2004 COPAA Annual Meeting Minutes

March 30, 2004, Department of Anthropology University of North Texas

Kerry D. Feldman, Secretary


  • Judith Freidenberg, University of Maryland, College Park
  • Peg Graham, Santa Clara University (new member department)
  • Lisa Henry, University of North Texas
  • Christina Wasson, University of North Texas
  • Tim Finan, University of Arizona, BARA
  • Ken Brook, Montclair State University
  • Karen Quintiliani, California State University, Long Beach
  • Linda Bennett, University of Memphis (Chair)
  • Kerry Feldman, University of Alaska Anchorage (Secretary)

The meeting occurred from 2:00 p.m. – 5:07 p.m., March 30.


  1. Minutes
  2. Agenda
  3. Review of COPAA activities during the past year
  4. Treasurer’s Report
  5. Plans for future meetings
  6. New Business: Major Items
  7. COPAA Website
  8. Inviting new departments to join COPAA
  9. Tenure and Promotion & External Review Project
  10. Professional Exchanges Report from AAA meeting session
  11. Old Business
  12. New Business

Afternoon session

Items In Order of Discussion

1. Minutes

The minutes of the 2003 meeting were posted online earlier and were approved as the first item of business. In the future, Linda Bennett will send copies of the minutes toCOPAA representatives prior to posting them on the website.

Top of the page

2. The agenda for the 2004 meeting that was proposed by Chair Bennett was accepted as proposed.

  1. Approval of agenda and 2003 minutes
  2. Overview of activities this past year
  3. Treasurer’s report and discussion
  4. Meeting plan for the future
  5. Major items for discussion:
    1. Practitioner Advisory Board
    2. Web site and internship/practica bulletin
    3. SfAAAAA Commission on Applied/Practicing Anthropology table andCOPAA’s relationship to the Commission
    4. Tenure and promotion and external review project: SfAA 2003, 2004 reports
    5. Professional exchanges; report from AAA meeting session
    6. Other old or new business

Top of the page

3. Review of COPAA activities during the past year

  1. Expanded COPAA website, but it needs more work. There needs to be an active bulletin board.
  2. Santa Clara University accepted the invitation to join COPAA.
  3. The COPAA treasury is in good shape. The dues fund the maintenance of theCOPAA website.
  4. Two sessions at the fall 2003 meeting of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) were organized by COPAA
    1. Open Forum regarding faculty exchange for applied and practicing anthropologists.
    2. A workshop regarding the incorporation of applied anthropology into the curriculum. The attendees of this workshop were one undergraduate student and the five COPAA panelists. The $60 fee for the workshop was probably too expensive for the perceived benefit by AAA members. Linda Bennett noted that in the future such activities should be organized as a conference session, not a workshop requiring payment of a fee to attend.
  5. A panel discussion was organized for this year’s meeting of the SfAA; the panel focused on ‘Structural Trends in Anthropology Departments: Expansion and Contraction.’ Panel members from the following universities attended: University of South Florida, University of Georgia, Iowa State University, Mississippi State University, University of Memphis, University of Maryland, University, and University of Kentucky. The panel will address the issue of the impact on the structures of applied anthropology programs resulting from financial pressures on higher education in the U.S. (It was pointed out during the COPAA meeting that there are currently two potential new PhD applied anthropology programs being considered in the U.S.; one at Oregon State University and the other at the University of Maryland).
  6. The Joint AAA/SfAA Commission on Practicing and Applied Anthropology, proposed by former AAA President Louise Lamphere, met twice.
    1. This Commission ends in 2005, at the meeting of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) in San Francisco.
    2. There will be a Presidential Session at the AAA meetings in 2005, “Transformational Anthropology: an AAA/SfAA Road Map.” This Commission has a website portal, managed by the National Association for Practicing Anthropologists (NAPA) and SfAA Linda Bennett will write a report on the accomplishments of the Commission and send it to COPAA members. The Commission has opened up discussion between SfAA and AAA, focusing on education and training in applied and practicing anthropology
    3. Tim Finan recommended that the “Road Map” presentation at the AAAmeetings be consultative. Linda Bennett agreed; she intends to contact COPAAmembers for information regarding collaborations locally, nationally and internationally.
      Tim explained, further, that we should take advantage of the ‘shift’ in attitude by AAA towards applied and practicing anthropology by presenting a set of ‘white papers’ or ‘concept papers’ regarding where we think anthropology should be headed. These papers would ideally identify where current and future anthropology employment opportunities will be found. Tim felt we had been neglectful of ‘the vision thing’ in that we rarely record our accomplishments in terms of employment success of our students. It should be common knowledge how successful our students are in finding employment, even internationally. There is, in fact, a strong market for applied anthropologists and we need to tell that story. Karen Quintiliana agreed; our students become discouraged when applied anthropology is not well-known and they try to use that expertise in applying for positions.
      Ken Brook recommended that there should be an applied anthropologist on the American Association for Higher Education (AAEE). Not one of the 18 volumes published by the AAEE was written by an anthropologist. Our vision for universities should be known, including the place of the engaged campus in higher education and the importance of promoting faculty involved in it. Faculty should be able to be evaluated for process-based scholarship, not only for producing products (e.g. journal articles etc.).

Top of the page

4. Treasurer’s Report

  1. $3,934.41 is on hand.
  2. Our only expense this year so far is for the COPAA website.

Top of the page

5. Plans for future meetings

  1. Members find it difficult to attend a meeting this early in the week, given their campus responsibilities. Linda Bennett proposed that we schedule the next meeting on Wednesday, the initial day of the SfAA meetings, from 9:00 am to noon. Approved.
  2. However, we would hold a meeting on a departmental campus every 3rd year. Approved.
  3. At the 2005 meetings of SfAA in Santa Fe, we should ask for a meeting room at the School of American Research, or at a museum.

Top of the page

6. New Business: Major Items

  1. COPAA Board of Practitioner Advisors. A discussion was held regarding the qualifications and duties of this Board. In addition, a discussion was held regarding Practitioner Advisors for individual departments in COPAA.
  2. It was proposed and Approved that COPAA will organize a panel discussion for the 2005 SfAA meetings regarding “Department-Practitioner Partnerships.” Judith Freidenberg, Karen Quintiliani and Peg Graham will organize this panel.
    minor points

    1. All COPAA member departments will be asked to identify a partner/practitioner who might attend the above meetings. From that list, the panel organizers select panelists.
    2. The selected panelists will be asked to provide suggestions regarding what the duties of the COPAA Board of Practitioners would be.
    3. The panelists would also be invited to attend the Wednesday morning meeting of COPAA prior to the beginning of the 2005 SfAA meetings in Santa Fe.
    4. Panel organizers would provide the panelists with items to think about prior to attending the meeting or the panel discussion.
    5. We should request a panel discussion session from 9:00 a.m. to noon, with a working lunch to follow headed by Linda Bennett and Tim Finan (COPAA will pay for the lunch of the practitioners). At lunch, the topic of the panel discussion can be continued and/or expanded.
    6. A Certificate will be given to practitioners who participate in the panel discussion.
  3. Ken Brook will examine where we might have a presence at a regional or national meeting of the AAHE.

Top of the page

7. COPAA Website

  1. We can hire a graduate student to keep the website up to date.
  2. Rather than developing a Bulletin Board with a separate Monitor at this time, we agreed to using a list serve would be more appropriate and cost effective.
  3. Regarding the NAPA website, students only wanted information regarding local internships. Internship information does not need a moderator.
  4. The COPAA website should contain information beyond COPAA. It should have material of interest to Practitioners.
  5. Christina Wasson worked on the NAPA website, and volunteered to assist on the COPAA site. Christina cautioned against duplicating information contained on the SfAA site; our unique niche is “training programs.” Christina volunteered to find students to work on the COPAA website for pay; she would contact department student clubs of COPAA members.
  6. Christina Wasson and Lisa Henry will work with Paul Shackel of the University of Maryland on the website.
  7. There are four user groups of the COPAA website:
    1. faculty in COPAA departments,
    2. students in COPAA departments,
    3. students not in COPAA departments, and
    4. departments considering developing an applied anthropology program.

Top of the page

8. Inviting new departments to join COPAA

  1. Michigan State University has a Master’s level applied anthropology program; California State University at Riverside has an applied Environmental Anthropology program; and Case Western Reserve has a Master’s program in Medical Anthropology.
  2. Linda Bennett will contact the above departments.

Top of the page

9. Tenure and Promotion & External Review Project

  1. Linda Bennett will organize another session on tenure and promotion at the 2005 SfAA meetings in Sante Fe.
  2. A discussion was held regarding the difficulty of getting tenure and promotion committees at universities to value the kind of process work applied anthropologists engage in. It was thought that we needed a document that sums up what is occurring at universities regarding tenure and promotion criteria for applied or engaged learning work.

Top of the page

10. Professional Exchanges Report from AAA meeting session

  1. Background. A few years ago, COPAA thought it would be a good idea to have faculty exchanges among member departments. Two years ago, at meetings of the American Anthropological Association, Practitioners said it would be good to have Practitioner exchanges, not just faculty exchanges, at universities. However, what are the incentives for Practitioners to visit our campuses for a few weeks, and what incentives are there for their employers to allow them to do this? The same problem occurs regarding faculty exchanges: incentives for universities. Linda Bennett recommended that this topic be part of the panel discussion at the Sante Fe meetings in 2005.
  2. It was noted that the Southern California Applied Network (SCAN) is already doing this. Most of their members would not want to travel further in the U.S. for any exchanges.
  3. Kerry Feldman suggested that departments ask for funds for guest lecturers in applied anthropology from Centers for Engaged Learning at campuses ofCOPAA members.

Top of the page

11. Old Business

It was suggested that the Robert Harman report regarding skills sought by employers of graduates of applied anthropology programs etc. be put on the website of his university with a link to COPAA (and vice versa).

Top of the page

12. New Business


Respectfully submitted by

Kerry D. Feldman, Secretary, COPAA

(today’s date: June 6, 2004)