2021 December Executive Board Meeting Action Items

The Executive Board met on December 5, 2021, and took the following actions:

  • Approved the Consent Agenda as presented in the 2021 Fall Board Book.
  • Approved the spring executive board meeting minutes.
  • Approved the September emergency executive board meeting minutes.
  • Approved all service and prize committee appointments.
  • Approved the creation of a graduate student committee.
  • Approved posting the documentation presented by the Committee on Academic Freedom to the OAH website.

Future of the Past Webinars

We are pleased to announce the debut of the new “Future of the Past” webinar series. These webinars engage with the long-standing but currently urgent debate over contested meanings of history. Each webinar brings together historians who explore the multiple narratives of the country’s long struggle to enact a more perfect union and thereby facilitate a deeper understanding of the contested meanings of U.S. history and the origins of American democracy in all their complexity. Two webinars have already taken place—the “Role of the Electoral College in American Society” and the “Assault on Democracy from Historical Perspectives: The January 6 Insurrection One Year Later.” Future webinars will address topics such as the legacies of indigenous displacement, economic inequality and labor’s resurgence, and disability histories. 

The series is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and is open to all. Recordings of past webinars are available at https://www.oah.org/programs/webinars/future-of-the-past/.

Introducing the New Graduate Student Committee

We are pleased to announce the creation of the new Graduate Student Committee (GSC). The committee grew out of the graduate student caucus meeting held during the 2021 Virtual Conference last April where more than 40 students gathered to share their concerns and thoughts on how the OAH could better serve them. The committee has been tasked with working with existing committees of the OAH to better engage the graduate student community, to co-sponsor relevant panels and workshops at the annual conference, and to help plan virtual sessions throughout the year. The GSC will regularly survey graduate student members as well as sponsor additional graduate student caucus meetings to continue to listen for new ideas for programming as well as new ways to facilitate the active membership of graduate students. Graduate students are the future of our profession and our organization and their active participation in the OAH serves to both introduce the organization to new ideas and scholarship, while also serving as an entryway to membership. 

The members of the new committee include Gavin Frome, Chair; Julia Brown-Bernstein; Andrew Gerstenberger; Daniel Gorman; Pablo Pantoja; Siobhan Quinn; Brigid Wallace; and Alan Wierdak.

Fund the Future, Support the Past

During his presidential address at the 2019 Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, Earl Lewis announced a generous donation to the OAH endowment fund and issued a challenge to membership—if members could raise $500,000 in five years, he would donate an additional $50,000. We are halfway to our goal, but we still need your help. 

So why is an endowment important? As revenue models for professional organizations come under pressure, income from an endowment’s investment returns can help to support everyday operating expenses. And in moments of dire emergency the OAH may need to turn to our endowment for help. The OAH was fortunate to have received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and to take part in the Payment Protection Program during, which enabled us to avoid drawing on our endowment. But the turmoil caused by COVID has highlighted the need for a strong financial reserve. Right now, the OAH has about $500,000 in its reserves and endowment fund. Nonprofit experts advise that an organization’s endowment should equal twice its annual budget, suggesting that the OAH should have $6 million in endowment. To secure the stability and the future of our organization, we urgently need to build those funds. To that end, we’ve done a bit of math: If our members gave $50, we would meet Earl Lewis’s challenge goal. If everyone donated $100, we could push the endowment over the $1 million mark.

Make a donation or pledge here – https://secure.oah.org/pledge

2022 Election Underway

The OAH Election closes at 11:59pm EST on January 31. Help shape the future of the organization by casting your vote. Log in to the Member Portal (https://secure.oah.org) to review this year’s candidate biographies—candidates are selected by the OAH Nominating Board per the OAH Constitution—and to vote. Biographies of candidates can also be viewed at https://www.oah.org/ elections/.

 As outlined in Article V of the OAH Constitution (https://www.oah.org/about/governance/constitution/#article5), nominating and executive board candidates who receive the highest number of votes serve a three-year term in office. Election results are reported at the annual business meeting each spring. 

The ballot is available in the Member Portal. You will need your OAH username and password to cast your vote.

The American Historian Introduces A New Teaching Resource 

Each month TAH editors create and post a new or updated list of teaching resources on the website. Resources are drawn from The American Historian, the OAH Magazine of History, the Journal of American History, Process, Intervals, Talking History, Teaching the JAH, and JAH Podcasts. November’s list featured Native history resources, December’s list featured labor history, and January’s list featured legal history. Visit the resource list here.