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HSS 2008: GECC Minutes

HSS GECC Meeting November 2008

Meeting began with an introduction and welcome by Jacqueline Wernimont. Introductions of council members Jacqueline Wernimont (Brown University) and Dawn Digrius (Clemson), Co-Chairs; Lynnette Regouby (University of Wisconsin) council member for communications; Taika Dahlbom, council member for data collection; and Suzanne Fischer (University of Minnesota), alternate council member

Review of last year’s accomplishments by Jacqueline Wernimont and Dawn Digrius

Jacque discussed the work of the GECC with the HSS Executive Council to define the status of the caucus within the HSS structure. She announced that as of the annual meeting the Executive Council had approved a formal system for petition to establish a caucus within HSS and the details of this system are to be communicated to the Co-Chairs in the near future. Jacque discussed that over the next year the GECC Council will be working to complete this application process and that GECC expects to be able to announce at the next meeting our official status within HSS.

Jacque also discussed the work of the GECC with Roger Turner to sponsor the roundtable session on scholarly publication. This panel was very well attended (65+people) and initial feedback indicated that the panel was useful.

Lynnette Regouby discussed the status of our communication tools, including the blog, our member listserv, and the facebook group. She indicated that some people had some questions about listserv membership and that people should contact her again if they have not been receiving messages. She encouraged everyone who had not done so to sign up for the listserv and to utilize the networking and informational tools available on the blog. She brought up the issue of roommate networking, which thus far has not been very popular.

Dawn discussed the establishment of a new mentorship pilot program launched by the HSS Executive Council, the Women’s Caucus, and the GECC. She detailed the initial time frame of the program (2 weeks) and our initial work connecting mentor volunteers with volunteer mentees. Members brought up that mentor identification needed to be managed better since name tags were very difficult to read and mentors were hard to spot at social gatherings. Members asked if more fully developed mentorship relationships would also be a part of the program (in addition to conference guidance and general friendliness). Dawn and Jacque indicated that this was under consideration

Discussion of the status of the GECC and budget by Jacqueline Wernimont

The GECC is not yet an officially recognized caucus and consequently does not have a budget. We hope to have an official status by next November but will likely continue to be a volunteer service group.

Election of 2009/2010 Officers

Jacque and Dawn offered a brief synopsis of the structure of the GECC and the process for election of officers. Included in this was a discussion of the voting process (nomination and second), of the requirement that co-chairs serve one year in another role within the GECC, and of the quarterly level of work. Also discussed are the new ex-officio roles of the co-chairs after they step down, for Dawn this will include sitting on the Committee on Research and the Profession and for Jacque this will include working as the liaison to the Women’s Caucus. Jacque nominated Lynnette Regouby for the position of co-chair, the nomination was seconded and Lynnette accepted the 2 year position. Dawn nominated Suzanne Fischer for co-chair and the nomination was seconded. Suzanne indicated that she will not be able to accept that position. Dawn and Jacque agreed to have one current co-chair to remain on for one additional year, the person to be determined after the meeting (Jacque will be staying on as co-chair). Taika Dahlbom will remain in her position for an additional year. Giny Cheong self-nominated for the committee member for communications, the nomination was seconded and put in effect. Gina Rumore was nominated for the alternate committee position, nomination was seconded and put into effect.

Proposals for next year’s GECC panels

An extensive discussion was held regarding panels that members would like to see for next year’s conference in Phoenix. The Council proposed a panel on careers available to scholars with degrees or interest in the history of science. Members suggested topics such as the practical elements of the job search, a workshop on materials such as cover letters, a workshop on grant writing, a workshop on preparing, presenting, and assessing first conference papers. Significant discussion was held on the need to offer panels that speak to all of the constituents of the GECC, including early faculty, advanced graduate students, and graduate students in the early stages of their program. The discussion was deferred to the listserv in consideration of time and in order to gather suggestions from members who could not make the meeting.

A discussion on the need for the GECC to establish special interest groups (SIGS) included members’ comments that many SIGS already exist outside of the group. It was resolved that rather than develop GECC specific SIGS, the GECC would work to retrieve information on these SIGS and their meetings and to pass this information on via the listserv and blog. One member suggested that perhaps the mentorship program should integrate interests and fields in order to connect people with scholars in their areas of interest.

A discussion on the need for HSS to continue to reach out to international members, HSS members who had not yet joined, and to undergraduates included an observation by one member that we all are able to pass the GECC blog url on using local listservs and other communication tools.

Members and the committee had an extensive conversation about the social networking during our open discussion. Members commented that the trip to the Church Brewery was very successful and that people enjoyed that. They also commented that the prices at the HSS co-sponsored Graduate Party were prohibitive and that the space was not amenable to socializing. Jane Maienschein (President of HSS and at University of Arizona) commented that there were legal issues with offering subsidized alcohol given the NSF funding that HSS receives. One member commented that at a previous meeting a keg was provided and that that seemed successful. Jane indicated that such a provision by HSS would not be possible. Members largely concurred that a hospitality room and a trip to a venue where people could purchase beverages and food at reasonable prices should be a goal for future meetings.

Members also brought up travel grants and there was some confusion about the requirements attached to the NSF travel grants. GECC committee agreed to get the correct information up on our blog.

The discussion was closed to make time for the announcement by Hydra founder John Stewart (University of Oklahoma)

Drawing was held to select the winners of the free registration. Julie Grissom (University of Oklahoma) and Cornelia Lambert (University of Oklahoma) won rebates of their registration costs for the 2008 conference.

Meeting was adjourned.

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