Springfield in 2009, Cathy Hajo said she would like to bring the dinosaur tradition to a close because she wants to think of the ADE not as an organization that doesn’t change and thus is doomed to extinction but as one that remains vital by adapting editorial practices to changing times. What should transpire, if anything, regarding this tradition in 2010 is unclear. Phoenix stickers?
  • Timetable Putting together the program can take a lot of time, or it can go smoothly, it depends on a lot of variables. There are some firm deadlines, for example, getting a preliminary program prepared by the mid-summer for the annual meeting mailing. Work with the secretary and local-arrangements chair to make sure that you are all on the same page.
  • Long-Range Planning Since 2007, the ADE has begun a process of sharing responsibility and planning that has made the roles of president-elect, president, and past-president more collaborative and had made the ADE a more structured organization that assesses priorities and takes action. As president-elect, your job is to get up to speed on the long-range plan (posted on the ADE website), the issues that the ADE is dealing with, and to think about new goals or actions that you think will help the organization.

Good luck! You’ll do great–otherwise they wouldn’t have picked you!