TEI: TEI Board Conference Call: 13-14 November 2010

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From notes taken at meeting.

TEI Board Meeting: 13-14 November 2010Sarah Wells

  • The meeting was certified with the following members present: Syd Bauman (SB), Lou Burnard (LB), Veronika Lux (VL), Daniel O’Donnell (DO), Sebastian Rahtz (SR), Laurent Romary (LR), Susan Schreibman (SS), Sarah Wells (SW), and Christian Wittern (CW).

  • The agenda was approved.

  • The minutes of the last meeting were approved.

  • As noted in the business meeting minutes, the vote on the proposed changes to the bylaws were within four votes of a quorum, all in favor of the changes. The vote therefore was tipped over to the Board, which can vote to accept it. However, the bylaws require a Board membership of seven to ten members, and the changes would reduce the Board membership to six. The bylaws don’t allow the Board to vote on this.

    Instead, the Board can have special elections for two new Board members for two-year terms, raising the total number of voting members to six, and give the Treasurer and Council Chair voting rights for one year. That gives the Board a total of eight voting members, but only for one year. In 2011, the membership can elect two more voting members for two-year memberships to the Board. The Treasurer and Council Chair will then lose their voting rights (unless they run for and win Board membership).

    The proposed bylaw changes also include changes to the TEI hosts, including the removal of the minimum of four hosts. DO suggested rethinking the terminology of description of “host,” perhaps substituting the term “partner,” to forestall concerns about the demands of requirements of hosting (specifically the in-kind requirements). This would be a nomenclature change only. In principle, the Board approvals this change, but will investigate the repercussions of the new wording (particularly what level of funding new hosts need to provide).

    Motions that the Board hold special elections by the end of January 2011 to bring in two new elected Board members by the beginning of February 2011, that the unelected Treasurer and Council Chair will hold voting privileges for the transition year (2011), and that the bylaws be approved as proposed w/minor modification to change “hosts” to “partners” were accepted.

  • SS reported on a SIG luncheon meeting held earlier in the day. The SIG Coordinators complained that the SIGs were not mentioned at the business meeting during the conference and asked for time at the poster slam to introduce themselves and groups. They also asked if a SIG Coordinator could be included in the program committee for future conferences. The arrangement of holding SIG groups to a half-day in the mornings during the conference and mixing the groups in with paper presentations was positively viewed. The Coordinators do not wish to be part of pre-conference workshops, which have extra costs for participants, but they do like having blocks of time in which to meet.

    The SIG linguistics lunch was very successful this year, and the Coorindators felt that it would be helpful to have a SIG reception on first day. Other ideas were to have a SIG program and/or an initial reception that features SIGS and leads in to SIG groups and workshops. This puts extra work on SIG chairs, but they were interested.

    The Board was happy with the overall paper quality. The conference experience was good, but there were several local issues that arose in both the planning and actual execution of the conference. These caused stress and extra work for the program committee and required outside help. Some problems were unique to this location and some could not have been foreseen, but there should be protocols for Members’ Meetings that are provided to local organizers. Kevin Hawkins wrote up protocols after the Ann Arbor meeting that could be updated to reflect lessons learned and given to future local organizers. This could be assigned to the 2011 local organizing committee.

    The workshops were problematic: there were many submissions, some with high budgets, but some organizers were not happy with plans for half-day workshops with flat fees. Perhaps it would be helpful to differentiate between workshops that teach new technology, exhibitions of tools and applications, and working meetings. It would be helpful to study standard terminology and organizational models: the Board should look at how other conferences handle workshops. The program committee also needs to set policies of fees and cost-recovery.

    Could we set up feedback forums for 2011? Perhaps someone can do paper survey and survey monkey for next year. It would also be nice to have abstracts available in advance. This may have been a local issue, since preparing printed hand-outs was problematic.

    For future planning bids, Board should be careful to look for experienced organizers and local involvement with the TEI community.

  • We want to be out of sync with DH, which will next be held in July in California. It would also be wise to solicit calls for hosts well in advance, so that local organizers have time to investigate possible funding options. Therefore the Board decided to issue two calls for the next two years, requesting bids from outside North America for 2011 and outside Europe for 2012.

    The meeting adjourned for the night.

  • The meeting reconvened on Sunday, 14 November, with the following members present: Syd Bauman (SB), Lou Burnard (LB), Veronika Lux (VL), Daniel O’Donnell (DO), Laurent Romary (LR), Susan Schreibman (SS), Sarah Wells (SW), and Christian Wittern (CW).

  • The Board agreed that the nomination committee for the regular 2010 Board and Council elections should be asked to hold the special elections that will be complete by the end of January, 2011.

  • We are facing major changes this year. We can either fill some or all of these positions now, or decide to defer or delegate some of these decisions. The current incumbents are:

    • Chair: DO
    • Vice Chair: SS
    • Secretary: SW
    • Treasurer: SW
    • Council Chair: LR
    • Executive Director: VL

    The Council chair appointment was for a renewable two year term (2010-2011) subject to continuing Board approval. It was approved last year.

    DO recommends that we not continue annual terms but have two-year terms and stagger them so that there isn’t too much turnover at one time. The Board approved this. CW asked if the bylaws allow for removing an officer before the end of a term if there are problems. If not, the Board should add a clause. The Board agreed.

    There was discussion of the function of the Executive Director, Secretary, and Treasurer positions. The split between issuing membership invoices and receiving payments is awkward, and it might make sense to move the membership invoicing tasks to the Treasurer and combine the Secretary and Executive Director to handle membership relations and recruiting and other duties.

    SS suggests investing some duties related to planning and coordinating Members’ Meetings could devolve onto the Secretary, so that his/her responsiblities go beyond taking minutes at meetings. Or, give the seal responsibilities to the Chair and let minute-taking responsibilities be passed around. LB pointed out that maintaining institutional memory is important and should be considered a dedicated task.

    There was also discussion about creating a Board-level SIG Coordinator position or adding that to the Vice Chair‘s responsibilities, and of combining the Vice Chair and Secretary duties. A possible realignment could be:

    • Chair
    • Executive Director/Membership development
    • Vice Chair/Secretary (maintenance of non-financial records, operation of Board and Council, administrative)
    • Treasurer (add in membership invoicing and receivables)
    • Council Chair
    • SIG Coordinator

    SS pointed out that a permanent SIG Coordinator position raises it to a more important role and acknowledges that it is vital task, rather than relying on volunteers. Similarly, DO felt that membership development has been spread out or delegated too much and that it is key source of income which has not been effectively developed.

    LR moved for four positions and to leave membership to Board appointments:

    • Chair
    • Vice Chair and Secretary (maintenance of non-financial records, operation of Board and Council, administrative)
    • Treasurer (add in membership invoicing and receivables)
    • Council Chair – program

    The motion failed.

    There was further discussion of a SIG Coordinator position: should it be a Board officer position? Could the SIG coordinating responsibilities be delegated? SS feels that she was a more effective SIG Coordinator as a Board member, and that these duties should be handled by a Board member and not lumped in with the Membership Secretary’s duties. LB sees it as not an officer position, but as either appointed to a Board member or taken on by an officer.

    DO moved for five positions:

    • Chair
    • Secretary (maintenance of non-financial records, focus on operation of Board and Council, administrative, taking over the Vice Chair duties)
    • Treasurer (add in membership invoicing and receivables)
    • Council Chair
    • Membership Secretary (recruitment and maintenance of membership)

    The motion passed.

  • The Treasurer and Council Chair are staffed and mid-term, but the Chair, Secretary, and Membership Secretary need to be appointed. There was discussion as to whether these positions should be drawn from outside the Board or volunteered from within. A nominating committee, composed of people who are not in the running, could approach people and solicit suggestions. Should the committee only focus on the Chair? Should the Board set criteria for the positions? What should the timeline be?

    DO moved for a nominating committee to handle all officer elections. This was accepted. It will be staffed by CW, LR, VL, and SW as disinterested parties. The committee will develop criteria and nominate members, and return with a list of candidates for the Board to review.

  • Nominating Committee:

    • Chair
    • 1 Board Member and 0 or more additional members: LB and Arianna Ciula

    Web: the Board will ask David Sewell

    2011 Conference and Members’ Meeting Program Committee:

    • Program Organizer/Committee Chair: LR
    • External Member(s) — LR will draw up a list, including a SIG Chair

    2012 Conference and Members’ Meeting Program Committee: deferred to after the January elections

    Board Representative to Council (Board or External): LR

    SIG Coordinator: add this to the Membership Secretary’s tasks and ask the SIG Chairs to nominate someone to be their representative on the Board and Council teleconferences. The motion passed, SB voting against, all else in favor.

  • The attendants at the luncheon discussed the SIG grant program. The SIG Conveners (Chairs) like offering grants twice a year. the SIG Conveners want to discuss with the Council the idea of meta-SIG groups that discuss TEI development, rather than working in isolation. They felt that the liaison’s (appointed by Council to work with individual SIGs on technical development and coordination) activity not helpful and want to improve the mechanism for interacting w/Council. They want better communication with the Board and Council. They would like to reinstate annual reports from the SIGs to the Board and Council that are published for the public. They would like to give a report at the annual Members’ Meeting Business meeting, or perhaps during the Welcome session. The program committee needs to add this in somewhere.

  • Given the changes, what budget process would we like to follow this November, keeping in mind that we are already committed to offering the SIG program on a regular basis with timely announcements?

    The Board has started new mechanism for budgeting in last few years. There are some basic costs that must be covered (auditors, Board meeting, etc.), but the rest of it is negotiable. Each activity has submitted request for funding and then Board discusses.

    The Board can ask the Treasurer to submit list of required costs and then everyone else submits requests. This needs to be done early on in calendar year.

    We are committed to offering SIG grants twice a year, and the first call will go up during budget negotiations.

    The Treasurer will prepare an analysis of income over the past few years.

    DO proposes that everyone submit budget requests by December 15, w/justification. This year, we won’t have requests from hosts, but institutions will need to justify and detail all activities, not enough to just be a host. In-kind contributions should be included in budget requests. The requests will be two parts: a spreadsheet listing costs and a budget narrative explaining costs.

    Known costs that the budget should cover are:

    • Council (chair): travel, editorial support
    • Board (chair): travel, Members’ Meeting costs ($5,200 has been set aside to subsidize costs in the past), other activities
    • SIG grants (SS)
    • Individual partner proposals for specific tasks (web support, etc.)

    The Treasurer will consolidate and summarize budget requests by January 1.

    • Grants will be given twice a year and need to be announced regularly. The announcements should give a rough scope of grant amounts and focus, and include information about previous grant recipients.

      SS will need to issue first call before 2011 budget is set, so she will assume that there will be roughly same amount available as before ($4,000, half of $8,000).

    • We want potential hosts to take on some risk, but not all. And proposed budgets should be low but not ridiculous. Individual countries have specific limits (on alcohol, food, etc.) that will affect what costs the organizers can cover. The call for bids will indicate that the Board will subsidize up to $5,200 in costs. This money is also contingency against disaster: if the conference has to be cancelled because of natural causes, political upheaval, etc., the Board will provide up to $5,200 to cover host costs.

      The call for bids should also say that fund-raising is expected and that TEI will take back earnings from registration and workshop fees.

    • As of right now, partners need to be div 0 members. There are several member institutions that are interested in becoming partners. We can have standing call for bids, since we don’t have host terms anymore.

      The new model will encourage different thinking about new financial arrangements, but we will need to see how the new system works out. In the future there may be a need to allow customization of requirements for partner application.

  • SS reported on the status of the TEI Journal. The are preparing the first issue. SS and CW encouraged submissions from papers given at this Members’ Meeting. The first issue should be out around March/April. Conference proceedings out in autumn. The linguistics SIG will produce a special issue in the spring. There will be two issues per year.

    SB brought up concern about the Secretary not being based in Virginia, for legal issues.

    SB also asked about SIGs seeking funding: SIGs are supposed to go through the Board to get permission before seeking outside funding? Answer is no, but it should be checked.