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Board Meeting

October 8-9, 2012

ACE Fall Board Meeting
October 8‐9, 2012
Roswell, Georgia

Present: Faith Peppers, president, Becky Koch, president‐elect, Joanne Littlefield, vice president, Elaine Edwards, past president and treasurer, Jennifer Alexander, marketing director, Jason Ellis, research director, Kevin Leigh Smith, marketing director‐elect, Emily Eubanks, professional development director, Traci Irani, research director‐elect, Rhonda Conlon, professional development director‐elect, and Holly Young, interim executive director. Tracey Nelson Ferwerda and SIG director Julie Douglas joined the meeting by Skype.  

Absent: Retiree director Marci Hilt.

(Please note: Attached at the end of this document is the Fall Board Meeting items referred to in these minutes. Please refer to the Fall Board meeting addendum as needed.) Faith Peppers opened the meeting at 8:30 am. Monday, Oct. 8, 2012, and welcomed everyone to Georgia for the fall board meeting. Minutes of the September 10, 2012 meeting as presented were unanimously approved, with a motion from Becky and second from Jason.    Interim Executive Director Report – (see addendum) Several questions centered on the new membership directory. Jennifer wanted to know if ACE members will be able to take themselves on and off SIGs as they wished, and Becky wondered if a member were to go into his/her profile, and change SIG affiliations, would there be an automatic notice sent to the executive director.   Rhonda and Holly will hold a phone conference with George Chronis after the fall board meeting to review with George the several suggestions the board provided on the membership directory. Rhonda also had some ideas on how to streamline and make the directory more efficient.

Financials – Holly & Elaine (see addendum) The board was provided an overview of the organization’s VanGuard funds. Holly still needs to transfer the $3,500 from the auction held in Annapolis to the Development Fund endowment. We are able to take money out and put money in as needed. Because we don’t take much money out, we haven’t had to pay capital gains taxes to date.  Elaine and Holly recommended the following on the ACE Annapolis conference funds: keep $5,000 with K‐State for next year’s conference, $2,000 to be placed in our money market account to bring it back up to the $20,000 level, with the remaining going into the ACE general fund. The final budget showed a profit of approximately $17,000. Becky moved we deposit $2,000 into the money market (workshop & loans) account, have K‐State retain $5,000 with the rest going into ACE’s general fund. With a second from Jason, it was unanimously approved.  

Final Report for 2012 Annapolis Meeting Elaine commended Joanne and Edwin Remsberg for a tremendous conference. Becky wondered if the awards took too long, and it was noted that this was the first year in several that ACE was able to showcase the OPS winners with individual videos. Elaine also suggested that the awards not run in conjunction with the business meeting.  A Review of the Issues in ACE’s Current Strategic Plan: Financial Stability In a review of the current and proposed budget for FY13, the board agreed that when it was working with Third Eye, we didn’t have good information as it related to our budget. We also didn’t have a complete view how many members we had.  Jennifer suggested adding a line for “other income.” The board also discussed how much longer it should fund a graduate student for the Journal of Applied Communications (JAC). Jason indicated that before we stop funding a grad student, the next step is to get the back issues on the website. Traci wondered if once all the backlog of issues is complete, do we need to get a sense of what it’s taking to format as it currently is done versus going to html. Jason noted there has been an increase in submissions. The board also agreed that the additional money the board spent last year on such upgrades as JAC and our website are investments in our organization. We need to look at revenue generation to help rebuild our organization.

Improve Professional Development

Emily Eubanks, ACE’s professional development  director, is on the program committee for the 2013 ACE conference. Elaine noted that a call to members who might be interested in joining an ACE committee had been sent by email twice, and she did have some names to forward to specific committee, and had already sent names to Emily. The professional development committee has been inactive for a long time.   The board has been trying to recruit new members for our committees; we can ask individually, and they may say yes, but then doing nothing. As Elaine noted, we don’t know who has a particular interest in committee work. A discussion of offering professional development not only at the annual conference took place.   Do we need to clarify terms of committees and when they start? Jennifer now has a staggered Development Fund Committee. Nothing is listed in the bylaws on when committee terms start, but it was Elaine and Holly’s understanding that they began immediately following the summer board meeting, but Faith thought it started the following January, although one could “sit in” on the calls prior to January. It needs to be further investigated. If we did a workshop at another conference, it could be a revenue generator, noted Rhonda. Faith noted professional development should be scattered throughout the year, and we need to think about these smaller workshops.   Elaine said that as we work on our Centennial celebration, there could perhaps be a tie‐in with professional development over the coming year.

Structure Change  

While this has basically been completed, Elaine still thinks we need some modifications, including a specific outline of who on the board is responsible for what change. Tracey indicated most of her questions centered on how to carry out her tasks as membership director. One question the board agreed on is that the membership director finds and appoints state representatives, something previously done by the regional directors. The board also needs to work on rebuilding the Membership Committee, which as Elaine noted, could be populated by state representatives. State representative training should also be done by the membership director, and Tracey plans on updating the state representative handbook, for posting on the ACE website.   Regarding the Pioneer award, nominations go to the ACE executive director, and the ACE board makes the final determinations for up to five award winners. When a question of who runs the membership campaign, the marketing or membership director, the board agreed the marketing director would work on promotional efforts to recruit, while the membership director would work on retention efforts and how to grow the membership with help from the marketing director.


Improved Communications

Joanne, Jennifer and Kevin have been working on regular communications to the membership, which includes improving what we have on the website. Members questioned how to move forward with regular communications, and wondered if the board should reconsider instituting something like our former newsletter, Signals.Jennifer and Kevin recruited information and set up the first broadcast email message, because nobody has time to set up something like a Signals. Kevin noted that one thing that could happen is a “push” email with the first couple of paragraphs, linking to the rest. Emily noted that she does push emails, and we can track “opens” from those who opened emails using something like Constant Contact.   Joanne felt we shouldn’t take our focus away from what we’re doing now. Her suggestion would be to first take a look at the analytics of our website. Joanne and Becky are working on a user guide for how to update the ACE website, and Joanne wondered where it would be placed on the ACE website. Joanne’s finishing it up, and is the gatekeeper for it now.   Becky noted that currently, members have access to the site, even if they haven’t paid their dues, and felt there are parts of the website which need to become password‐protected.    Jennifer wondered how often this document of “how‐tos” will be updated. Joanne noted it was based on what she, Becky and Holly felt needed to be “recorded” as a start, with how‐to’s added as needed. The “how‐to” information will be placed under the “about us, board of directors” area of our website. Elaine noted it should be linked to the SIG page.  Rhonda said the board needed to think about those member‐to‐member pieces of information, not just a top‐down effort, to better ensure good networking among members. It was recommended that member news be added above Latest News on the front page of our website, which is currently Job Opportunities.  Joanne reviewed what is currently on the front page of our website. Elaine suggested we put the ACE Twitter account up as well.   Is there a blog function built into Joomla? George says yes, it automatically goes into an RSS feed. How do we find it? We need to place the RSS icon on the front page. Regarding the forums currently listed on the website for SIGs, Becky motioned they be removed, which the board approved. As Rhonda noted, we don’t have the kind of number for them to work. The link will “go black,” so no one can go to the forums. Rhonda suggested a page of listservs posted to the website. It could be posted on the About Us, Contact and SIG pages. ACE does have a “Linked‐In” group with 49 members. It’s under Association for Communication Excellence. Promote and Explain ACE value Jennifer commented that ultimately, the marketing director would be a lot more involved in marketing and promoting ACE to outside potential members. We need to complete getting our house in order.  Rhonda asked that when the renewals start, will there be the capacity for the SIG leaders to welcome them? (We’ll need to check with George.) Could George do a monthly report so members could see new members once a month?   Elaine asked if there was anything ACE could do as an organization to promote JAC articles and research beyond our own “community.”  Could we use our social media to expand these types of information?  Figure out how to make sure there’s continuity of such items as our Linked‐In page. Ask that the

ownership of the page go to Holly. Kevin noted that ACE members are dropping off, and wondered if there was a more fertile area for us to focus on. Is there a way to build in membership dues into registration conferences? Elaine noted that for 25 years, she has paid her own membership, and if her university had paid that, she’s not sure she would have made the same investment. But Faith pointed out some just don’t have the money to do so. Rhonda noted some haven’t renewed because they don’t feel they’re getting what they should from ACE. Rhonda thinks we’re suffering both from the economic situation and organizational difficulties.   We’ve got to generate revenue and look at all possible options. It could an action item be to have one or two statements of value “pushed” to the members when we start up our membership renewal. Becky suggested we should have a plan that it comes from multiple places.   Traci also wondered if we needed to some type of membership survey to determine who finds value in ACE and find out what’s going on with those who don’t renew.   Kevin wondered about looking at offering a “discounted” price to get ACE members to return, like magazine subscriptions do? We really want you back, here’s what we’re doing, and here’s the one‐time offer of $75 (as an example) to get you back. Jason wondered if there is an easy way to craft emails congratulating administrators, similar to what we’re already doing with C&A. Faith noted another suggestion was a closer eye on SIGs to ensure they’re functioning correctly.   


Keeping Our Administrators Informed 

Faith also went on to discuss how we need to keep our administrators informed. How do we do more of that within our own institutions, or elsewhere? How do we get ACE up there so they see ACE as a resource? She talked about teaming up a member of ACE, like Suzanne Steel and Frankie Gould, who have already committed to do for such organizations as ECOP, etc.   How do we offer helpful information? That’s the key. Here is a listing of ACE members who’ve already agreed to be a liaison to the following organizations: BOAA Chair/AHS Chair ‐ Bruce McPheron – Ohio State; ACE Liaison ‐ Suzanne SteelECOP Chair ‐ Daryl Buchholz, Kansas State University; ACE Liaison - Elaine Edwards Chair-elect – Paul Coreil, LSU Ag Center; ACE Liaison - Frankie Gould ESCOP Chair - Lee Sommers, Colorado State; ACE Liaison - Joanne Littlefield Mike Hoffman, Cornell chair-elect  These are our first steps, Faith said. Faith also noted ACE leadership should take an advocacy role particularly in times of budget cuts. It should seek face‐to‐face interaction with staff of each land‐grant university communications and IT. Build a more functional model for operations Elaine said she thought Holly’s  been doing a great job.   Faith also commented that having the organization change to an executive director was one of the major recommendations from the Strategic Planning Committee, in order to treat members liked valued customers, and we’ve moved a long way back towards that.   Elaine asked if the board could remove the “interim” in front of Holly’s name. Faith told the board that while the officers were reviewing the ACE constitution and by‐laws, they discovered that the board has the authority to appoint the executive director. It doesn’t call for a search, but that the board can appoint a member, a life member or a retired member. Jennifer noted Holly’s current contract runs through June 30, 2013.   Becky said she thought it was very important to retain our current continuity and it was imperative to do so, especially since things are going so well and a transition now would set the organization back.   Elaine agreed, adding that the board needs someone in this position for longer than a year, and when an executive director plans to step down, the board needs some lead time.  Faith also noted that the board just signed a three‐year contract for its conference planner for continuity as well.   Becky motioned that the ACE board entered into a three‐year agreement with Holly Young, starting July 1, 2013, with a second from Joanne.    Elaine asked if there was any reason why we shouldn’t do this, and Jennifer said she hadn’t heard anything nor did she have any concerns. She did suggest the board continue its ongoing discussion with Holly on executive director priorities, as it was noted there were some things board members could do, allowing the executive director to work on larger topics. The motion was unanimously approved, and removed the word “interim” from the title, starting July 1, 2013.Faith said that while the board’s previous experience was painful, what has grown from that is an extremely transparent system, with a whole new system of checks and balances, along with a treasurer and bookkeeper, so there’s more than one person keeping an eye on the organization. We can account for our finances at any time it’s needed; who our real members are; having this new structure has allowed us to be far more accountable to our membership. I think we’ve turned that corner, and at a place where we can start climbing up. Joanne asked if the board should capture in some sort of document the transition from the University of Florida to Third Eye to our new organizational make‐up.   Faith agreed the board could summarize what has been accomplished in the past year, with a report back to the Strategic Planning Committee and organization, a Statement of Accountability back to the committee and an overview to the membership.  Holly and Faith will work on the message. Elaine wondered what the board needs to do to keep moving forward. Jennifer responded that if these were our recommendations from the SP, and each director, SIG, and committee has goals, we need to continue working on those recommendations, and in another year and step back and see what’s working and what’s not working. I think it’s good to check in at the fall and summer board meetings.


Review of By‐Laws

A question of having a proxy vote for a board member was discussed, but according to Robert’s Rules, there are cases when you can use a proxy and when you can’t, but it’s unclear when it can be used (on what types of votes,) and the board decided not to pursue it. Jason motioned to accept the bylaws as amended by the officers, with a second from Joanne. It was unanimously approved.   ACE Development Fund Policy Jennifer reported the Development Fund Committee received the development fund policy from Holly, which hadn’t been updated since 1999. While the committee continues to provide professional development grants and hold the auction, the committee felt the policy was outdated. Holly and Linda Gilmore provided a first draft revision and shared it with the committee, and then Jennifer forwarded it to the board with a recommendation it be added to the bylaws. Elaine’s understanding was that the policy focused solely on the Development Fund, and not the rest of the endowments, and asked the board to table the proposed changes to the Development fund policy, providing the committee an opportunity to review the current bylaws to ensure both mesh with one another.  

Committee Reports

Finance Committee: Already reported. 2013 annual meeting: Holly emailed the report from Debbie H. which noted we already have $17,000 in sponsorships. Faith noted the program committee has narrowed down the list of speakers, and ranked them.  Purdue is also investigating doing a joint night out at the raceway with NETC. They’ve reviewed some different options. We will have a joint conference, with one day dedicated to a higher level of training for NETC, and we’ll have our ACE‐intensive items.  

Centennial Committee: Joanne, co‐chair, said the committee has met several times, and Bob Furbee came up with a communications plan for the committee, looking at what needed to be accomplished and how to do it. They’ll add a box on the ACE website about the Centennial. When she was going through the archives, she found that ACE was often at the forefront of many technological advances. They hope to create posters that people could download from a PDF, and then at the Centennial gala, a giant poster with a timeline of what we accomplished over the past 100 years. Faith, Elaine and Holly are working on the gala. Kevin talked about the Indiana Roof Ballroom as a location. Joanne said the celebration will continue throughout the year with YouTube, professional skill awards and other items. Future Annual Meetings for 2014 and 2015 Three sites: San Diego, Portland, Oregon and Salt Lake City. Elaine motioned the board select Portland, Oregon, for the 2014 ACE only meeting, with a second from Emily and it was unanimously approved. The board will continue to review other options for 2015. The board recessed its meeting for the day at 4 pm. The board reconvened at 8:35 am on Oct. 10. Membership Report: Tracey reported she had about 75 percent of the state representative report complete.  Faith asked if it would be helpful for us to set up somewhere a blog document so state reps could just go in and post their information? Rhonda said they could use Google docs and upload their information into the folder; they can share them with the board. Tracey also wants to update the state rep book.  Tracey will send the board a list of states that don’t have a state rep yet before its December meeting. Faith and Tracey will look at who is currently on the Membership Committee so it can be completed.

Research/JAC Report: Jason said FastTrack was up and running the beginning of September. We updated and revised our copyright form – when articles are accepted, authors sign over the copyright to the journal. The primary focus of the graduate assistant is to help Dwayne get all the articles formatted and into the system; second responsibility is scanning all the back issues. One thing we’ve noticed, a lotof journals are set up that way with an assistant who helps relieve those day‐to‐day tasks, which allows the editor to focus on content, etc.

The JAC committee also is looking for material for a special issue celebrating 100 years of agricultural communication. The deadline was Sept. 1 for topic ideas; Feb. 1, 2013, items are due; it will be published June 1 in time for the ACE conference.  

SIG Report – Julie said she did get another report in from Craig Wood for electronic media, the listservs have been updated, and she thinks everyone has what they need at this point. She also sat in on the Diversity SIG phone conference, which is looking to transition leadership, and how they’re going to participate in ACE. They have a full slate of officers and are working amongst themselves on how they best fit into ACE.   Becky indicated a need to talk about incorporating Diversity items into other C&A SIG categories. Julie noted it was talked about last year, to be incorporated into this year’s categories. Julie doesn’t think it will be a surprise – we can talk about it at the next SIG leader calls. Julie noted the only SIG “floundering” would probably be the distance education and instructional education one. The international SIG has leadership, but didn’t submit a fall report. Traci noted there may be some members willing to take up the task with the distance ed and instructional design SIG.   Social Media has come together with a full slate of leadership. Moving forward with a lot of help of the vice chair and vice chair elect.  Becky, only one that doesn’t have a web page is social media. Rhonda said social media really doesn’t need one, but just to have web presence to list the chairs. C&A Diversity SIGs recommendations will be incorporated into other categories. Regarding online submissions: the Publishing SIG did a great job of outlining its needs. Becky will go through the list. The much we can get submitted online the better. Holly noted there needs to be some sort of “entry” item for the judge to review. Everything must have an entry form and the actual entry. Publishing SIG did agree to move to an judging form that shows 20 or 30 percent increments, rather than five or 10 percent increments. Becky would like to add a line to the registration form, that notes if this entry is online, please provide us with the URL. Joanne noted, however, there’s a problem with putting up items from other websites, because if it goes away, we don’t have it anymore. We need to ensure we have good digital records. Jennifer would first like to see a gallery of gold winners with a little blurb about your winning entry. Faith noted we have that in FastTrack. Holly will archive this year’s material just before Thanksgiving.Faith wondered if we could create a gallery of winners within our current website. Joanne noted the one she uses is easy, you upload all the jpgs, and it’s what the newspapers have been using. She’ll look and see where that might fit in, and would provide us with something a little more visual. The SIGs need to ensure judges break all ties and reconfirm they don’t have to give gold, silver, gold or OPS if there isn’t one that fits.


Discussion of costs for C&A:

A discussion revolved around member versus non‐member. Becky motioned to keep individual member entry fees at $35; raise non‐member individual to $100 and exclude the membership component; teams with half or more ACE members, $60; and teams with less than half Ace member,  $160. It was seconded by Emily and unanimously approved. Jennifer was in agreement with not raising the individual amount this year because there are still some bumps with FastTrack. Tracey noted that individual ACE members will feel good that their rate didn’t go up.  


Marketing/Development Fund: Jennifer reported the Development Fund Committee is revising a document. The board wants to know if we could make a drop‐down listing so members can make an additional donation to the Development Fund and/or the Centennial Fund. Holly will talk to George about how that could happen. Other priorities include the development fund grants, collaborating with the Centennial Committee, and Holly is the liaison between the two groups.   On the professional development fund grants, in years past, the committee has awarded up to three, $1,500 grants and they felt it was appropriate again this year. In addition, the Centennial committee may be interested in one specific to the Centennial, which will be added for this year only.

The Nominating Committee will report to us shortly.

Website update:  Becky noted we had accomplished about 90 percent of what was recommended by the web committee assigned at Annapolis. Joanne asked about an RSS feed, and when she worked with George on some updates, he noted one is created, but Rhonda noted there didn’t appear to be any way to subscribe to it. The videos are being updated. Joanne will add a box about the Centennial with different categories, and add a link to the 2013 annual conference.   Rhonda had some suggestions for the membership form leading into the profile. Rhonda and Holly will hold a conference call with George to discuss Rhonda’s membership directory questions, as we need to get that up and running.   The next ACE call is Dec. 3.  The meeting adjourned at noon.


Respectfully submitted,

Holly Young

Interim Executive Director  

Addendum Items


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