2009 COPAA Annual Meeting Minutes

March 27, 2009, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Prepared by Kerry D. Feldman, COPAA Secretary

The Consortium of Applied and Practicing Anthropology Programs (COPAA) held its annual business meeting during the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) conference in Memphis, March 27, 2008 from noon until 1:30 pm. Twenty departmental representatives attended from 16 academic departments. Also present was 1 practitioner (member of the practitioner advisory committee) and the featured COPAA lecturer from Denmark, Dr. Sue Wright. (22 total participants).

Departmental representatives included:

Walter Vannette (Northern Arizona U)
Sunil Khanna (Oregon State U)
Nancy Romero-Daza (U South Florida)
Elizabeth Bird (U South Florida)
Karen Quintiliani (CSU-Long Beach)
Sue Hyatt (Indiana U-Purdue U @ Indianapolis)
Sue Wright (Danish School of Education, Arhus U)
Sherylyn Briller (Wayne St. U)
Lisa Henry (U North Texas)
Christina Wasson (U North Texas)
Bob Rotenberg (DePaul U)
Katherine Metzo (UNC-Charlotte)
Gina Sanchez Gibau (Indiana U-Purdue U @ Indianapolis)
Rhoda Halperin (Montclair State)
Chuck Darrah (San Jose St.)
Art Murphy (UNC-Greensboro)
Kathryn A. Kozaitis (Georgia St. U)
T. J. Ferguson (Practitioner)
Linda Whiteford (U South Florida)
Judith Friedenberg (U Maryland)
Linda Bennett (U Memphis)
Kerry Feldman (UA Anchorage)

Order of Business

Welcome by Linda Bennett, COPAA Chair and introductions by participants


1. Report from COPAA Chair, Linda Bennett

Linda briefly summarized the 2008 COPAA sponsored sessions including the well-received presentation by COPAA’s first distinguished lecturer from abroad, Sue Wright, of the Department of Educational Anthropology, Danish School of Education, University of Århus, Denmark.

As recommended in 2008, COPAA sessions at the 2009 SfAA meetings were scaled back somewhat year to two panel sessions:

(1) Best Practices in Developing and Assessing an MA Program in Applied Anthropology organized by Robert Rotenberg. Panelists include Karen Quintiliani, Lisa Henry, and George Gumerman, IV.

(2) The Engaged University: What does it Mean for Applied Anthropology? organized by Linda Bennett and Linda Whiteford. Panelists include Noel Chrisman, Susan Greenbaum, Stan Hyland, Kathryn Kozaitis, Paul Shackel, Kendall Thu, and Miguel Vasquez.

Dr. Carmac Sheehan, Research Fellow, NUI, Galway, Irish Centre for Social Gerontology has contacted COPAA requesting perspectives on establishing an applied anthropology education program at the bachelor’s level. He is doing this jointly with Mark Maguire, Department of Anthropology, NUI, Maynooth, Ireland. Their program would be funded by the European Union, and would follow an apprenticeship model. Linda already recommended that they contact Indiana University—Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) for information about their program.

Discussion regarding the SfAA meetings next year at Merida, Mexico focused on the possibility of developing the distinguished lecture series further. Although we might want to offer the lecture every three years, there was support for identifying a distinguished lecturer from the region or country where the meetings are being held. This would provide a good opportunity to acknowledge the work of local scholars/practitioners, too. Perhaps COPAA could sponsor a reception for Practitioners at the Merida meetings, and invite the University in Merida (Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán) to become a member of COPAA.

The COSWA Practitioner Survey has been published on the AAA website. Keri Brondo is the lead investigator and first author of the report.

2. Report from 2009 Program Chair, Lisa Henry

There are two panel discussion sessions sponsored by COPAA at this meeting: “The Engaged University” organized by Linda Bennett and Linda Whiteford and “Best Practices in Assessing MA Programs in Applied Anthropology” organized by Robert Rotenberg.

Linda Bennett explained that the brief discussions on the Engaged University panel by seven panelists would be available as a Podcast on the COPAA website. Perhaps next year we will have full papers presented on the topic of engagement by applied anthropologists. A discussion followed regarding how to best publish these papers as a special issue on Engagement: in Human Organizations (HO) or American Anthropologist (AA). It was pointed out that HO is not publishing special issues. Is AA open to special issues? What about contacting the School for Anthropological Research Press (SAR Press)? These papers would show the relevancy of applied anthropology to the higher education interests in the US for engagement in current public issues, but also how our work contributes, and has done so historically, to the intellectual and philosophical related to engagement. These papers would also have the goal of counteracting the current stratification in anthropology regarding basic and applied research. This is a false stratification; basic and applied research should both be mainstream academic activities in the social sciences.

3. Treasurer’s Report, co-treasurer, Gina Sanchez Gibau

Linda Bennett gave the treasurer’s report in the absence of Gina at these meetings. There is about $6,700 in the COPAA account, with about $1,000 being spent on the Visiting Fellows Program this year. A request was made to approve COPAA as a co-sponsor with CoPAPIA at the Employers Expo reception at the AAA meetings this fall (ca. $500), as we did last year. Approved.

The question was raised regarding how to nudge member departments to pay their annual dues, notice of which is received in September of each year. As she did last year (September 2008), Linda Bennett will write a letter to each departmental representative this coming September which will include a summary of COPAA activities along with a gentle reminder to pay the $100 dues. Most departments are paying their dues.

COPAA has sufficient funds to meet its expenses this coming year, including updating our website, contributing to the December reception, and covering the costs of the Visiting Fellows Program.

4. Report from Webmaster, Christina Wasson

The COPAA website is updated twice a year. It now has an enhanced student section. It was suggested that we notify student organizations about the COPAA website.
Sue Wright’s Distinguished Lecture is available on podcast vis the COPAA website:

The written text can be found at:


5. Report on LATISS publication, Kerry Feldman

The issue of Learning and Teaching in the Social Sciences (LATISS) is almost ready for publication, which will include three papers from a COPAA sponsored session at the SfAA meeting in Memphis, 2008. LATISS is a journal co-edited by Sue Wright, the COPAA distinguished international lecturer at the Memphis meetings. Three session papers have been accepted for publication, August 2009. Lisa Henry and Kerry Feldman organized the session and, as co-editors of this issue, have been working with the session participants regarding the publication of their revised papers. They will write an introduction for the volume. Authors include Marie Amelia Viteri and Aaron Tobler of American University; Kevin Avruch of George Mason University and Marcela Vásquez-León, Brian Burke and Lucero Radonic of the University of Arizona. Viteri, Tobler, Burke and Radonic are graduate students in anthropology (Viteri has since completed her doctoral degree). The title of the special issue is: Transformation of Graduate Education in Applied Anthropology in the U.S.: Learning and Teaching Policy Studies.

6. Report on COPAA Visiting Fellows Program, Lisa Henry

The first COPAA Visiting Fellows Program award was received by the Department of Anthropology at the University of South Florida (USF). USF will receive $1,000 to support the USF proposal that brings J. Schensul and Diane Austin to their campus, fall 2009, to assist in revitalizing their Center for Applied Anthropology. This COPAA program solicits applications from member departments to enhance partnerships between them and practicing anthropologists. Next year, COPAA will increase the award amount available per year to $2,000, to cover travel, lodging and provide a modest honorarium for two practicing anthropology partnerships to work with departments receiving the award in the future. Three new members are needed to serve on the committee reviewing applications (two year membership cycle). Nancy Romero-Daza and Kathryn A. Kozaitis volunteered during the business meeting; we are still looking for 1 additional committee member. The committee will review and revise program wording, based on the experience gained from this inaugural year’s activity.

7. Report on Tenure and Promotion Project, Nancy Romero-Daza

For the past five years, COPAA has sponsored panel discussions at SfAA meetings regarding tenure and promotion issues for academic applied anthropologists. A ten page summary of these discussions is available and is posted on the COPAA website (http://www.copaa.info/resources_for_programs/Tenure%20and%20

It was recommended that faculty be told to insert the above website link in their tenure and promotion files so that review committee members at their colleges and universities can be informed about evaluating applied/engaged research.

8. Special Initiative 2009: MA Alumni Survey (AAA CoPAPIA Committee), Shirley Fiske, Terry Redding, and Linda Bennett

The Committee on Practicing, Applied and Public Interest Anthropology (CoPAPIA) of the American Anthropological Association, chaired by Linda Bennett, is currently engaged in an online survey (designed by Terry Redding and a subcommittee of Shirley Fiske, Chair, Linda, and Patricia Ensworth) of graduates of MA programs in anthropology to learn what they are doing and have done professionally after completing their degrees. The survey will also solicit feedback from MA graduates regarding their education and training for their careers. Shirley Fiske and Terry Redding requested advice and assistance from COPAA regarding their CoPAPIA project. A related issue is how to engage anthropology MA alumni nationally. The survey is not only intended for applied cultural anthropologists in academic or practitioner work, but also for those engaged in cultural resource management, applied biological anthropology, applied linguistic anthropology, etc.

9. No new Business

The meeting ended at 3pm.