Thoughts from SHAFR President Mary Ann Heiss

Thoughts from SHAFR President
Mary Ann Heiss

It was great seeing so many of you in Arlington for our first fully in-person conference since 2019.  Thanks to Program Committee Chairs Jeannette Eileen Jones and Jason Parker, the members of the Program Committee, Conference Consultant Kaete O’Connell, Conference Assistant Sydney Snowden, and especially Executive Director Amy Sayward for working so hard to put together such an outstanding event.  I know I join many others in saying I’m already looking forward to Toronto.

Among the decisions Council made at its meeting the week before the conference were two that I wanted to explain in this personal message—or at least as personal as a presidential column in Passport can be.  Both are responses to the continuing financial challenges we face as an organization.

The first is to reauthorize a dues increase that Council originally approved in January 2020 and then promptly rescinded once the pandemic began.  SHAFR dues for regular members have been $60 for quite some time.  In addition to not keeping up with even modest levels of inflation, that figure is well below the annual dues for comparable specialized societies, such as the Society for Military History and the World History Association.  Beginning with the coming year (2024), dues for regular SHAFR members will be $90.  Council voted to continue our practice of reduced rates for students and contingent/retired faculty, so dues for those groups will therefore remain at $20 and $35, respectively (rates, by the way, that are much more generous than comparable organizations).

Second, Council also approved an increase in registration fees for the annual conference.  Early bird registration will now be $140 (an increase of $40), with rates for graduate students and contingent faculty remaining unchanged at $55.  Regular registration during the month before the conference will be $165.   Even with this increase, SHAFR’s annual conference remains much less expensive than those of other comparable organizations.

I would also like to call members’ attention to the impending conclusion of Amy Sayward’s tenure as SHAFR Executive Director.  Amy will wrap up ten years of service to SHAFR in this crucial position on 31 July 2025.  To allow for a true transition period, we intend to have her successor named by next June.  David Anderson is chairing a search committee consisting of other Past SHAFR Presidents Mary Dudziak, Kristin Hoganson, Tom Schwartz, and Mark Stoler.  A full job posting can be found elsewhere in this issue of Passport.  Amy is happy to field inquiries about the position, institutional support, etc. at [email protected]

While I have your attention, I wanted to pass on date information for our next two conferences so that you can plan:

  • 13-15 June 2024, University of Toronto
  • 26-28 June 2025, Arlington Renaissance Capital View

Finally, I’d like to close with an appeal to indicate your interest in serving on one of SHAFR’s more than two dozen committees by completing the short form available at  Interested volunteers are also invited to contact me directly at [email protected]


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