MHA Business Meeting
Thursday, May 30, 2019 8:00 am
Hauenstein Center, Grand Valley State University
--Call to Order: President Ted Frantz
--Introduction by Ted Frantz
Review of previous meeting minutes from 2018. Motion to approve the minutes carried.
--Report from the Treasurer: Patrick Pop
Finances have been stable. We had between $2,000 to $3,000 in the bank this year. While the finances have been stable, there has been some change in having the membership handled by the press (U of Nebraska). We’ll get one check per year rather than multiple checks. The other focus has been to standardize and formalize the treasurer position. Patrick opened a national bank account with two signatures. Most of the expenses went to government fees while making this transition.
We very much want to drive up the membership numbers so that we can advertise with other national history organizations, continue to fund the awards, and fund graduate travel to conferences.
Ted commended Patrick for his work.
--Membership: Megan Birk
We have more than 500 people on the mailing list but at this point only about 70 dues paying members. I think we just need to encourage people to take advantage of the subscription/membership discount as a way to support the goals of midwestern history more broadly. People can become a member online through the Midwestern History Association’s website or the University of Nebraska Press’s website: http://unp-bookworm.unl.edu/product/Midwest-History-Association,678087.aspx
The executives know that right now, there is not a confirmation email generated to people once they become members. We are working on making this happen (U of Nebraska Press is updating their software).
The MHA executives are so grateful to the Hauenstein Center for hosting the conference, and we want to make sure we are doing our part to continue to make the organization healthy.
--Preliminary Discussion of Bylaws
The MHA officers are conducting a review of the bylaws and plan to hold a vote with all members on those proposed changes. One of the changes, for example, is to add the role of secretary to the bylaws, which we actually have and has been a vital role for the organization. There could also be a proposal of having a conference organizing committee.
For the conference organizing committee, there should be some flexibility in managing the conference. There is some flexibility needed as organizers contact and negotiate with speakers.
The conference organizing committee could consult with the Hauenstein Center on the preliminary conference program and consider how to organize the conference. This would take place in early February. There would be 3-4 people on this conference committee.
The motion carried to create the secretary position, define the membership as dues-paying, and consider ways to communicate more with the Hauenstein Center.
The President is in charge of nominating people to serve on the award committees. There are five awards. Ted is looking for people to serve on the award committees, so if people are interested, they should contact Ted.
There are three people who serve on each award committee.
Ted wants to make sure that we cast the net widely so that we have diverse perspectives and voices on the award committee.
--Outreach to graduate students and other groups
Ted applauds the MHA for welcoming lots of graduate students and for graduate students for attending the conference enthusiastically. Sara and Ted will continue to reach out to graduate students and encourage them to attend.
Jeff Wells asked what we’d like from graduate students. Ted answered that the MHA would like help with social media coordination, creating podcasts, membership, and submitting to Studies in Midwestern History. Jeff noted that at U of Nebraska Kearney, there are 150 master’s students, and about one third write on midwestern history. The MHA could work with Jeff to engage with students there.
--Funding for graduate students and contingent faculty
The MHA continues to plan to raise money to support graduate students travel.
The MHA officers are interested in updating the website by including photos from conferences, other images that reflect the diversity of the Midwest, and refreshes the ideas currently discussed by historians who study the Midwest.
Jon Lauck did 40 episodes for the Heartland History podcast. Since then, one or two people have taken over the podcast and have produced 1-2 episodes. It is open to more people producing stories on the podcast. It got great feedback.
The social media coordination has been sporadic. There is not a clear process about who posts and how they do so. The MHA officers want to make the process easy and clear.
Jeff Wells asked if we sell ads in the program. The MHA executives will investigate this with the Hauenstein Center.
Erik McDuffie encouraged the MHA members to continue encourage others to become members. He also issued a challenge to invite people of color, queer folx, and others to attend the conferences and join the organization. Membership is one thing but inclusion and belonging to the Midwestern History Association is the goal.
Meeting adjourned at 8:55 am
MHA Business Meeting
Wednesday June 6, 2018, 8:00 AM
Hauenstein Center, Grand Valley State University
-Call to Order by President Ted Frantz
-Introduction by Ted Frantz
Short discussion on the minutes from previous MHA business meeting. There will be a more concerted effort to improve recording and reading minutes in the future.
-Total balance: $2,338.46. This total comes after paying out award checks and expenses.
Ted Frantz brought up the discussion of the MHA being the victim of an identify theft scam, causing approximately $1,800 in damages. Police reports were filed with the Tulsa Police Department, but we have not been notified of any additional action. Suggestions were taken from the meeting attendees on what steps the MHA should take to make sure we aren’t targeted again. Possible solutions are two-signature authorizations on checks, limits on dollar amounts and transactions, and scam alerts from our banking institution. Previous Treasurer Bryan Mosmer began repaying the damages from his personal accounts.
Motion made by Ted Frantz to forgive Bryan Mosmer from covering the scam damages totaling $1,800. Motion seconded by Gregory Rose, motion passed without abstention.
Another discussion was held on the dues structure and capabilities for incoming dues monies. Currently, the structure is $40 for members and $20 for students. Only 70 people have paid dues already and a tentative goal of 150 paying members was set. Many attendees asked what the dues will cover or receive any reciprocal benefits. Jon Lauck suggested securing subscriptions to Midwestern university publications such as the University of Nebraska Press that all members will receive. Could this be extended to other publications as well?
Conference expenses were also mentioned as part of the dues coverage. It was suggested that paying members could submit proposals and present, while non-paying members could only be guests at future conferences. The Hauenstein Center will continue hosting the conference and cover majority of the expenses. The conference will be extended to 2-days next year. Current MHA expenses are set aside for the awards and website maintenance. Donors are a potential revenue stream. Subcommittee to investigate potential uses for dues and publication partnerships was also discussed.
Attendees put forth the idea of moving to supporter language, rather than member.
Pledge to have better messaging in the future. There are currently 826 email subscribers, but not many people receive the communications. There has not been a recent newsletter, which needs to be revitalized through member contributions. Thomas Richardson emphasized that we need to consider developing a communications and marketing plan to maintain current
subscribers and draw in new followers. We have a strong social media presence on Twitter and Facebook, but this can be expanded.
President Elect; Sara Egge
Secretary: Megan Burke
Treasurer: Patrick Popsieck.
Ted Frantz opened the meeting to discussion on future work we need to focus on as an organization. What we do and how we do it next year is important.
Podcast: Present work is good and new people are being recruited to host and produce.
Jon Lauck mentioned that we need to work on the newsletter some more. We should also continue working and contributing to the affiliate organizations like the OAH and AHA. THANK PEOPLE FROM THE HAUENSTEIN CENTER. Megan Burke suggested quarterly / monthly newsletter mailings. These could be delivered directly to members and feature information about member profile, accomplishments, work, research, and other articles to keep the membership abreast of current events.
Ted and Thomas talked about recruiting an individual who can be dedicated to managing the website full-time. Jeff Wells suggested we investigate Reclaim Hosting procedures. Thomas also put forth that we examine some role the organization can have with National History Day.
Several members asked about inviting more women speakers and plenary addresses delivered by women’s history experts. This should be done to promote and showcase MHA diversity.
Motion made by Thomas Richardson to establish a committee focused on how to use membership dues and explore membership benefits, such as getting free publication subscriptions and awards. Motion seconded by Patrick Popsieck, motion passed without abstention. Volunteers will be needed to staff the committee.
Closing Remarks: We will continue to be an open and welcoming organization for everyone.
Meeting adjourned at 8:57 AM
MHA Conference Liaison