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2nd Meeting of the Executive Committee (Prague, Czech Republic, 2-3 March 2005)

Appendix 1: Participants in Brno Research
Appendix 2: Motion concerning financial arrangements
Appendix 3: Preliminary financial report for the fiscal year 2004/2005

Executive Committee of the CEACS/AECEC

Second meeting

Prague,Czech Republic

2-3 March  2005

A. Afternoon session, 2 March (1.00-5.00 p.m.)


Don Sparling (President, /DS/)

Ana Olos (Vice-President /AO/)

Janos Kenyeres (Treasurer, /JK)

Vesna Lopicic (Secretary, /VL/)

Katalin Kurtosi (CE Journal of Canadian Studies, /KK/)

1. Opening

The meeting opened at1.00 p.m., immediately upon the arrival of all members of the Executive Committee.

2. Adoption of agenda

The agenda was adopted as proposed (with the exception of financial matters being put at the end of the agenda), having been earlier sent by e-mail to all members of the EC.

3. Approval of report

The report on the 1stmeeting of the CEACS Executive Committee held in Szeged,Hungary, 6-7 October 2004, was prepared by the Secretary, and sent by e-mail to all members of EC by the end of October 2004. Since there were no comments, it was approved as submitted. The report can be found on the CEACS website.

4.CE Canadian Studies Secretariat in Brno

DS reported on the work of the CE Canadian Secretariat in Brno since the meeting in Szegedin October, saying there were three main areas of activities:

  • Distribution of information. Though Petr Vurm has been inCanadadoing research since the fall, he continues to be responsible for the webpage (including the new design) and for sending out information on the CEACS listserve. He will be back from Canada by the end of March.
  • Organizational activities. These include in particular the work connected with FRP and FEP grants, doctoral student grants, the grant for student assistance at the ICCS biennial conference, research stays by students in Brno, and the current meetings inPrague.

5. Publications

5.1 Krakow conference

The Proceedingsof the 3rd International Conference of Central European Canadianists held in Krakow. DS explained that the conference organizers (Polish Canadianists at Jagiellonian University) are making the final selection of papers. Some problems have arisen with a few articles, in that the reports are diametrically different; Anna Reczynska has asked us to find additional readers for these. The same format will be used as for the Proceedingsof the previous international conferences (a gray cover with a maple leaf design): the names of both associations (the Polish Association for Canadian Studies and CEACS) will appear on the cover, since it was a joint event. Anna Reczynska and DS will each write an Introduction. It will be printed where the cheapest printer can be found.

5.2  CE Journal of Canadian Studies

5.2.1  Vol. 4

KK said she felt there should be a long discussion about the journal, touching on several points. She began by explaining the difficulties that had been encountered with Vol 4 of the Journal. In particular, she was worried by the quality of some submissions; she felt that some individuals believed that we would publish anything, and had not prepared their submissions carefully enough. As a result, the level of articles submitted was extremely uneven. KK said she would ask the country representatives to point out to their members the possibility of publishing in the Journal, but at the same time reminding them that this is a refereed academic journal with a standard to meet, and not an “in house” organ. The EC members supported this view. KK continued by saying that various people in the region are known for their ability to write high-level academic articles and she felt they should be encouraged to submit them. This would be another way to ensure quality. Again, there was agreement. DS suggested that one reason for the problem with enough high-quality articles for volume 4 might be that so many CE Canadianists had been at the Conference in Krakow, and so had submitted their papers for publication in the conference Proceedings. As this was a situation that would recur, we might consider in future publishing the Journal not annually, but for two years in a row, and then in the third year publish a Proceedings with papers from the triennial conference. Concerning the need to ensure quality submissions, KK pointed out that the editor-in-chief of the International Journal for Canadian Studies visits the main CS events to listen to papers and encourage submissions; perhaps this could be done in the case of the CE Journal. DS pointed out that to a certain extent this is already happening, since the Executive Committee (which includes the CE Journaleditor-in-chief) tries to meet in conjunction with local and regional conferences and seminars.

KK then pointed out some problems related to reviewing the articles. For one thing, not all readers responded as they had promised, which meant new people had to be found to do the job. JK suggested post-graduate students could read them. KK rejected the suggestion, saying that she felt it was not right for post-graduate students to be judging submissions from established academics. What KK does is to send all articles to country representatives, who distribute them to readers. Each article gets a “blind review” by four readers. JK suggested there might be “pre-readers”: pre-reading would spare the readers from the effort of reading low-quality papers. KK felt that this wasn’t a real problem – i.e. there were not so many articles that each reader had to go through. The whole situation was complicated by the fact that, when the reviews do come in, they sometimes express quite opposite views, and there is the dilemma who to trust. In that case, she can ask one or more additional readers to express their view. This is a laborious process, but in the end seems to work. In the final stage, she asks some of the authors of papers to submit revised versions, based on readers’ comments; when they arrive back, it is up to her to say Yes or No.  KK felt the process could in some cases be speeded up if the editorial board could get together and discuss individual papers in order to make a final selection. The board of theInternational Journal of CS, for example, meets for this purpose. This was done with the first issue of the CE Journal and could be done again – there are only four people in the editorial board, and a relatively inexpensive meeting would be no problem to arrange.

VL made the suggestion that readers should be paid for the job. DS pointed out the ethical problem: if one is committed to this enterprise, one should not be paid for it. There is also a simple practical problem - each reader reads only one or two papers, and finding some mechanism for paying them would be a nightmare.

A few additional difficulties were also discussed. In some cases the topics were also a problem: several were from the political sciences, history etc., and it was hard to find qualified reviewers. KK explained that when there is an article from one of these areas, she feels incompetent and uncomfortable about commenting on it. The difficulties are compounded, as AO pointed out, by the fact that in general there are very few professors of Canadian Studies in our part of the world, and most of the older ones are in fields such as literature and linguistics; this means they have some problems in understanding fully the articles outside these areas.  But she stressed the importance of attracting scholars from other fields.  KK also pointed out that the submission deadline that been chosen – 1 June – was unfortunate: it is too late, since summer intervenes and it is only by Christmas that the process of review, revisions, etc. can be finished.

At the end of the discussion, DS asked for some statistics on the submissions: KK reported that out of 15 papers submitted, 5 were rejected and 3 were immediately accepted, while 7 were sent back for revision. In addition, two articles that arrived very early for the 2005 issue have been included instead in this issue. DS felt that the figures for acceptances, rejections and revisions are well within standard parameters, and show that the editorial board is taking its job seriously. With regard to the worries about quality for this issue, he noted that there is always a time of crisis in any enterprise; this is a natural part of development. In any case, the articles as finally revised, plus the additional articles solicited, will produce a very respectable issue.

Finally, DS summed up what had been decided on.  Every third year there should be a pause in publishing theCE Journal; the submission deadline should be earlier, with papers sent to the readers earlier; where it was felt this would be useful, there should be a meeting of the editorial board to decide on the final content; the editor-in-chief and other members of the board should be encouraged to visit conferences to encourage the submission of good material; everyone should do more to help in the promotion and distribution of the journal.

5.2.2  Vol. 5

DS gave information regarding Volume 5 of the CE Journal for CS. The first call for papers went out in January. A reminder will go out in March. KK suggested that other types of articles should be included, for example reports on work in progress, interesting topics, theses, essay-type papers, country events; she felt variety should be our strong point. DS agreed to include information to this effect in the reminder to be sent out in March.

5.3 Proceedings of graduate seminars

DS informed the EC members that in November the material from the Barcelona seminar (held in October 2003) had been received inBrno. However, Petr Vurm was in Canada, and in any case after reading the material DS decided some additional editing would have to be done. This publication will be available for distribution at the next seminar.

KK reported that the proceedings from the 13thseminar in Szeged (October 2004) is being prepared, and the material will be sent toBrno; this volume too should be ready for the next seminar. Out of 25 participants, 17 handed in their papers and two of these were refused outright. Their authors were asked to make revisions in the rest. DS asked how the volume will compare with that from the Berlin seminar; KK said it should be about the same size.

As an aside, DS mentioned that Canadianists from Latin America have formed a network, in which the CE experience played some part. They too have started a graduate studies seminar and there was one person from their first seminar, held in Mexico, at the seminar in Szeged. The Szeged team chose one of the participants there to go to the next Latin American seminar, in Havana– Anica Falkart.

5.4 Distribution

DS stressed that the main problem with distribution is cost, since to send the publications by post is very expensive. Events should be used for distribution. The Bucharest Proceedings and Volume 3 of the CE Journal were distributed in Krakowand some in Szeged. Recently a student assistant in Brno packed up about twenty boxes with publications, and they were then sent through the Canadian Embassy in Pragueto all the embassies in Europe. The idea as that every centre should get copies of the publications. AO reported that in Baia Mare they had already been received. DS said that in future distribution would have to be more organized: every centre and every member should get a copy of our publications. The authors of articles should receive two copies of the issue in question, plus ten offprints. DS also added that he had received requests from bookshops and libraries to sell our publications. However, it is very problematic to sell anything, since we cannot issue an invoice. In future we should perhaps redirect all requests to the publishers of the material, who could then subtract the sales price from the cost of the next publication. VL suggested we might give gift copies to bookshops, or exchange books with them. DS felt the former procedure was dubious – why give a book to a bookstore free of charge, when it is going to sell it? – and the latter impractical.

5.5 Web presentation

JK wanted to know if there was a webpage for theCE Journal. KK replied that the table of contents is always put on the CEACS webpage; however, in future it would be useful to make the complete issue electronically accessible, perhaps six months after it appeared. However, to do this we would need the permission of the authors. This same model could be used for other publications produced at the Brno Secretariat

6. Grants for attendance at conferences

6.1 CEACS grants for attendance at conferences

DS distributed a chart with a review of applicants over the past years. He explained that, starting with 2003/04, there have been two rounds each year: the first for conferences in general and the second for conferences in general plus Grainau. Applicants have to be CEACS members: this will be explicitly stated in future. In 2004/05 there were ten grants but only five applicants in the first round. The second round (10 grants) was announced late and applicants were chosen in January in Brno. Altogether, eight applicants were granted; in the end two who received the grant did not go. (It was decided these will be carried over into the next fiscal year.) For 2005/2006 the announcement of the first round should be put on the web soon, with people applying by the end of April. In 2005/2006 we should probably offer fewer grants because the PACS members will not be involved. Executive Committee members are not eligible for any grants. The criteria are: 1. Paper accepted for the conference; 2. The conference is not in the home country; 3. The grants are for anywhere in the world. It was decided to place the names of grantees on the CEACS website. VL: Can Executive Committee members be eligible if there are not enough applicants in both rounds? DS: No, we cannot; it was decided in Szeged last October that Executive Committee members are not eligible, since this would involve potential conflict of interest; whether or not all grants are taken up is irrelevant – the funding can be used for other purposes.

6.2 FEP and FRP grants

DS reported. This was the first time we did it; the PACS did it for Polish Canadianists. The people sent their applications to their local embassies, who checked to make sure the applications were complete. They then sent these “dossiers” to thePragueembassy, which gathered them all together and sent them to DS inBrno; he then sent them to the actual members of the pre-selection committee (this year Voichita-Maria Sasu, Petr Kylousek, Janos Kenyeres). They read and evaluated the applications, and met in Brno on7 January 2005. DS was present as chairman of the meeting; Magdalena Firtova from the Canadian embassy in Prague was also there, as an observer (this is standard procedure; her role was to give general advice on the kinds of things Ottawa is interested in when it comes to Canadian Studies, and to ensure that the whole process was completely transparent).

This year there were 12 FRP grant applications and 11 FEP grant applications. The quality was variable. There were not many that were judged completely unacceptable, some had minor shortcomings, some applicants did not have experience, some were sloppy. Some research applications were interesting but doubtfully related to Canadian Studies. After a long meeting, in which each application was discussed in turn, the pre-selection committee made their final gradings. DS made notes in order to write brief commentaries on each application before they were sent toOttawa. Embassies might also have made comments on applications. The final selection was made inOttawa. It was said in Grainau that the winners would be announced soon; perhaps the decisions had already been made, but they were not available yet.

Regarding the problems with some research proposals, KK said that that had been her dilemma with the CE Journal.One article had a comparative approach, but some reviewers were not open to that approach. She thought it did not do any harm. DS: on the contrary – he was in favour of comparative studies. It is good for both sides. KK:Canadais mature enough to be the subject of comparative studies.

JK felt that we should make a list of criteria for evaluating future applications. There were some guidelines by Cornelius Remie that the committee used, but he felt they could be elaborated. VL: Maybe we should put an exemplary application on the web? JK: The projects are so different that that would probably not be very useful; suggestions for things to include and avoid might be more helpful. DS felt five or six points of a general nature would help applicants. In addition, feedback this year would help those particular individuals in future.

The question of costs was raised. DS: We got money from the European Network (Cornelius Remie) to cover costs. Some were very high – e.g. the expenses for the courier (because of the acute shortage of time, the dossiers had to be sent to Janos Kenyeres and Voichita-Maria Sasu by DHL courier in December). Other costs were travel to Brno, and meals and accommodation there. No personal fees were given to the readers, though it was a lot of extra effort. DS promised to ask whether some kind of per diem could be given to the members of the pre-selection committee next year, as a form of recognition for their hard work.

6.3 ICCS grants (biennial conference, doctoral students)

6.3.1 Doctoral student grant

There were six valid applications; a seventh arrived too late for consideration. Three were from Romania, two from the Czech Republic and one from Hungary. They ranged from Master’s theses through to people well advanced in doctoral studies. The decision was not easy. Petr Kylousek, Janos Kenyeres and Voichita Sasu chose three applications (the maximum). The nominations had to be sent to Ottawa by31 January 2005. The problem was that not all applicants were CEACS members; however, since we had not made it clear that only members were eligible for these grants, it was decided to accept all the applications. In future, this condition will be made explicit, and only applications from members will be accepted.

7.3.2 Student assistant at ICCS biennial conference

DS reported that there had only been one application for a student to go to the biennial conference inOttawa. In the end this had not been forwarded toOttawa.

6.3.4 Best doctoral thesis award

The deadline for this was quite early (15 November), and the procedure for selecting a nominee was very complicated. For that reason, the EC had decided at Szeged not to become involved this year. However, it was decided that in future we would encourage people to apply. The national representatives should play the decisive role in promoting this grant.

6.4 Other grants

Concerning the grants for research visits to Brno, DS reported that Ana Olos will be taking advantage of this programme. This was a break from the past, since previously it has only been students who were eligible. But there had been increasing requests from teachers, so DS felt we should open the programme to teachers and see what the results might be. DS distributed a list of the participants in the Brno research grant programme in 2004/2005 (see Appendix 1).

7. Central European Association for Canadian Studies

7.1 General

There was a general agreement that CEACS was functioning very well.

7.2 Membership fees

DS reminded all present that national representatives should submit reports on membership fees at the meeting on the next day.

7.3  Country reports

Country reports for May-December 2004 had been sent in by all representatives except for Slovaks. They have all been posted on the CEACS website and they have the same format. The next set of reports will cover the period January-June 2005.

7.4  New activities

7.4.1 Class set grants

A summary and analysis of the first class-set programme is being made. If we want to renew this programme, that will probably mean money being shifted from the Library Support Programme. EC members agreed that we should go for the renewal of the class-set programme; a total of eight grants was suggested. KK asked whether that meant one set for each of the eight countries currently in the CEACS. VL suggested two sets for four countries, so that each country gets support every other year. DS stressed thatOttawawould certainly not go for the idea of “quotas”: if there are eight grants, then all the eight countries will be eligible, but the grants will go to the best applicants. He reminded everyone that one type of grant excludes the other: i.e. if a centre applies for a class-set grant, it is ineligible for a Library Support Programme grant.

7.4.2 Summer schools

DS had not heard anything about the summer school in Croatia this year; perhaps Ivo Josipovic would be able to provide information on this the next day. The second type of summer school concerned the idea of a rotating summer school, in Brno, Katowice and Debrecen. According to plans made last year, this summer it should be in Debrecen, next summer in Brno and then in Katowice. However, Peter Szaffka in Debrecen wrote saying that he had another big event this year, which made it rather difficult. Another scenario would see the summer school in Brno this year. However, because of reconstruction there is a lot of movement of offices and facilities at the university in Brno this summer and the library will be closed in July and August. AO suggested it could be held in Baia Mare if she did not get an FRP grant. DS pointed out that the idea was for students to get ECTS points for participation in the seminar; AO said this would not be possible at Baia-Mare. VL said the credit system would be a problem inSerbia, too; otherwise YACS would be interested. KK suggested that Slovakia might like to join in. Bit it was felt they do not have enough teachers, and besides there should be a lot of local resources. The idea was that the course would last for ten days and the teachers would have only their costs covered. Classes would be in the morning, then there would be projects and individual work in the afternoon. The question of language came up: a suggestion was made that they summers could be in English, with some elements of French present. However, the EC members felt this was unrealistic. Instead, they suggested that one of the three pilot summer schools should be in French. DS felt that the summer school project still needed a lot of thought and preparation; he proposed we should postpone the first such school to 2006. He also promised to talk to people inOttawawhen he goes there in May for the ICCS annual meeting. The summer school itself could be announced next year in January.

7.5 Cooperation with PACS

DS reminded those present that PACS and the CEACS had agreed in the past to send representatives to each other’s meetings once a year. First Ewa Welnic and then Nancy Burke was supposed to come to the meetings in Prague; neither was able, so instead we would be welcoming Radek Rybkowski. However, there is now a PACS representative in the European Network; that means that twice a year there will be a chance to meet and discuss things with representatives of PACS there.  KK pointed out the problem with sending a CEACS representative to a PACS meeting – that they would be discussing things in Polish. She felt that it there were CEACS and PACS representatives at ENCS meetings, that should be enough.

DS reported that he’d been in e-mail contact with Agnieszka Rzepa, the President of PACS, about cooperation. They had agreed that it would be good to continue this cooperation with regard to theCE Journaland the summer schools. As far as conference travel grants and class-set grants, however, it made more sense for each association to act independently. VL brought up the general point of why the relationship with PACS had to be worked out in such detail. DS replied that this was because to some extentOttawastill groups us together as being part of its Central European policy initiatives. Also, we do in fact find ourselves in more or less the same situation as the Polish Canadianists – their needs are our needs. So we can act jointly with new initiatives – e.g. things like the class-set grants. Finally, major undertakings like the CE Journal and summer schools really only make sense on a region-wide basis.

Looking farther afield, KK asked whether there was any news of a Baltic association? DS said that the Canadianists there have an annual conference in one of the three countries. They are very active, and receive a lot of support from the Nordic Association for Canadian Studies (which places a role in the region similar to that played by the GKS inCentral Europe). PACS does cooperate with them, and should probably become more active. Of course there are other big questions –Ukraine, as well as Greece and Turkey.

7.6 Annual meeting of the ICCS

DS will be going this year. KK is also hoping to be in Ottawa for the biennial conference, and if so will meet with the ICCS people too.

The afternoon session of the Executive Committee meeting ended at5.00 p.m.

B. Morning session, 3 March (9.30-11.30 a.m.)

8. Financial report

8.1 Financial report to end of February 2005

DS first reported on some changes that had been made since the last EC meeting. The bank account is now in the name of the CEACS and only he can sign bank orders. Since no other person has access to it, he will ask somebody else inBrnoto be allowed to sign as well. The fiscal year used by the CEACS now corresponds to the Canadian fiscal year (1 April – 31 March).

JK submitted a resolution describing the relationship between the President and the Treasurer (see Appendix 2). All present agreed on the resolution. JK will be responsible for submitting toOttawathe annual report on our expenditures in the previous fiscal year and our grant proposal for the new fiscal year.

8.2 Financial report (estimate) to end of fiscal year (31 March 2005)

DS distributed financial information, including the 2004/2005 budget request and a statement of estimated expenditures for this same fiscal year (see Appendix 3 for the latter). DS stated that we had used money cost-effectively and indications were that we should have a balanced budget at the end of the fiscal year, including the expenses for the Prague meetings. All the items of the report (revenues, expenses, human resources costs, and activities) were thoroughly discussed by the members of the EC.JK suggested that we should break down the form in another manner as well: all the items for each event should be shown separately. DS said this could be done in future. The report was approved by the members of CE.

8.3 Budget request for fiscal year 2005/2006

A long discussion was held on what initiatives should be included in the 2005/2006 budget.

- After some discussion it was decided not to start a Summer School this year (see 7.4.2 above).

- There was general enthusiasm for reviving the class-set programme.

- With regard to conference grants, there was a discussion of how many we should ask for. This past year there were slightly fewer applicants than anticipated. In the end it was agreed that in 2005/2006 we would apply for 12.

- KK: We should try to find some way of covering cultural events as a sort of project. AO suggested a project on oral history regarding Central European immigration to Canada. There was a long discussion this. DS suggested the time frame: the post-war period. There was some debate on whether this should include people who came back to their homelands, or only those who stayed in Canada. How to start this – perhaps a call for participants (students and teachers)? It should be a student project with teacher supervision. Provision for some support should be in the budget proposal. This would be brought up at the Executive Council meeting.

8.4 Auditors

DS pointed out that according to the Constitution of the CEACS, there should be two auditors. Unfortunately we forgot to select them at the General Meeting inKrakowlast year. He suggested two names, Maria Huttova (Bratislava) and Karel Foustka (Prague): they are not from Brno, but both understand Czech and so can follow the accounts. DS proposed that once a year they should come toBrnoand see if the books are being kept correctly. He keeps a record of all receipts, bills, etc. handed over to the accountant who is paid to prepare the financial statement. The task of the auditors would be to check that these are accounted for, and to ensure that the expenses are justifiable and reasonable. This was agreed to.

9.  Annual meeting of Executive Council

All present agreed that the meeting should take place in Debrecenin 2006.

10. Next meeting of the Executive Committee

It was decided that the next meeting will coincide with the second international conference on Canadian Studies organized by YACS in Nis,Serbia and Montenegro, in October 2005.

11. Any other business

There were no contributions under this heading since all points had been explored under the previous ones.

12. Closing

The second meeting of the Executive Committee closed at11.30 a.m.with all members present.