2012 COPAA Annual Meeting Minutes

March 28, 2012, Baltimore, Maryland

Prepared by Susan Hyatt, COPAA Co-Chair

The Consortium of Applied and Practicing Anthropology Programs (COPAA) held its annual business meeting during the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) annual conference held in Baltimore, MD, on March 28, 2012. The following representatives were present:

Susan Hyatt, IUPUI
Fran Rothstein, Montclair State
Jeanette Dickerson-Putman, IUPUI
Gina Gibau, IUPUI
Jeremy Spoon, Portland State
Elizabeth Briody, Cultural Keys
Laurie Price, CSU East Bay
Keri Brondo, U of Memphis
Linda Bennett, U of Memphis
David Colon-Cabrera, U of Maryland
Lisa Henry, UNT
Deb Murphy, American U
Sherry Briller, Wayne State

Order of Business

1. New Student Representative

Lisa called the meeting to order and provided an excellent array of snacks. Our new student representative, David Colon-Cabrera, introduced himself and talked about various projects in which he has been involved. He is in the last stage of his PhD comps; he will be beginning his doctoral research on HIV transmission and attitudes toward male circumcision in Prince George’s County, MD, the county with the highest rates of HIV in the country. He is also very active in student government at U of MD. David was nominated for this position by Judith Freidenberg. The student representative applications were reviewed by Nancy Romero-Daza and Susan Hyatt.

2. Treasurer’s Report

Gina Gibau and Jeanette Dickerson-Putman presented the Treasurer’s Report; the organization’s finances are in good shape though there is the mystery of the missing check for $2000. The check was written to U of Memphis for the Visiting Fellows program but there is no record that it was ever received and it was never cashed. Gina is on the case! The account is also being changed from National City Bank (which was taken over by PNC) to Chase Bank so that Lisa Henry will also be able to sign off on checks.

There was a discussion about getting member organizations to pay their dues; at the moment, about 14-16 member departments are regularly paying, out of 26. There was an agreement that sometimes, the annual letter and reminders for dues do not go to the correct person in the department so there will be an effort to renew our contacts with particular liaisons in the member departments, rather than sending the letters to the Chair or departmental administrators, who are often not familiar with COPAA.

3. Webmaster Report

Website is in excellent shape and getting lots of hits. Departments need to make sure their websites are kept up-to-date. The website is reviewed and updates take place in spring and fall.

4. Visiting Fellows Program

The VFP received only one application this year; fortunately it was an excellent one from the University of North Texas, which will use the funding to bring Mary Odell Butler to campus for a presentation. She and Sue Squires are also working on an on-line course on Evaluation Anthropology. Mary Odell Butler was brought to UNT last year by the university to give some workshops on evaluation anthropology. Mary Odell Butler is also working with UNT to develop an on-line, non-credit certificate on evaluation anthropology. The Visiting Fellows proposal was reviewed by Susan Hyatt, Keri Brondo and Elizabeth Briody.

Last year’s awardee for the VFP was the University of Memphis, which used the funds to bring Jean Schensul for a series of events in conjunction with the 35th Anniversary of the Applied Anthropology program at Memphis.

There was a discussion about how to build up interest in the VFP. Lisa Henry is now secretary for NAPA, and she is trying to forge more connections between practitioners and COPAA member departments.

We discussed the timing of the VFP application in February. Jeanette Dickerson-Putman proposed changing this date to May to allow for a session at the SfAA where departments who have received VFP funds give presentations on the program and show what kinds of activities this funding facilitates. There was a great deal of interest in this idea. At the SfAA, applications and perhaps even a brochure or flier about the program could be distributed to encourage interest. Applications would be due May 1st with notification on May 15th.

5. Open Positions

Nancy Romero-Daza will be rotating off as co-chair next year. In addition, we need a program chair to help plan and organize sessions for the SfAA and for the AAA. We will be seeking volunteers! This is a great opportunity for networking for an advanced graduate student or junior faculty member.

6. New Departments

Portland State has now joined COPAA; there was a discussion about other possible departments to approach including Bloomberg University, PA; Indiana University of Pennsylvania; and New Mexico State.


Keri Brondo is now the chair of COPAPIA. COPAPIA is an AAA interest group (Committee on Practicing, Applied and Public Interest Anthropology) and since its inception, it has been organizing sessions on tenure and promotion guidelines for applied work. There are new guidelines posted on the AAA Web site which got immediate approval and enthusiastic endorsement by the executive board of AAA. Before being submitted, the document was sent to several highly ranked administrators around the US for reviews and statements of support. Keri is working on developing an expert panel of folks who can volunteer for tenure and promotion reviews and to serve as external reviewers for applied departments.

Keri contacted all of the AAA sections for liaisons to this panel; out of 37 sections, 29 have already provided liaisons. Since archaeologists have a long tradition of contract work in CRM, they were immediately sympathetic. There is a concern that cultural anthropologists have been slower to develop new paradigms. Sherry Briller has been working with candidates helping them to put together effective dossiers.

8. By-laws

The new by-laws were unanimously approved!

9. Role of Three Co-Chairs

The co-chair positions rotate regularly and make decisions when there is no immediate business meeting. The terms are staggered so that everyone doesn’t rotate off at once. There was a decision that rather than sponsoring another international speaker, resources should be directed toward developing the VFP.

Convivial conversation continued, the snacks were spirited away, and the business meeting adjourned for another year.

Respectfully submitted,
Sue Hyatt