President's Report – Stephen Weatherford (2012)
Dear PEP Colleagues,
With APSA’s cancellation of the New Orleans convention, we missed our annual opportunity to meet last Saturday. Much of our business can be carried over until next year, but the Steering Committee has acted on several matters that could not be deferred. This note summarizes those decisions, and registers the transition to a new administration.
The high point of our business meeting is, of course, to recognize the outstanding achievements of this year’s award winners. I have attached a list, including both the award winners and the members of the award committees. I want to thank the committee members for their diligent and thoughtful evaluation of the nominated papers and books, and to congratulate the winners. Our incoming President, Lyn Ragsdale, assures me that PEP will celebrate their work at next year’s meeting.
The Section is in good shape fiscally (thanks to Steve Schier, who mastered both the green-eyeshades at the Bank of America and APSA’s new accounting procedures), physically (membership has increased slowly but steadily over the last year, from 315 to 354), and on the web (thanks to Jose Villalobos, who designed the new banner and has managed communications with aplomb).
The changing of the guard brings a host of new colleagues to prominence:
- President: Lyn Ragsdale
- Vice President: Steve Schier
- Secretary-Treasurer: B. Dan Wood
- Newsletter Editorial Team: Justin Vaughn and John Hudak
- Program Chair for the 2013 convention: Kathryn Dunn Tenpas
- New members of the Steering Committee:
- MaryAnne Borrelli
- Jose Villalobos
- Thomas Langston
- Brendan Doherty
Finally, I want to thank a number of people whose help has been invaluable to me over the last year as PEP President. These include Mel Laracey, who has brought us a usefully-informative and well-designed PEP Report – no easy task when it involves both cajoling potential contributors and actually mastering the technology to produce the publication; and Dan Ponder, our Program Chair for 2012, whose genius for orchestrating fair trade-offs and arranging coherent panels can be seen in the line-up for the New Orleans convention but will have to be appreciated in abstract. The members of the PEP Steering Committee (listed at http://community.apsanet.org/pep/AboutPEP/SteeringCommittee/ ) weighed in with good advice on several questions throughout the year, and cheerfully stepped up to serve on committees when needed. Mary Stuckey, last year’s President, has continued to share her knowledge of PEP’s institutional history, and to be a reliable and patient source of advice well after her term ended. Presiding over an organization is never a unitary job, and I am especially appreciative of the help of three colleagues – Lyn Ragsdale, Steve Schier, and Jose Villalobos – who have been exemplary at sharing the governance of the section. From advice on putting together committees early on, to dealing with hotels and hurricanes over the last couple of weeks, Lyn, Steve, and Jose have brought insightful ideas, bureaucratic savvy, and solid good sense.
My thanks to all, and best wishes for the new academic year.
President's Report - Mary Stuckey (2011)
PEP President 2011-2012
First, I want to thank all of you for the honor of serving the division. And I’d like to thank the officers and the Steering Committee for their hard work. I’d especially like to thank José Villalobos, our newly appointed Web Czar, who has done yeoman’s work this year on the web site and working with APSA Connect. Our division is in the forefront of the association’s tech development, and this is entirely due to his hard work.
We also spent this year working on initiatives aimed at bolstering our membership and on revising the bylaws. There are other possibilities for future discussion and action that came up as well.
I. WEB INITIATIVES: José D. Villalobos, our PRG "Web Czar", has helped to create, develop, and maintain the new PRG APSA Connect website over the past year. Specifically, he has put together our new homepage with the following toolboxes: "Description," "Discussion Postings," "Useful Links," "Announcements," "Upcoming Events" and "Latest Shared Files." The homepage also includes the "Home," "Members," and "Admin" tabs for updates. The "Members" tab is routinely updated to include all PRG member APSA Connect pages (each APSA member's own homepage is linked here according to their membership status). The "Admin" tab provides two data graphs on membership changes: (1) join/leave in previous 30 days and (2) Members by member type (teaching and learning conference, presidency (individual scholars), and unspecified. The "Latest Shared Files" toolbox includes the five most recent shared files as well as a "More" tab that links users to a separate page with all other files. This additional page is very important because it includes all the PRG newsletters dating back to 1979. Currently there are 58 of these newsletter files that José has uploaded to the new website. The homepage also includes a welcome note and four links to webpages (recreated from the old site) with information about PRG, which include the following: "Welcome to PRG," "About PRG," "PRG Syllabi" (still under construction), and "PRG Bylaws." Please refer to our website for the most recent updates at: http://community.apsanet.org/APSANET/APSANET/Directory/CommunityDetails/Default.aspx?CommunityKey=9a0bc11f-630f-43c2-a7ee-73c48f9f1c5e (must log-in to APSA).
II. MEMBERSHIP: The key question is: what can this division do for members? Without value added for the cost of membership, it seems unlikely that we will maintain our current levels of membership. We had several potential answers to that question:
1. Name change: Changing our name to better reflect the activities of the division has been proposed in the past, and critical mass seems to have been reached. Jeff Cohen strongly advocated such a change during his tenure as PRG President, and the steering committee took it up this year. Email discussion over PRGNEWS revealed a very quick consensus on Presidents and Executive Politics as the preferred alternative to Presidential Research Group. This make this, I think, our first divisional “pep talk.” And as Lyn has pointed out, our reception is probably better referred to as a “pep rally,” which would make all you people the “pep squad.”
2. Reaching out to the teaching side of the division: It seemed natural to reach out to people who may not be scholars of the presidency per se, but who devote some of their time to teaching it. So we’re working on this from four angles.
a. Jose Villalobos has been investigating ways that we can incorporate teaching into the web site (a syllabus bank, perhaps a dedicated discussion board, maybe a box where we can post information about award-winning teachers and or/ teaching ideas).
b. Mary Anne Borelli is affiliated with the APSA Teaching Section and got in touch with them to develop ideas about how we can reach out to those who teach the presidency. That didn’t seem to get us very far but may be worth pursuing in other forms.
c. Several people suggested that we include panels on teaching—perhaps at the regionals. Wayne Steger, for instance, has thought that we might be able to do an off-site teaching panel at the Midwest. So I encourage our members to think about proposing panels at the regionals—and to use the regionals as a way to connect to the national division (see below).
d. The Newsletter may be the best place to include teaching; our Newsletter Editor, Mel Laracey, has agreed to add a section on teaching to the newsletter, and Justin Vaughn has graciously volunteered to spearhead the work of coordinating that column. So if you have great ideas for teaching, things that have worked for you, please be in contact with Justin.
3. Reaching out to the regionals: Many people who are members of regional organizations aren’t necessarily also members of the national one. Jose is investigating the possibility of including “About the Regionals” on our web page, so that we can better reflect the national scope of what we do, and perhaps entice some people to the national division.
4. Reaching out to members of other organizations: In December, APSA and IPSA sent out letters to section heads of both organizations asking us to create and develop stronger ties to one another. Because this dovetailed so nicely with our outreach goals, I emailed John Higley, the head of IPSA’s Comparative Elites division. We have agreed to include links to one another on our websites; we considered collaborating on the short course “Studying Comparative Elites” (the timing is hard for them because of their conference), and we are working on finding other ways to cooperate. Anyone with ideas about how we might collaborate in the future should be in contact with Stephen Weatherford.
5. Wayne Steger and Bert Rockman worked very hard to put together the short course on comparative executives, and along with Michael Mezey, also served as moderators for the three sessions. My thanks to them for their hard work.
III. BYLAWS: Thanks to Jeff Peake, Mary Anne Borelli, and Wayne Steger for their work on bylaws. APSA is encouraging all divisions to revisit bylaws and again, we’re in the lead on this. There are a few major changes we’ll be voting on at the 2011 business meeting (see bylaws handout).
III. FUTURE INITIATIVES: Several people proposed good ideas that we didn’t have time to pursue this year, but which I include here so that the steering committee and membership can decide if they want to pursue them in the future:
1. an on-line journal sponsored by the section;
2. outreach to historians, public administrators, public officials;
3. ads in White House Studies, PSQ, C&P?
4. sponsorship of an executive-related boutique conference?
PEP President 2010-2011