American Reading Forum Board Meeting
May 2, 2005
San Antonio, Texas
(International Reading Association Annual Conference)

Present: Board Members: Jill Lewis (Chair), Joyce Fine, Michael French, Cindy Hendricks, Lessie Cochran (Cindy Hendricks as proxy); Committee Chairs: Brenda Townsend, Jo Ann Bass, Randy Bass, Gary Moorman.; Substitute Recording Secretary,Helen Robbins.

Jill Lewis thanked the Board and ARF members for their condolences on the sudden loss of her husband. The support she has received from ARF members has meant a great deal to her during this difficult time.

MINUTES: A motion to approve the minutes of the December ARF Board Meeting was moved and seconded (Brenda Townsend/Michael French). The motion passed.

Minutes from the December Business Meeting were also approved.

TREASURER’S REPORT: The treasurer’s report sent by Sarah Dowhower, ARF’s Treasurer, was reviewed. The Donna for a Day Auction has raised $4000 thus far. Additionally, other institutions may contribute money before December. All funds are going to the ARF Graduate Student Scholarship Fund. This fund is, thus, in very good shape.

Cindy Hendricks reported a $10,000 increase in the cost of the 2004 conference. She noted that this was not unexpected since the conference location had to be changed last minute. This increase was the result of increased expenses for the social functions. This was anticipated by the conference committee due the increase in prices on Marco Island. There were also additional expenses related to the Silver Jubilee Celebration.

Jill Lewis complemented all on the incredible job that was accomplished in the short turnaround time the Conference Committee had for moving the 2004 Silver Jubilee Conference to a new venue. She reported that the conferences we went smoothly in spite of the situation. She thanked all for their hard work.

It was moved and seconded to accept the Treasurer’s Report.

EDITORIAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE: Gary Moorman informed the group that he removes individuals from the ARF listserv by request. Brenda Townsend said that a few want information mailed by surface mail.

Gary Moorman also reported that the guidelines for publication request that manuscripts for the ARF journal be sent in APA style. The Board discussed how the editing for APA might best be completed. Gary said that graduate students could check for APA style.

GRADUATE STUDENT MENTOR COMMITTEE: As Vice-Chair, Michael French agreed to coordinate the development of guidelines for graduate scholarships. ARF needs to rescind those things voted on in December related to the Graduate Scholarships in light of the Donna-for-a-Day contributions. A suggestion was made to have a committee look at everything related to the scholarships and conference participation related to graduate students and draw up guidelines for recipients of scholarship. ARF needs to have strict guidelines and to clarify the scholarship criteria. We also need to decide how to best use the scholarship funds (e.g., spend all in one year or set up endowment). ARF also needs to encourage members to continue to contribute to the scholarship fund and not view Donna-for-a-Day as the only scholarship fundraising effort.

Cindy Hendricks talked about the history of the scholarships— she was not sure that it was ever the intention to give so many scholarships and feels we have gotten away from the one or two scholarships we used to give. Brenda Townsend added that in the past it has depended on who is on the Board as to how the scholarships were to be determined. She said that it was too difficult to decide who got scholarships, so the Board tended to divide the contributions evenly; it has now gotten to the point where most get scholarships. Criteria have not been finalized as to what is expected from the graduate students’ proposals that would merit scholarship support.

Michael French suggested that all graduate students who submit proposals participate in a poster session. The posters would be put up Friday so that members could give feedback and everyone could see them. Then, at the luncheon the awards would be given. Jill Lewis suggested two poster sessions for graduate students or the possibility of presenting with a professor. Cindy Hendricks proposed that Randy Bass form a committee a committee together to develop guidelines for the scholarships for graduate students. Jill mentioned that a committee had been put in place at the December meeting, and that it would continue with this work. Randy would then make a proposal to the board. If the Board approved the proposal, it would be presented to the full membership for approval.

Gary Moorman asked Randy Bass to send him an updated version of the "Graduate Student Mentor/Scholarship Program" for posting to the website.

Randy Bass recommended that ARF do something for Donna Alvermann to show our appreciation for her contribution of Donna-for-a-Day for the scholarship. Michael French suggested that the scholarship might be named after Donna. Jill Lewis suggested that those who contribute to the fund be identified. Michael suggested that the committee take these ideas under advisement as the committee develops a comprehensive scholarship plan of procedures and guidelines. Jill requested that the Committee’s recommendations be developed and sent soon so decisions can be made before the December conference.

The Board reviewed the International Projects report submitted by Sharon Kossack. Cindy Hendricks recommended that Sharon post information about international projects on the ARF website. Individuals interested in international projects could contact Sharon. Perhaps there could be a separate button on the website for international projects. Gary Moorman will be asked about the possibilities of this link.

MEMBERSHIP: The Board discussed several topics related to membership. Even though graduate students have extended time to submit proposals to for the annual conference, it is not clear whether this is helping to encourage graduate students to present at the conference and join ARF. Jill Lewis recommended that a reminder be sent to members that requests that they encourage graduate students to submit a proposal.

Randy Bass reported that it seems that not all members are on listserv, and Brenda Townsend reported that she sends e-mails to members, but that some continue to bounce back even though great care is taken to update current e-mail addresses. Most members get information by email except those that request that information be mailed. Currently there are two members who request that information be mailed. Several members have not provided accurate or up-to-date email addresses.

Attendance at the conference has dropped and membership has dropped as well. Currently, there are only 7 student members. This past year, there were more cancellations of presenters at the conference than usual. It was noted that having new people attend the ARF conferences seems to be most successful when current members personally invite others to submit proposals and attend. Michael said that he would send information about ARF to OTER members.

NOMINATIONS/ELECTIONS: The Board had a discussion about how to best seek nominations for various positions in ARF. Joyce Fine, Elections Committee Chair, noted that the nominations form was distributed to all members, but there was little response. The Board discussed ways to involve new members and agreed that person-to-person contact seems to work best.

The Board also discussed the possibility of conducting elections on-line as opposed to the current system of mailing ballots to members who must then mail them back. Gary Moorman reported that it could be done, but secure software is needed and the setting up of a voting on line system would be expensive.

After a discussion of the possible use of postcards as a means to lower the cost of voting by mail, the Board voted to retain the current system mailing ballots.

SERVICE AWARD: Forms for nominations for the Service Award are online and are due by June 30. It was decided that the Awards Committee from last year would remain the same for another year. Jill thanked Joyce Fine for all the work she did last year in helping to establish this Service Award. Jill also thanked Brenda Townsend, the first Service Award recipient, for all the work she as done. Joyce distributed The Brenda Townsend American Reading Forum Service Award applications to the Board.

PUBLIC RELATIONS: Michael French thanked Lessie Cochran and Cindy Hendricks for all of their work related to last year’s Shrimp Fest at the annual conference. Michael will be forming a committee for this year’s Shrimp Fest. As in the past, Michael will contribute funds that remained from the Shrimp Fest to the Graduate Student Scholarship fund. The amount remaining is about $50.00 and the funds will be given to the ARF treasurer.

The Board discussed the state of co-sponsored sessions at different conferences. Tim Murnen will be presenting at an IRA/ARF co-sponsored session. Gary Moorman and Jill Lewis will be doing a co-sponsored session at CRA. Both NRC and OTER will be approached about the possibilities of a co-sponsored session. Further, OTER would be asked it someone would like to do an OTER co-sponsored session at the next ARF conference. It was suggested that we continue to get the word out to members about the co-sponsored sessions.

The Board discussed the use of the ARF website. The website gets a fair number of visits. Brenda Townsend asked if there is a timeline for taking things off the web. Gary Moorman responded that he usually removes specific items when others indicate that something needs to be removed. When items are sent to be posted, he would like senders to let him know how long the item should remain posted before it is taken off the website.

CONFERENCE PROGRAM 2005: Randy Bass reported that he has lined up Eric Paulson and Terry Bullock for General Sessions; Terry will be retiring this year. George Hruby will be the final session Keynote Speaker. When asking for suggestions for speakers, George has been very helpful and sends Randy emails about the latest trends and upcoming conference dates. Randy also announced that he would still accept proposals since.he did not receive very many. He has been looking through the names of people who had not presented last year to try to encourage them to present. There is room for at least 10 – 15 more presentations. He plans to send a message on the list serve to encourage graduate students to get in their proposals.

A suggestion was made to look at the luncheon menu at the Sundial and to save money by using tickets. Brenda Townsend volunteered to help with food and arrangements. Randy will let Jill know. Joanne Bass said she has someone on their committee to help make food selections.

CONFERENCE PROGRAM 2006: The conference theme will be Language and Literacy: Pedagogies for Schools and Cultures. Beth Frye of Appalachian State University will chair the conference. George Hruby will be asked for 2007. Jill said she would send him a note. There is a suggestion to waive the registration fees for individuals who are key speakers at the ARF conference who are not ARF members. This has typically been done in the past .

It was suggested that an investigation be made in the ARF archives to see how the fees for outside speakers were previously handled. Brenda Townsend said that there was a proposal form given as to the guidelines of what would be expected of the speaker and not to go outside of the guidelines. This topic would be checked into further, including consulting Missy Lane who may have the necessary information to decide about fees for outside speakers. ARF’s Chair will look into this.

Jill Lewis reported that the contract for 2007 conference has been signed with the Sundial.

NEW BUSINESS: Jill Lewis shared a letter that goes out for Donna-for-a-Day every time she presents so that the consulting fee is paid directly to ARF and Donna Alvermann will not be liable for taxes.

MEETING AJOURNED: The meeting was adjourned at 12:15.

*Formal approval will occur at the December 2005 American Reading Forum Board Meeting.

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