4S Council Meeting, 14 June 2016

4S President Lucy Suchman called the meeting to order at 8 AM US EST.

Council Members and Officers in attendance: PaigeMiller, Claire Waterton, Daniel Breslau, Abby Kinchy, Tania Pérez Bustos, Sara Wylie, Wes Shrum, Gwen Ottinger, Shobita Parthasarathy, Oscar Javier Maldonado Castañeda joined the meeting at 8:30 am.  Sulfikar Amir joined the meeting at 9 am.

Suchman asked Council members for additions to the agenda.

Gwen Ottinger asked that we review 4S annual meeting program practices at a future Council meeting.  Specifically, there are questions about how decisions are made and rejections communicated for individual papers, open tracks and closed sessions.

Treasurer’s report: Paige Miller indicated that there have been no significant changes since the March Council meeting.  Miller added that meeting revenue and expenses are difficult to project.  The budget projections shared with Council members are based on expenses and revenue from the Copenhagen meeting.  Overall, Miller anticipates that we’ll end the year within the steady state budget range recommended by Council.

Minutes from March 2016 Council Meeting: Claire Waterton moved to approve.  Tania Pérez-Bustos seconded.  No further comments.  Minutes were approved.

Development of a Statement of Purpose: Claire Waterton and Gary Downey revised the draft statement of purpose based upon Council comments from the spring meeting.  Several edits were recommended and are now included in the current draft.  These involve developing an inclusive but clear picture of STS and the activity of the society.  The next step is to send the edited version to Council members for approval.  This version will then be posted on the 4S website for comments from the membership.

6S Report: Shobita Parthasarathy discussed organizational activity within 6S.  6S now largely consists of elected representatives, but does not have a specific organizational form.  This issue will be brought up at a future 6S meeting.  Parthasarathy outlined the 6S election process and planned student and 6S events at Barcelona.   Parthasarathy also suggested that 6S representatives be included at all future Council meetings in addition to the annual meeting.  Suchman agreed with this recommendation.

Publications Report: Gwen Ottinger discussed the editorship of ST&HV.  Current editor Edward Hackett has expressed interest in a second term.  The Publications Committee will follow standard procedure and consider whether to reappoint Hackett without opening the process to other applicants.  Some discussion ensued about the quality of the journal and the benefits of maintaining continuity.

Ottinger reported that the Handbook is proceeding to its final phases.  Publication is anticipated for December 2016.  The Committee is now working on sales and promotion.  Individual electronic chapters will be made available by MIT Press for e-purchase.  Ottinger acknowledged that sale of individual chapters does generate the risk that they will proliferate freely on the net, but the judgment was made that access to chapters would increase overall distribution.  The cost of the entire volume is likely to be around US$75.  MIT Press advised the society that we would not lose money by making individual chapters available for purchase.  Publicity events will be organized at the Barcelona meeting and subsequent activity, potentially using 6S members to review sections (providing free copies to reviewers).  [Subsequent clarification was received from MIT that e-copies of the full volume will be available for purchase, but individuals will not be able to download individual chapters from their home institutions.]

Web Resources: Abby Kinchy and Oscar Maldonado led the discussion.  Maldonado proposed that 4S become involved with the Open Syllabus Project as a mechanism for improving the distribution of teaching resources to the membership.  Suchman asked about the benefits and costs of this proposal, noting the benefits of syllabi as one of the resources offered through the 4S website.  Suchman suggested that we first initiate a campaign to revise the current syllabi collection on the website and then approach the Open Syllabus Project, to clarify the relationship between our distribution and theirs.  Further discussion ensued about what would be most beneficial to the membership, with Council members recommending a suite of activity.   Discussion on how to move forward will be continued at a future meeting.

Nominations Committee: The list of nominees for Council has been finalized.  Committee members will begin contacting people.  Suchman is working on the presidential slate.  The election will be held in July this year.  Suchman raised the issue of increasing Council size to accommodate the higher workload.  Increasing its size would involve a Constitutional change and will be taken up at a future meeting.

Travel Grants Committee: Oscar Maldonado reported that the committee received 92 applications and awarded 53 travel grants.

Future Meetings: Suchman asked Council members for recommendations for the program chair at the Boston meeting and advice on other networks we should involve.  Wes Shrum indicated that we have an agreement in principle with Sydney for the 2018 meetings, but do not yet have a contract.  Shrum also noted some problems in Barcelona at arranging rooms for the Council meeting and editorial board meetings & luncheons, but was confident that space will be found.

Contract negotiations with Sage for ST&HV: Contract negotiations between the Publications Committee, journal editors, and Sage are moving forward.

Bernal and Edge Prize Committees: Both committees need to be formed.  Suchman would like to connect these committees more closely with Council members.  For Bernal, Suchman recommended a membership consisting of the President, President-elect, a past winner, and two members of Council.  Suchman also suggested including a student member and tapping past as well as current Council members.  Some discussion ensued about student inclusion.  Questions were raised about whether student reps are currently over-burdened, and the importance of only pulling advanced students into this capacity.  One Council member suggested that we bring in 6S representatives in an advisory capacity, or invite students to nominate individuals for the prize.  Some of the benefits of involving student members on the committee were also articulated.  Sulfikar Amir suggested that we add the winner of the Mullins Prize to the Bernal Committee, which would involve a younger scholar in committee proceedings.

Suchman indicated that she is looking for a Council member to add to the Edge Prize Committee.


The Making & Doing feature of the program will be brought back at the 2017 Boston meeting.

Support for Catalyst journal: Suchman clarified that if 4S makes a donation, we will receive an affiliation with the journal and a mention on the mast-head.  Suchman proposed that the society support the editorship at $2000 a year for a period of two years.  Suchman motioned for passage of the proposal.  Bustos seconded.  The motion passed.

EASST/4S Conference Organization: Suchman mentioned that some concern has been expressed about the rejection of proposals and open sessions.  This issue will need to be dealt with in the future given the size of the annual meeting.  Suchman added that the organizers are working very hard to accommodate as many papers and sessions as possible within existing venue space.  Questions were raised about whether the author meets critics session should be in a regular session and or in larger rooms at lunch time session.  This issue was briefly discussed and Suchman will contact organizers to request larger rooms with the anticipated high attendance.  Suchman also indicated that plenaries and prize ceremonies are currently being planned out.

Suchman proposed that, following a suggestion from Barbara Andrews, 4S establish a David Hakken Memorial Fund to support conference expenses for individuals with limited funding.  Efforts will be made to put this in effect in time for the Boston meeting.