2006 COPAA Annual Meeting Minutes

March 30, 2006, Vancouver, Canada

Prepared by Kerry Feldman, Secretary, COPAA


  • Allen Batteau (Wayne State University)
  • Linda Bennett (University of Memphis)
  • Kerry Feldman (University of Alaska, Anchorage)
  • Wolf Gumerman (Northern Arizona University)
  • Rhoda Halperin (Montclair State University)
  • Diane Hanson (University of Alaska, Anchorage)
  • Lisa Henry (University of North Texas)
  • David Himmelgreen (University of South Florida)
  • Susan Hyatt (IUPUI)
  • Sunil Khanna (Oregon State University)
  • Satish Kedia (University of Memphis)
  • Kathryn Kozaitis (Georgia State University)
  • Nancy Romero-Daza (University of South Florida)
  • Christina Wasson (University of North Texas)
  • Linda Whiteford (University of South Florida)


  1. Introductory remarks.
  2. New member departments proposed.
  3. International member departments?
  4. Treasury report.
  5. SfAA 2006 COPAA sponsored sessions report.
  6. AAA 2006 COPAA session.
  7. COPAA and the 2007 SfAA Tampa meetings.
  8. COPAA website report.
  9. Yahoo group.
  10. New initiatives.

The meeting began at 10:05 a.m. with an introduction of COPAA officers (Kerry Feldman, Secretary; Christina Wasson, Webmaster; Sunil Khanna, Virtual Community Moderator; and Co-Treasurers Gina Sanchez Gibau and Jeanette Dickerson-Putman who were unable to attend this year).

1. Introductory Remarks by COPAA Chair Linda Bennett.

Linda reviewed the past year’s activity and accomplishments. There have been positive responses to the new website. Members preferred the scheduling of the COPAA meeting within rather than prior to the meetings of the Society for Applied Anthropology. Currently there are 22 departmental members, representing a significant growth from the original nine departments that formed COPAA.

2. New member departments proposed.

Linda proposed that we invite two new departmental members to join COPAA: San Jose State University and the University of Texas at San Antonio. San Jose State University begins its applied anthropology program in fall 2006; the University of Texas at San Antonio wishes to interact with COPAA departmental members. Linda Whiteford moved to accept both departments; the motion was unanimously approved.Chair note: These departments have been notified about their membership in COPAA and invited to submit copy for the website listing of departmental members by the end of May.

3. International member departments?

The question was raised whether we wish to add international department members; suggestions included programs in Canada, Australia and Mexico. It was agreed that COPAA would seek more information regarding potential COPAA members internationally. Follow-up necessary.

4. Treasurer’s Report.

There is a healthy balance of funds in the treasury. As of March 28, 2006, there was a balance of $5,297.41. New costs include the luncheon for up to 30 departmental representatives at the Hyatt Hotel during these meetings. The luncheons will allow extended conversations among department members. It was agreed that COPAA would host such luncheons at the international meetings of the SfAA (every four years). One purpose of these luncheons would be to celebrate the accomplishments of COPAA during the previous four years. Note from chair: if funds are available in future years, she would like SOPAA to host this luncheon when it is affordable. The lunch turned out to be a good opportunity for more informal follow-up discussions.

5. SfAA 2006 COPAA Sponsored Sessions Report.

Linda Bennett reported on the COPAA-sponsored session held the previous day at the SfAA meetings that focused on “Tenure and Promotion in Applied Anthropology: Preparation for and Documentation of Scholarship,” (organized by Liz Bird and Linda Bennett) and the session scheduled for the next day entitled “Allies on the Front: Perspectives from our Community Partners” organized by Judith Freidenberg, Peg Graham, Susan Hyatt, and Karen Quintiliani. A lively discussion had occurred at the Tenure and Promotion Session with those in attendance (22-25) for whom this issue was of major importance. Attendees agreed that there is a clear need for a collective approach to identifying tenure and promotion guidelines for applied anthropological research.

  • Two proposals were discussed and agreed on after Linda’s Report on the Tenure and Promotion session.
    • Seek publication of the seven papers presented by panelists during the session devoted to tenure and promotion documentation. Three panelists from the session (Sunil Khana, Sheri Briller, and Nancy Romero-Daza) volunteered to gather written summaries of the presentations, edit and seek publication of the session. There was a discussion as to where these papers be published. Perhaps in Human Organization; perhaps placed on the H.O. website. There was agreement that it would be better to have the collection appear in a peer-reviewed publication. Chair Note: There has been movement on this project since the meetings between the three co-editors and Linda Bennett.
    • Create a document on “Guidelines for Tenure and Promotion Review of Applied Anthropologists” that could be used by academic review committees and administrators (and applied anthropology faculty) for tenure and promotion reviews. Where would we publish these Guidelines? It was suggested that Human Organization would be an appropriate venue, or we could ask NAPA if they would publish it as a small Bulletin. It was agreed that a subcommittee be formed to work on the task of creating a document regarding “Guidelines for Tenure and Promotion in Applied Anthropology.”The subcommittee would have three years to complete its work, which would require extensive review and input from applied anthropologists, deans and provosts. The subcommittee should query deans and provosts regarding problems that occur regarding how applied anthropologists document their productivity. It was noted that university administrators today often ask new faculty to identify their proposed career trajectory. It is at this initial time in one’s applied career in academia that applied anthropologists should obtain sign-off by or additional clarity from administrators regarding how applied work will be valued, documented and evaluated for tenure and promotion review. Chair Note: Action required on this proposal in the upcoming year.

6. AAA 2006 COPAA Session

A COPAA organizing session was submitted for the meetings of the American Anthropological Association in San Jose, fall, 2006 sponsored by NAPA. Linda Bennett, Linda Whiteford, Christina Wasson and Kerry Feldman would discuss where we’ve come as an organization and where we should be going. It’s entitled COPAA: Accomplishments and Future Directions, an open forum. Chair Note: All COPAA representatives of member departments are encouraged to take part in this session.

7. COPAA and the 2007 SfAA Tampa Meetings.

The SfAA annual meetings will be held in Tampa, Florida March 27 – April 1, 2007. Nancy Romero-Daza, David Himmelgreen, and Michael Angrosino (U. of South Florida) will be the program organizers. If COPAA wishes to be a co-sponsor of the SfAA meetings, we need to propose five sessions. Sessions discussed were:

  • (1) a session which would continue our panel discussion session regarding documentation of scholarship in tenure and promotion portfolios; Chair Note: Follow up required.
  • (2) a session for faculty and students on how to interact effectively with Institutional Review Boards within and outside of academia (hospitals, etc.) regarding applied or other research project proposals, including discussion of ethical dilemmas and the research process; IRB representatives should be invited to this session from universities and agencies with IRB groups; Susan Hyatt and Nancy Romero-Daza will co-lead this session; it would be helpful if we produced a Guideline for IRB interactions for applied researchers; we would need to make sure that the invited IRB representatives are “protected” from hostile comments from audience members; the focus of the session would be on particular kinds of problems applied researchers need to be aware of, the IRB process and possible solutions to identified problems; Chair Note: Follow up required.
  • (3) a session regarding how to promote applied anthropology programs and courses at universities and colleges; posting syllabi on the COPAA website from applied anthropology professors would be useful in this regard; the session should revisit what John Van Willigen initiated regarding the training needed by applied anthropologists; invite respected and well-known applied and practicing anthropologists to participate in this session; Satish Kedia of the University of Memphis will head the development of this session and will contact John Van Willigen to discuss how we might proceed on this session; our goal should be to have at least one-third of our COPAA department members present for the discussion; Chair Note: Follow up required.
  • (4) a session featuring public and private corporation representatives (e.g. Sprint) and practicing anthropologists who currently are employed by them to discuss their needs for practicing and anthropologists, and the kind of work they need performed; ask Bob Trotter to chair this session. Chair Note: Follow up required.

8. COPAA Website Report.

Christina Wasson gave a report on the updated COPAA website and how it was constructed. Those in attendance agreed it was a stunning and a very useful website. There were 18 recommendations for the website which COPAA prioritized last year based on user feedback. The new website “went live” on October 21, 2006. The website will have updates three times a year, as per our agreement with the contractor for the website, at a cost of $100 per year. May 30, 2006 is the next update deadline.

  • A. A question not answered yet is whether there should be book reviews provided on the website; it was thought to be a good suggestion but it is not clear how we could do this. Christina provided a handout of website recommendations. Chair note: Future discussion of new additions to the website, including the possibility of book reviews.
  • B. A discussion occurred regarding what we could include on the website about career paths for applied anthropologists. At some universities, new faculty are required to submit their perceived career path and have it approved by their dean (the kind of research do they intend to pursue, etc.). It was noted that Northern Arizona University (NAU) has a new DVD prepared that identifies specializations in applied anthropology and how people engage in them (it features NAU alumni and how they engage in applied work). We could include “chunks” of the DVD, perhaps, on the COPAA website. The American Anthropological Association will also distribute the DVD. Also, we should ask NAPA if they would like some key gray literature posted on our website. Chair Note: We should pick up on this discussion at the annual meeting in 2007 and possibly talk about it at the AAA session in San Jose.

9. Yahoo Group.

Sunil Khanna noted that new information can be sent to him for posting on the copaa-members@yahoogroups.com. Here is the information on the copaa website regarding our yahoo group for copaa members:

Faculty in COPAA member programs may join the Yahoo Group “copaa-members.” If you would like to join, ask Sunil Khanna to subscribe you by sending a message toskhanna@oregonstate.edu. The Yahoo Group includes an email list and an archive of documents. Members of the group can post messages to the email list at copaa-members@yahoogroups.com. They can view the archive and other information athttp://groups.yahoo.com/group/copaa-members.

10. New Initiatives.

  • A. Online applied archaeology programs and courses. Northern Arizona University is beginning to offer an online MA program in applied archaeology. University of North Texas begins its only MA program in applied anthropology in fall, 2006. Christina Wasson (with Bob Trotter at NAU) suggested that a page be added to the COPAA website that annually lists online courses in applied anthropology of any COPAA departmental member. It was noted that we need to determine if both undergraduate and graduate online courses should be included. Linda Bennett suggested that the University of North Texas (UNT) and Northern Arizona University (NAU) begin the exchange, then report in one year to COPAA on the successes and problems encountered. Members agreed to this plan.
    In the discussion about online courses and programs, a question about the quality of applied anthropology coursework was raised. Can there be a quality substitute for face-to-face interactions between faculty and students in applied anthropology training? It was noted that many departments would be opposed to online applied instruction. However, it was noted that at NAU some Native American students are willing to interact much more with other students and faculty via online courses/discussion compared to being willing to comment in a class. It was noted that NAU serves tribal people and also some federal agency employees who need/want the MA degree but cannot attend on campus classes regularly.
  • B. Exchanges among faculty from COPAA member departments?
    Could we consider “exchange” possibilities among faculty at COPAA department members, perhaps identifying a distinguished lecturer for the year (could even be from another country). This could replace our previously discussed “faculty exchange” idea. Chair Note: This would be a good item for someone from COPAA to take the leadership in this coming year.
  • C. Advisory Board of Practitioners for COPAA.
    We need to move forward on this proposal. First, though, we need to determine the specific tasks are to be performed by the Advisory Board. Chair Note: With the assistance of our officers, I will pull together a committee to address this over the coming year.
  • D. Internships and practica.
    Linda Bennett raised the issue of how to better train students for internships. She noted that there is an organization in Memphis called United Housing, Inc. that assists people in obtaining housing. They work closely with Neighborhood Networks in training programs. The executive director of United Housing is an anthropologists. Perhaps COPAA might work with United Housing and the Neighborhood Network as a training source for students in at COPAA departments. There was not time to more fully discuss this issue. Chair Note: We will return to this prospect in the 2007 meeting with greater detail.

The meeting adjourned at noon and those who were free to do so attended the COPAA sponsored luncheon to become better acquainted and to celebrate our accomplishments this past four years.

Submitted May 19, 2006 for approval