AFA Newsletter Vol. 37, No. 2, Winter/Spring 2015

AFA Newsletter:

A Publication of the American Forensic Association

Vol. 37, No. 2, Winter/Spring 2015


AFA Newsletter Information………………………………………..1

Announcement: AFA Fax Number Change……………………1

Officers & Committees of the AFA………………………………..2-3

Update on the 2015 Alta Conference..…………………………..4

In Memoriam, Jack Kay…...................................................4

AFA National Council Meeting – Minutes…………………….5-16

AFA National Business Meeting – Minutes…………………17-23

AFA Financial Statement 2013-2014………………………….24-27

Proposed AFA Budget for 2015-2016……………………………28

AFA Ballots – Updated ordering information……………….29



The AFA Newsletter is published three times each year and is sent to all current AFA individual members. The first issue (fall) contains information regarding the national meeting. The second issue (winter) contains the minutes of AFA business meetings and National Council meetings from the AFA's annual convention. The third issue (summer) contains information about officers and committees as well as a schedule for convention meetings. Each issue also contains news items of interest to members.

You are invited to submit material to be published in the Newsletter. You may submit news items, announcements, or articles (especially ones that are related to forensic activities). Items for the newsletter should be sent to: James W. Pratt, PO Box 256, River Falls, WI 54022, or via e-mail Closing dates for each issue of the Newsletter are September 15th, for issue #1; January 15th, for issue #2; and July 15th, for issue #3.




The new AFA fax number is: 715-425-9533



* = committee chair


National Council

President – Michael Janas, Samford University

Vice President – Gordon Stables, University of Southern California

Vice President for High School Affairs – Tim Mahoney, St. Mark’s School, Dallas, TX

Two-Year College Representative –Darren Elliott, Kansas City, Kansas, Community Coll.

Recording Secretary – Erika Thomas, California State University, Fullerton

Executive Secretary – James W. Pratt, University of Wisconsin, River Falls

Webmaster – Allan Louden, Wake Forest University

Editor, Argumentation & Advocacy – Harry Weger, University of Central Florida,



Nominating Committee

* Adam Symonds, Arizona State University -

John Koch, Wayne State University -

Paul Johnson, University of Pittsburgh -



Educational Development and Practices Committee

* Wade Hescht, Lone Star College, North Harris (term expires 2017) –

Curt Gilstrap, Drury University, (term expires 2016) –

Ken Young, Bradley  University (term expires 2015) –

Megan Houge Koch, Illinois State University (term expires 2017) –

Sandra Berkowitz-Stafford, Minnesota Community and Technical College (term expires 2018) – 



Finance Committee

* Ben Voth, Southern Methodist University (term expires 2016) –

Lee Mayfield, James Madison University (term expires 2015) –

Aaron Duncan, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (term expires 2015) –

Larry Schnoor, Minnesota State University, Mankato, (term expires 2014) –

Bobby Imbody, University of Alabama (term expires 2014) –

Sarah Partlow Lefeve, Idaho State University, (term expires 2016) –



Professional Development and Support Committee

* David Gaer, Lone Star College (term expires 2017) –

 Randy Cox, University of Texas, Austin (term expires 2016) –

Susan Collie, University of Wisconsin-Stout (term expires 2015) –

Tim Brown, Cedar Crest College (term expires 2015) –

Ryan Galloway, Samford University (term expires 2015) –

Gordon Stables, University of Southern California (term expires 2015) –


Publications Committee

* Stephen Croucher, University of Jyväskylä, Chair (term expires 2017) –

Matt Gerber, Baylor University (term expires 2016) –

Dawn Bartlett, SUNY-Jefferson Community College (term expires 2017) –

Penni Pier, Wartburg College (term expires 2015) –

David Worth, Rice University (term expires 2016) –

Jeffrey Jarman, Wichita State University (term expires 2015) –



Research Committee

* James Dimock, Minnesota State University, Mankato (term expires 2017) –

Heidi Hamilton, Emporia State University (term expires 2017) –

Richard Paine, North Central College, (term expires 2015) –

Peter Pober, George Mason University (term expires 2016) –

David Steinberg, University of Miami (term expires 2016) –



NIET Board of Trustees

* Leah White, Minnesota State University Mankato (term expires 2017) –

Nathaniel Wilson, Doane College (term expires 2019) –

David Gaer, Laramie County Community College (term expires 2015) –

Lee Mayfield, James Madison University (term expires 2016) –

Bobby Imbody, University of Alabama (term expires 2018) – 



NIET Regional Representatives

Southern Rep - Kellie Roberts, University of Florida (term expires 2018) –

Eastern Rep - Daniel Leyes, Brookdale Community College (term expires 2015) –

Midwest Rep - Richard Paine, North Central College (term expires 2016) –

Western Rep - Brent Northup, Carroll College (term expires 2016) –



NDT Regional Representatives

AFA Central – Ron Stevenson, Wayne State University –

AFA South – Ed Lee, Emory University –

AFA West – Jacob Thompson, UNLV (term expires 2017) –

AFA East – John Katsulas, Boston College (term expires 2017) – 


NDT Board of Trustees

* Sherry Hall, Harvard University – 
Josh Zive, Bracewell & Giuliani, Washington, DC (term expires 2017) – 

Melissa Wade, Emory – 
Danielle Weise Leek, Grand Valley State Univ., Treasurer –

Dallas Perkins, Harvard University –



The 19th NCA/AFA Conference on Argumentation, a.k.a. the Alta Conference, will take place July 30-August 2, 2015, at the Snowbird Resort complex in Alta, Utah. Although the room block at Snowbird is sold out, accommodations are available at the nearby Alta Lodge. The early registration period ends on June 30, after which registration fees increase by $50. For additional registration, housing, and other conference information, navigate to the conference website,, and click on the 2015 Conference link. The full conference program also will be posted here by July 1. For questions regarding or assistance with local arrangements, contact the Local Host, Danielle Endres, For questions about the program, contact the Conference Director, Randy Lake, A terrific program, in a spectacular and relaxed conference setting, awaits you. Please come!


Randall A. Lake

Associate Professor of Communication

University of Southern California

2015 Conference Director


















On January 30, 2015, Jack Kay of Eastern Michigan University’s Department of Communication, Media and Theatre Arts passed away at age 63.  He will be remembered as both a communication teacher scholar and an administrator, serving in various roles including provost, vice chancellor for academic affairs, and executive vice president.  He was a dedicated and active member of the forensic community, and long time member of the American Forensic Association and National Communication Association.




American Forensics Association National Council Meeting

Wednesday, November 19, 2014, 12:00 pm

Madison, Palmer House Hilton

Chicago, IL


Individuals present: Stephen Croucher [SC], Scott Harris [SH], Michael Janas [MJ], Tim Mahoney [TM], Jim Pratt [JP], Gordon Stables [GS], Erika Thomas [ET], Harry Weger [HW]


12:01 pm meeting called to order [by Michael Janas]


MJ: First I would like to introduce Gordon Stables, the new AFA Vice President. I call the meeting to order. First, a motion to approve last year’s minutes?


Motion – TM: So moved.



All in favor? [Unanimous agreement].


Meeting Minutes passed.


MJ: Reports from the committees.


JP: Financial Report.  [See AMERICAN FORENSIC ASSOCIATION FINANCIAL STATEMENT] There’s good news and, well, unpredictable, I don’t want to say “bad” news, but unpredictable news in the income category. A year ago we talked about beefing up the individual memberships and that has happened [lines 6 – 13]. We have increased membership. I sent out letters and invited individuals to sign up.  The NDT and NIET also stepped up their effort to encourage members to join AFA and we have a significant increase in members both in 1 year and 2 year categories.  We have good news with a large numbers in life membership. The bad news is that we already have their money so we don’t take that income every year. We had 4 life members die last year so it comes out of the reserve.


·      We are down about $10,000 in Institutional (agency) memberships [line 9 – Financial Statement].  It is where we get almost all of our library subscriptions.  The agency memberships allow access to the journals so I expect getting a slug of renewals but it still is a year behind.  My expectation is that as the journal gets back on schedule, we will have more come into the agency memberships.  When we change editors, the new editor gets behind and then catches up, but then it switches to a new one [editor] and we get behind again. 

·      When we do get a cancellation, the subscription agency always sends a notice that says, “this institution has cancelled their membership.”  It’s not a loss of membership per se, just a delay. We hardly sell back issues because it [the journal] is online or they buy directly online.’

·      Ballot income is virtually nonexistence [line 15].  It is almost entirely high schools; this is a minor income item.

·      Donations are up: $1650 [line 16].  Gerry Sanders continue to have a loyal following of people spending money in the archives. It is in the reserves and those come in.

·      Miscellaneous income [line 18]: I have no idea what it’s for, probably a past bookkeeping error and when someone overpaid. 

·      We own copyright on everything in our publications and if the author requests permission we give it routinely without paying the fee.  If someone else asks for permission, we charge them $50, but it depends on the disseminating institution.  We don’t want to give it [permission] away for free, but that does not produce very much income.

·      The big item is the royalties [lines 20 & 21].  Since we signed the agreement with EBSCO $3,500 a quarter is a guarantee, it produces an income of $14,000 a year.  Every check I receive has been over the $3500 guarantee. My assumption is that we generate more sales than we are guaranteed.


SC: This comes from downloads?


JP: Right, not sure how it works but from institutions that get an unlimited subscription


SC: The more it is downloaded the more goes to EBSCO?


JP: Right. They keep track and send me a check, which is great.  I see slight increases from year to year.


SC: One of the search engines is not reflected in this, the (Minn. State University) Mankato search engine [Online Index of Forensics Research]. But EBSCO would not track articles found on that library.  I don’t want to say we discourage people from using it, but I bet we can ask Dan or Mankato how many people log on and search.  There’s probably a decent cut there.


JP: Will you look into that for us?

SC: Yes, I can ask Dan how many people use it on a yearly basis.


JP: Non-income, we collect dues for the organizations. We turn it over after taking a 3% fee, which is paid to the credit card companies for processing these things [lines 48 & 49].  They usually come in through our website and through PayPal. Some come through my office and that represents an in and out.

·      Expenses for the accountant has stayed the same [line 40]. When we passed $50,000, we got into the big nonprofit for tax purposes, so there are many more forms to fill out as a result.  When we were below $50,000 [income], it was a piece of cake and I could do it myself.

·      Bank [charges] [line 41] is modest

·      Bond [line 42]: If I take the [AFA’s] money and jump on a flight, AFA will get some of it back.

·      Corporate fees (for Indiana) [line 43] went up – that is an increase.  We are incorporated in Indiana and we have to pay an annual fee.

·      We bought no equipment [line 44] this year.

·      The honorarium [line 45] is what I receive.

·      Happily, we have no legal fees [line 46].

·      The telephone bill is going down [line 47]. We pay no monthly fee for the 800 number, we only pay the small per minute charge.

·      I already talked about MasterCard/Visa fees.

·      Printing [line 50] is a small fee (because I don’t do much printing), but last year we had to print a ballot and send it out by mail.  This photocopying is for the ballot.  In finance we talked about the possibility of doing the next election online. Thought we would mention it at the business meeting tonight for transparency in case people reject to it. You lose anonymity in case people want to track voting by emails


HW: Can you use survey monkey?  There is a risk that a person could change computers [and submit multiple ballots]


SC: You never know, we might think that people would be crazy to do it. . .


JP: In Wisconsin, we are very concerned with voter fraud.  I don’t see it as a problem, or tracking with email addresses. We have about 35 members that do not have email addresses. So I just print them the ballots and put them in the mail for them.  Anyhow, we will investigate and check out survey monkey too. It will be imminent for the election.

·      [Continuing with the report . . .] A PO Box rental [line 51] is essential to keep AFA mail separate from junk mail. Postage cost [line 52] is down significantly.

·      There are no refunds and no secretarial charges [line 54]; stationary [line 55] is down. I probably have enough to last for about 5 years.


MJ: Can you send me some [letter head]. . . to me and to Gordon, too?


JP: Will do.

·      [Continues with report . . .] Travel [expense] [line 56] is predictable.

·      Trophies and plaques [line 57] $113.20. I am not clairvoyant, and if not informed, then I get angry award recipients contacting me.  And depending on my mood I will write back and say I didn’t send it to you because no one asked me too.


SH: We need some place to identify the award winners. We also need to assure that trophies are ordered.  I wrote some letters but not sure if trophies were received.


MJ: The first step is to figure out who is on the committee.  When I contacted the individuals that I thought were members of the committee, many said: “I haven’t been on that committee in 5 years.” And sometimes I sent some letters but received no replies.


GS: I have asked Al Louden to add me with the [web]site.  It makes the most sense to have committee chairs add and updated their components. They can post the calls and keep everyone updated. 


SC: That would be cool; to make the site a little more interactive would be cool.


JP: Wonderful ideas, now that we have means for executing it in place.

·      [continues with report] Presidents’ office [line 60]: Last year we reached the high mark in the hotel [cost of reception – line 61].  This year’s hotel we are about $500 below that (about $4800) compare to last year.  Next year the conference is in Vegas.


MJ: Should be cheaper


JP: I think we need to raise the amount from the affiliate organizations; perhaps ask them for $500 next year.  Larry Schnoor is suggesting that there are other organizations that we collect dues for and that we are not collecting proceeds from the work.


SC: Are they still around?


JP: They are going to contact people in Delta Sigma Rho-Tau Kappa Alpha (DSR); he’s also going to contact people in Pi Kappa Delta. The first reception we had, we had chips and bottle of booze, and Sally Roden came up to me and said “why don’t we do something and share the expense?” But that was the last time we shared the expense. 


MJ: Who contributes?


JP: The ones that I have listed there. We are not getting support from DSR, Pi Kappa Delta, and Phi Rho Pi [see sheet]. And they have contributed sporadically but not on a regular basis. 


MJ: How do we get it [the funds/reimbursement]?


JP: I send out an email and they send a check.

·      Larry will schmooze with them and see if he can get them to pay.

·      We got rid of the coffee breaks a while ago [line 63]. 

·      Ballot expenses are a way low [lines 67 – 70]

·      Nothing [spent] from “Committee [72]”


MJ: Are those awards?


JP: No, that’s separate but not allocated for committees

·      Internet fees [line 74].  [Regarding the websites’ problems – line 75] no one seemed to be able to fix it; finally I ended up with the IT guy, Peter Reese, he went through and fixed it up for $1500.00.


MJ: The others were much higher than that.


JP: I haven’t gotten any complaints from it.  And the maintenance is cheap but the website [problem] itself is not [cheap to fix].  Peter was making disparaging remarks and I said “hey I didn’t do it.” He fixed it and sent me a bill and he is on retainer. I’ll pay him as Webmaster.


MJ: Does he manage the permissions?


JP: I manage the permissions.

·      [continues with report]

·      Line 92 is the rental that I pay for the Directory; $150 every 6th months. 

·      Peter Reese designs the directory and from my perspective it works well and I’ve had no complaints. 

·      The national tournaments [line 78 – 81] $2500 for each of the two [tournaments]. Standard amount for years.

·      Argumentation & Advocacy – [line 83] only 3 issues published last year; we have $5,000 per issue that is budgeted.  Harry Weger’s first issue is #1 and came in under $5,000.  I get an incredibly detailed invoice from the publishing people, who change their name a lot.  Those higher charges involve more articles, more pages, that sorta stuff. We are back in the range.  Harry will check in with me before doing stuff from a financial standpoint.

HW: Will you send me one of those invoices?


JP: I will certainly do that. Sure.

·      Editorial assistants [line 89] – we started paying for one working with John [Fritch] and Cate [Palczewski] – they could pay them during the school year but not during the summer.

·      There were no sources of funds [from the university] at that time. 

·      Harry has the same situation so I anticipate it continuing and I view it as reasonable expenses that we will have; certainly we can provide it.


HW: It helped me fund two students who got their tuition pay for but no stipend.


JP: Let’s keep as a line item and if we don't have to use it, good.

·      Argument conference [line 94] – we paid 2,000 this year and we budget $1,000 every year and pay $2,000 every two years.

·      No request for debate or forensic conference [lines 96 & 97].  Larry Schnoor said they are thinking about it so I said to bring us the request.  Financial Committee can meet during the year to evaluate the requests. We do have a small amount in the budget.


HW: I’m on the committee. We’re going to ask NCA for more money tomorrow as part of the Argumentation and Forensics Division. It [the amount given] is much less than it used to give us.  NCA is loaded. They have all kinds of money. David Zarefsky wants them to give us more money since it is the NCA-AFA Argument Conference. I’m not sure if you want me to consider anything or if it affects the budget at all.

JP: Well, we budget, and if we don't need it, great.  The proceeding Alta conferences used to be paid for by NCA. They paid for the publication and kept the money that resulted.  They ended up deciding to get out of it. NCA would send me all back issues and they are now resting safely in my very dry basement.  I sell them and they come to AFA.  Maybe I should put something in the newsletter so people know that it is now exclusively AFA proceedings. 


?: We sold a great deal of them [conference proceedings] going through NCA.


JP: Right, but we have the back issues. They wanted to get rid of the project.  Total expenses [totaled $43,948.02 - line 99] We got $5600.00 that we took out of the life memberships reserve to pay for the budget.  As the journal gets regularized, the money will come back in and if it does not come, it will be a different story next year.


·      Line 143 [Life member reserves] at $19,000 after the withdrawal. The reserve is a comfortable amount as long as we don’t keep taking $5600 out of it.

·      Transfers [Line 104] are up there; this is the outgoing part.  It all balances out in the end. 

·      [Line 128 Savings Accounts & CDs] Nothing in general savings. The McGee award [Line 131] is a separate account really just held by AFA at the request of that committee. Totally separate from AFA. Brockriede [Memorial – Line 133] never collected much money and we usually negotiate when they give it and awards usually come out of that.

·      [Line 146 – CDs] is interesting.  This money, they [the NDT] wanted us to hang onto for them.  That amount has not changed in 10-15 years. Interest goes to NDT and we just keep it. If we run into problems, we may be able to turn to our friends at NDT for answers to any questions.

·      Budget proposal [see AMERICAN FORENSIC ASSOCIATION PROPOSED  BUDGET] is the same as last year. I cut back on institutional memberships and I cut that down by $3,000 and Executive [Secretary] office by $2,000 and realized that through the savings in postage and supplies.


MJ: So when was the last time we raised the fees?


JP: Quite a while ago. I can’t tell you for sure.  I’m running through the math.  When I add up the items, we have a structural deficit of about $2,000 here. How do we overcome that and assuming that everything is going well? We either make up to it by having more members or something else.


?: Have you talked about asking for payments?


JP: Put faith in Larry.


SC: In publications committee, we’re considering changing affiliations, depending how open are we to shopping for better deals for new publishers and contracts. Cadmus is giving this association one of the worst deals I’ve ever seen.  [Referencing other journal:] In our royalties we are getting over 40,000 a year in royalties.  They are predicting $45,000 next year.


JP: My reaction is yes; we are always in the market to consider other deals.


SC: We could consider Taylor & Francis. If we worked out, we could take the counteroffer to Cadmus. Another deal could come with the other benefits such as websites, etc.  I think we are working with one of the least known publishers out of there. Wanted to make sure we are open to that.


JP: We have investigated alternative publishers in various points of our history. We always end up with this publisher.


SC: Let me know when the contract ends; I can look into it . . . I will just talk with her and say we are interested in exploring. When is our 50th year? It can help to know. 


JP: I’ll send you as much as I know.  The publishing business is changing very rapidly.


MJ: Can we approve the budget? And then discuss, since this is a separate issue. 


JP: Motion is needed at Business meeting.


MJ: Publications Committee?


SC: I emailed Dan about this, but when we look at the website we don’t get the same information [publishing data/citation index, etc.]; it is limited in what it tells people on where to find [articles/references]. I’ll let Harry tell us about the journal first.


HW: Submissions are down a little bit [85 manuscripts have been submitted]. I talked to Stephen about increasing submissions. Also, I will be at Alta this time to increase number of manuscripts.  Rejection/acceptance are close to what they’ve been [17.6% acceptance, 28% rejection rate]. 50.2, 50.3, and 50.4 are all out.  Cadmus is ready to mail out 50.1.  I will have issues 51.3 and 51.2 by end of next year. I hope we are completely filled. 52.4 is already in Cate’s hands. 

52.1, 52.2, and 52.3, I’m talking to some people to put them on it.  After talking to Dale, when you come in, you tend to get way behind.  I think we can discuss some ways to make a smoother transition.


SC: We tried [a smoother transition] with you; Dale [Hample] came in the worst. Dale had to start from scratch. You had it pretty good.


HW: I had a misunderstanding with the editorial assistants. I thought that they [some submissions] were covered so I thought maybe I shouldn’t assign reviewers.  So then there were all these unassigned manuscripts; it went into April and then I started to assign people and then people [reviewers] ignored the emails.


SC: When does your term end?


HW: With volume 52.


SC: We need to get a new editor soon.


HW: The editor is chosen in November and starts in January.  You want assistant professors. I keep adding people to the editorial board. 


MJ: We need a new editor in 2015 chosen.


SC: We typically do it at NCA but it’s not specified in the NCA By laws . . . It doesn’t say we need to do it in person. Maybe we choose the summer of 2015. 


MJ: It pushes it 3 months, but that’s fine.  If it is not specified in the bylaws; we don’t need to amend bylaws.  Your committee can find people whenever.


HW: It would help.


SH: I thought that is what we tried to do; you were supposed to have had a year.


MJ: Things were really bad and we will try to make things better for the people that follow you. 


HW: Cate and John did a great job.  They did good things, like Dale, to try and catch up.  It’s also now against the rules for me to write the articles and get them in.  Believe it or not we have a faculty member that does that [clarifies that the person is an editor and publishes their own work].


MJ: [The publication/committee] looks good.  You need investigate a few little things.


SC: We will look into a few things. Argumentation & Advocacy does not have DOI numbers. We need to look into it.


MJ: What happens now?


SC: We will talk to Cadmus. They will have to pay [for DOI], and we need to determine if they will defer the cost to us.  Some receive zero credit for it [publishing]. It will lead to less submission, if people get zero credit.  Faculty get nothing for it.  This is the long-term goal of the SSCI [Social Science Citation Index]. [As a journal,] we have to be on time for 4 years for Scopus and other rankings system. We are also we are not cross-cited enough and we need to be in order to be a more high-ranking journal or higher ranking so that people will submit and publish.  Otherwise, they get no credit. We also need to address the representational issue; either we will fill with fluff and special issues or we need to look long term. Where do we get branded and how do we do that? It affects the journal and submissions.


GS: Some have moved away from royalty count.  We are stuck in the worst of both worlds. The limitations on search engines are not directing.

SC: We can change.

GS: We had to make this decision with CAD [Contemporary Argumentation & Debate], and decided to go the other way, away from the representational.  [Brief discussion of open source journal systems; describing CAD’s recent transition to open access]. It’s a question of why the insistence of these numbers and the amounts of submissions.


SC: We could do that.  It will solve one issue.  It will drop the royalties and also remove some of the burden.  It will solve one concern.


GS: We can look for people developing the [ranking] systems and find out which index system is the most valuable.  I am not sure it is indictment of the people who are publishing in the journal. But I don't know the answer as to who those folks are.


MJ: Ok, are we done? Can we move on? No members of the nominating committee are here.  Also, educational practice [committee members] are not here. There’s nothing they want to change.  There’s one suggestion for a plagiarism committee.


SH: We wanted to add debate people to that committee.  And it did not happen last time.  We talked about what kind of people should be assigned to the issue.


MJ: The research committee is not here. So next is the report of President. I guess that’s me.

·      We filled all slots at NCA this year.  We had 3 contributing papers. [The panel is] Thursday at 8:00 am. Things are good.  We had 6 contributing panels altogether; some [papers] were really good.

·      I continue my request to find the values of the organization. Certainly the journal is one of them.  Other than coming together for committee meetings, we need a close connection to NDT and NIET. Other than the [Alta] conference, few members of AFA participate in which seems wrong. I went through the program looking for potential members.  Seventy-five percent of the conference attendees are not members of it [AFA organization].  Do we ask people in the journals to join? It seems like one way to add value to the association.  It is an ongoing problem.  It is one that NCA is trying to solve by putting their name on everything.  I thought we needed to send something out twice a year and indicate that NCA is on our website. 


JP: NCA is on our mailing list for the newsletter.


MJ: I am open to whatever suggestions anyone has to make it have value.


SC: ICA [International Communication Association] asked this.  They have a big communication page.  They look at the memberships.  They advertise what the members are doing.  It creates a community.  They advertise other conferences; it creates an online world. 


MJ: We haven’t made a transition. [You have the directory] if you want to know where people live, but the tournament schedule is no longer exclusively ours.  We have lost the exclusivity.  Maybe one alternative is to have people develop social media.  Otherwise, I don't see the easy fill [in membership].


SC: [For AFA tournaments,] I always was surprised you didn’t have to pay to compete.  I was surprised that they didn’t have to pay. 


MJ: If you ask that [of them], it will cause a rebellion because tournaments are so expensive.


SC: For DSR, I had to pay. I had to pay to be an editor.

GS: Identifying particular people can help.  The fact that we don't serve doesn’t mean that the audience is not there. Graduate assistants can represent. Why would a GA choose to be involved in AFA? It’s the pipeline process. AFA makes a path for pipelines. We can provide that.  Why would you publish in it [the journal]? Why would you join it [the organization]? My suspicion is that Alta is good example. It depends on where they go to school. They get word about the conference from someone and now they consider themselves argument scholars.  We create a sub-population, perhaps for the students.  Do we forward job [calls]? What does it take and what do we do?


MJ: How do you manifest it? So, what is it? Job listings?


GS: It can be anything; [i.e.] a panel that we develop here. It gives a reason to be here.  We had to be in program to get funding.  I don't think anyone else is filling the gap.  Folks that are argumentation professionals and need representational support for what they do [need it]; whether it is outside reviews [of departments] or benchmarks for assessment, these are all kinds of things that AFA has the only accredited standard for, if that is part of what they get to be indexed by.  It could be for people getting jobs and for publishing.


SH: The committees don't have anything to actually do; it’s why they are breaking down. What does it mean to create? What do we do? We don't require the members in the slots?


SC: My gut would be that you would see a drop in AFA submissions.

GS: We would have to invite [members]. [For NCA,] accept anything submitting to it.

SC: There’s got to be a way to encourage it.


GS: What can we do?  If people need this, we should provide it.  It is not being done within any other organization.


SH: What is our relationship with the high schools? There is no actual tie to the high school community. We need to figure out what role AFA serves for H.S. tournaments.


MJ: This is the key problem; we’ll either lament the loss or build a vibrant community of people.


SH: It is easy to become irrelevant. Until I became an officer, I stopped coming [to the meetings].


MJ: There is a separation between argumentation scholarship and the debate communities/culture.  How do you change that? How can you do that? We need to first encourage it. Provide a space/motivation to come to the convention?


SH: Maybe it is to not actually affiliate with NCA and have our own process.


HW: Maybe do it with the AFA conference? Ask the steering committee. You could hold Alta without any fee. Seventy-five dollars is nothing for a membership fee; roll it into a [conferences] fee?


GS: Alta is biannual. The other opportunity for discussion is to approach the [debate] professional people. It’s [recruiting] during the workshop season.  There are 3 models [generating argumentation interest]: debate programs housed in student activity groups, the argumentation and communication schools, and honors colleges that are unaffiliated and have a greater need for assessment. The traditional Communication [Departments] can say its part of our discipline, but the other ones need to show that they are part it.

SC: I was a doctoral student running a program.  We couldn’t charge the AFA membership to the department. As a doctoral student, I became a member. It does mean something to individuals.  I was interested in Argumentation & Advocacy even though I didn't study political communication or rhetoric and even though I knew there not that many people studying interpersonal or intercultural.  I do it because that’s my background – argumentativeness.  Who belongs in AFA? We hear “argumentation,” but lots [of people] that come through and don’t get involved because they don’t see a place research-wise. Do we want to be more inclusive?


MJ: I think there is an opportunity for that.  They have an important of view and its [AFA is currently] not inclusive of that. 


SC: We still use argument. Maybe the idea of the AFA should be defined.


MJ: The opportunity exists. There is a notion that is broad and methodologically diverse.  There’s a huge opportunity.  Currently, there is no good measure of critical thinking. 


GS: We can’t sell critical thinking.  This is one of the reasons that argument needs to be rebranded; the definition of argumentation, of common core as argumentation, as a method; hosting the largest tournaments.  It is those folks [in the AFA] who will do the training.  This discussion needs to have overlap; to examine argumentation as a way to determine how people on the outside understand it and how they look it.


HW: We could have forums with graduate assistants and offer pedagogical tools. More for those [members] who are reviewed instead of reviewers.  You never see IE forums on pedagogy. 


GS: A special topic forum may draw interest. These things all make an effort. It is about the push/pull; but it is also about generating interest. They are not exclusive of other organization. Creating something that competitors can look at. If we got an open source Google search, we could read articles from the legends of the field to inform what we are doing. We could produce a discussion. Alta does not publish everything.  We could have a web-based forum.  Even if it some of it is not great, it’s not likely to be terrible.  The not-fully-formed is still really valuable because we cannot always wait for the peer-reviewed book.


SC: [At conferences/tournaments,] we could have the membership forms readily available for people to fill it out.  Even if we get a few people; it’s something.


JP: I’m going to need to do this with the iPad.


SC: Doing that, you get a few people.  Less pain in the neck for emailing, etc.


MJ: Let’s move on to the Past President Report:


SH: The only issue was the renewal of the affiliate organization for NCA [we have not received word that the affiliation is renewed]. We may be looking for a new forum. I assume that they will fill in [accept] our affiliate status.  I don't know what the deadline was, but maybe they don’t meet until here.  We are the oldest affiliate, one of the originals.


MJ: We may be the first kicked out.


SH: The other recommendation is to coordinate ex-Presidents about what the President does, we’ll have a better one [transition] for the current Vice President, but when you move from VP to President, you don't have a clue.  In retrospect, there were things we should have done to make more recognition of the AFA. I will attempt to try and create a process to talk to people. 


GS: I am calling upon the AFA to conduct a strategic review of the NDT. There are 2 goals expressed by the NDT, to promote the growth of debate and to promote freedom of expression/diversity of the debate community. While there are other internal disputes, this is one of the greatest moments of growth in academic debate [generally] and the greatest decline of programs at this moment for policy debate programs [in the NDT].  [Brief discussion regarding how the disappearing programs are those specifically affiliated with policy debate and the lack of suggestions/solutions for resolving the problem]. The NDT is valuable but I think the charter organization should look into it.  I got the HS debate events to help with this assessment and to try and get them to come back in a year with more of a directive.


TM: Here I am.


MJ: What needs announced at the Business Meeting?


?: Upcoming tournament: Phi Rho Pi National Forensics Tournament, Cleveland, Ohio, April 6-11, 2015


JP: There are two remembrances to announce.  There is Bruce [Gronbeck] and another.  We can look them up in the newsletter.


MJ: Any new business? Seems like we covered a lot of them.  Motion to adjourn?


Motion to adjourn – So moved.




All in favor? [Unanimous agreement]





American Forensics Association Business Meeting

November 19, 2014, 4:00 – 7:00 pm

Crystal, Palmer House Hilton

Chicago, IL


Meeting called to order at 4:02 PM p.m. by Mike Janas.


Mike Janas (MJ): First order of business is to nominate Heidi Hamilton to serve as our parliamentarian.


Is there a second?


All in favor?


[Motion passed].


MJ: The second piece of the 2013 approval is the approval of the 2013 business meeting minutes.  A move to adopt them?


So moved.


All in favor?


[Motion passed].


MJ: That was better.  The first agenda item is the report of officers of National Council. Welcome to Chicago.  Thanks for coming to the meeting. We had a great discussion today.  We continue to ask: why be a member of AFA? A lot of it seems to center on coming to this particular meeting. There was a time when we had control of the [tournament] calendar, the directory provided names of others in the group, or we provided vital information through the newsletter or the journal .  All of these things are shifting in value and control.  In a world where we don't monopolize information, what can we do? We had a vibrant conversation about what to do and a few new initiatives were discovered.


I would like to introduce our Vice President, Gordon Stables of University of Southern California He is planning next year’s convention.


We are also joined by Tim Mahoney, Vice President of High School Affairs. 


I would like to introduce Jim Pratt to offer a report on the state of the union.


Jim Pratt (JP): If Mike is here to tell you why you should be a member, my job is to make sure that you do become a member.  We have had good recruitment efforts.  We sent out emails to the people whose memberships expired.

·      One blip and that is that our institutional memberships (mostly library memberships) are down by $10,000.  So, we are down about $10,000 in institutional agency memberships.  It is where we get almost all of our library subscriptions. They usually renew when they receive the last journal of the year by next year it will be back on schedule at this time.  It is not lost income, but delayed income. If there is anything to worry about, we can do it next year. 

·      The other information about income is self-explanatory. We get interest on our income at a small rate.  If you have any suggestions [on ways to increase that interest] I am certainly willing to entertain them.

·      We have a major income item that does increase, that is, the royalties from EBSCO.  It [Royalties] is the big item.  An exclusive agreement with EBSCO, guarantees us an income of $3500 a quarter; produces an income of [roughly] $14,000 a year.  When we do receive a cancellation, the subscription agency always sends a notice that says this institution has cancelled the membership.  It’s not a loss of membership, just a delay.  Since we signed the agreement with Ebsco, $3,500 a quarter is a guarantee, Every check I receive has been over the $3500 guarantee. The demand for the publications are increasing and we are showing that.]

·      Non-income items consist of the money we take in but not income.  We are a clearinghouse for dues for other forensics organizations. We subtract a 3% fee to offset the credit card charges.  You will see the distribution of the items on the next page.

·      When we passed $50,000, we became a major player in the nonprofit category for tax purposes.  There was a major burden with paperwork as a result, so I pay an accountant.

·      Corporate fees: We are incorporated in the state of Indiana as a nonprofit educational organization and we have to pay an annual fee. We [now] pay $12.26. That went up – that is a shocking increase.

·      The $3600 is for my work.

·      The telephone [expense] is going down. 

·      We cut back on printing [expenses]. The cost was mostly for printing ballots for our election. We are talking about doing it [next election] online to cut back on those charges.  There are about 35 members that do not have email addresses. I can send ballots to them but we are exploring this.  If you have any objections let me or the finance committee know about that. Otherwise, everything I print is out of my computer.

·      The “President’s Office” [expense] is the reception. Last year’s [reception] was the most expensive we ever had.  It was $ 5300 for that.  This year the bill is about $4800.  We have nice receptions, so we are going to investigate and increase the amount that we ask for from the affiliate organizations. Larry Schnoor has promised to have some conversations with people.

·      Ballots have dropped drastically. We have a few loyal costumers.  Most are Catholic high schools.

·      [The amount of] $2500 for the NIET and NDT is a traditional expense.

·      Argumentation & Advocacy had 3 journals last year, which cost us $10,000. We budget $5,000 for each issue. We are at that level and below it with the most recently published issue.

·      $2,000 is the item for the Alta conference. We allot $1,000 every year for support and pay $2,000 every second year.

·      $5600 is the amount we are over. We took the amount out of the life member reserve [line 143], which stands now at $19,000 now.  It is comfortable cushion as long as we don’t continue to take it out if it.

·      Transfers are outside non-income items.  It consists of our accounts and CDs and the accounts that we maintain for other organizations.

·      Any questions for me?


What is the difference in Internet fees and website maintenance? 


JP: Our website maintenance was completed by Peter Reese, he works in IT at my University and designs the [AFA] online directory. He offered to take on the project, fixing the website at $1500.  He did a fine job.  That should be a one time fee. We pay a fee for hosting and regular maintenance.  These include fees to the hosting company and various changes, etc. It is a variable amount; we pay a fixed sum. What we pay for the hosting charges is about the same as we pay for the directory.


Any other questions?


I would like to make a motion on behalf of the financial committee, of which I am presenting, to approve the financial statement.

Is there a second?


All in favor?


[Motion passed].


JP: To move to the last page, the budget for next year. I have made two adjustments to it. I have reduced projected income by $5,000. I cut back on institutional memberships by $3,000 and the Executive Secretary by $2,000 to balance it out based on the savings on postage and printing. Is there a discussion about that [budget] proposal?  If not, I’d like to make a motion to approve.

So approved.

Is there a second?

All in favor, Say I.


[Motion passed].


JP: Thank you


MJ: Our Phi Rho Pi community college 2-year representative is not here but I was asked to announce that the Phi Rho Pi Nationals will be held in Cleveland, Ohio, April 6-11, 2015.


MJ: Educational Development and Practices Committee Report: The committee was contacted about one issue. We were contacted and asked what is the AFA’s and, more specifically the NIET’s, stance on plagiarism is when it comes to how much a coach can contribute. We may need more specific details to better inform them, but we gave them the [current] rules, and they said “thank you” and we haven’t heard since.


Ben Voth: Finance Committee Report: We primarily talked about Jim’s budget. We recommend using the electronic “eballot” for the upcoming election. We talked about the upcoming conference in Las Vegas will mean we’ll get to pay less for next year’s reception.


Professional Development and Support Committee: There is no official business to report.  We have been tasked by the AFA to give the AFA’s Distinguished Service Award.  This year we thought of someone we thought was given the award but had not yet received it. We reflected on the ways this person was always there, always helping with the organization and not seeking recognition. He founded the Texas Forensic Association and has run two National Tournaments for the American Forensics Association.  He was the National Forensics League National Tournament Director and has directed the NDT National tournament.  He came up with Forensics tournament software.  Many folks in the community still use the programs and they are free. He has written one of the premier textbooks on competitive debate, but this was one of the most interesting facts: He was induced into the National Federation of High Schools “High School Hall of Fame” for contributions to high school speech and debate activities.  He was one of four members not affiliated with sports.  This year’s award goes to one of our own AFA past president, Dr. Rich Edwards of Baylor University.


MJ: Publications Committee? Is there a representative who wants to speak?


I have nothing to add.


MJ: I can express my enthusiastic support for the Publications Committee and their ideas.  We talked about the state of the journal [Argumentation & Advocacy], which is good, nearly caught up and has a plan. The longer it stands behind the more money we lose. The Committee wants us to be listed with DOI numbers as an effort to increase the reputation of the journal. We are also considering whether going to other publishers would help us [in becoming an SJR ranked journal]. The cost of the journal is about $22,000-23,000 a year and we have the journal’s royalties, which leave us about $15,000. The other things roughly cost about $18,000. We still have a structural deficit. One easy solution would be to bring in more income from publishing in the journal, to see if other venues would be lucrative.


MJ: Research committee?


Heidi Hamilton [HH]: We are giving awards; he [Jim Dimock] has the [list of] awards.


MJ: Some awards were determined.


MJ: Nominating committee? Adam [Symonds]? It is not unusual to not have them here.


MJ: We have some charter committees, first the NIET.  I’d like to invite Peter Pober to talk about his report.


Peter Pober:

·      We had a blast at ASU, 1570 slots; the largest tournament yet. Next year will be held at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon.  The NIET Committee has selected the 2016 host, the University of Florida, and [we are indebted to] Kelly Roberts who will host the NIET there for the third time in 2016. In 2017 we will go back to Bradley University.

·      Professor M’Liss Hindman [of Tyler Junior College] and Professor Clark Olsen [of Arizona State University] were awarded the 2014 Distinguished Service Award. 

·      We gave out 4 awards [for the 2014 Outstanding New Coaches] – Mike Chouinard, Florida State University; Daren Epping, Kansas State University; Ian Hopkins of Miami University (OH), and Austin McDonald, Louisiana State University.

·      In our report, we have named the officers, the district chairs, anyone who has changed.  This is the 20th time that Professor Larry Schnoor served as tournament director [for the national tournament].

·      For those of you who do not know; there is indeed an archive produced so they can label it and know what it is.  We [the NIET] are alive, well & happy to be here.


MJ: Is anyone here from the NDT committee? Someone want to speak for them?


The tournament was at the Indiana University. This year we will head to the University of Iowa.  We discussed potential changes to judge placement and first round qualification process.  We do not have additional hosts to announce.

It is difficult to find campuses to accommodate room needs on Friday. We are running into trouble. Many state legislatures want you to have to use your classrooms.


MJ: Any old business? Any new business?


ML Sandoz: GSU [Georgia State University] was planning a hire lecturer/Director of Debate, but money is freed up and it is now a tenure track position.


Karen Morris [KM]: This issue is not new business.  It is a concern.  Thanks to Jim [Pratt] for sending emails, but it is difficult to get information about the AFA.  There is information not on website. I can’t find the information that we need. I am the Secretary of the NIET but a lot of the website is not maintained and is difficult to make sure that our constitution matches our bylaws. They [the AFA constitution/bylaws] are not on the website.  Regarding the constitution, we want to approve it, but the instructions are not on the website. You asked, why be a member of the AFA? For some it is for the website but is not be used as such.

MJ: I agree. This is a bit of confusing for who is responsible for what. Who can post things; Gordon and I are committed to err on the side of giving more people permission. You get the newsletter. You can find the by-laws and constitution there but it can be difficult to navigate. And also some updates are way behind. It is not exactly clear who would do it [the postings]. Perhaps it is necessary to increase the responsibility of committee chair, rather than cycling through a central place.  I am not sure how to always fix the conundrum. It [job of webmaster] is a rudimentary office.  Email me about what information we should have on there.  We have sorta a plan in place.  But it is a contingent solution if you give permission to many people and there is risk that they don’t start posting.


Gordon Stables [GS]: That is a great question; it is one of the first discussions I had [with the National Council Meeting].  I am in favor of providing more people with permissions, so when information needs announced, individuals can post it.  It would be great if when Erika concludes newsletters/minutes, she can post them directly. If I can do anything, I’d like to see it succeed but it will take everyone’s full responsibility. We would not overwhelm any one person.


KM: We are missing some documents/minutes since 2011. Many things are missing since there are gaps. What responsibility can people have to fill in the gaps?


GS: We need whoever has these materials to be responsible, to fill in what they can.  Your point is well taken.  To have the most current version [of the bylaws/constitution] is most important.  Anyone can identify the glitch.  Let us know what is missing.  It would be nice if we could say in Vegas that every committee has something to add to the website and that there is delegation for posting it.  We joke it’s like a restaurant, when it is open and what it has to serve should tell us on the menu. We need to do the same thing.


GS: Couple of notes:

·      I want to thank everyone for bearing with me. Thanks to Scott Harris for the smooth transition. I very much appreciate the change to get back into the [leadership of the] AFA. 

·      [Regarding next year’s NCA in Las Vegas,] hotel rates don’t start with a “2”; also the temperature does not start with a “2.” The costs of room nights are significantly down across the way. We promote attendance from everyone and we will work to coordinate the effort.

·      Randy Lake would like me to encourage you to consider submitting to the upcoming Alta Conference [NCA/AFA Conference on Argumentation], [July 30-August 2, 2015]. The theme is “Rediscovering Argument.” The submission deadline is March 2nd, [and you can find more information at]

·      The only other broad item is that I am starting the first charge leading a strategic review of the NDT. I am providing charters in overseeing the NDT the gap between outcomes and stated practices/goals have grown.  The NDT is not only [here] to conduct the national championship but to encourage the growth of forensic excellence. Based on the review, I can tell you that this is the greatest moment around the world for debate [education], but there is a steady decline for policy debate: fourteen schools have discontinued policy debat in the last 10 years.  At one time, just over 1200 participated in debate.  The goal is to come back with input and recommendations on what we should do to go forward and we are happy to have the support of the NIET and to help us work with engaging and expanding forms of debate. If people are wondering whether there is interest in Worlds Debate, it is a resounding yes.  By our charter, the AFA has an authority of the NDT. Before we [policy debate] are not a global brand of debate, it is time that we charge the review. We want to collect information from programs, especially from programs that no longer have NDT programs


MJ: Any other new business?

One idea is to think about our [organization’s] educational [value]. We can help create whatever it is that the AFA can bring to forensics practice, [such as] to think about the standards of programs.  We should also look into liability [issues], how we drive a van, stuff relevant to people, to define what competent programs look like.  [We should try] to get the committees energized and populated. If you went to the meeting feeling lackluster, in the future, [we will work to make sure] this will not be the case.


MJ: Did Jim walk in?


HH: [Research Committee Report] We met this morning. The committee considered the submissions for 3 awards.

·      For the Outstanding Dissertation/Thesis Award, there were several fine nominations & I don't have the titles of the dissertations.  All 3 were fine examples. which made the discussion difficult. We ultimately decided [to award] Paul Johnson from University of Iowa for his dissertation on conservative tea party rhetoric and the notion of the populace – it was much more complicated than that.

·      For The Larry Schnoor Award [for Excellence in Forensics Research], there were several nominations and that award is for forensics pedagogy and research.  That award goes to Ben Walker on [his work on] individual events and judge philosophies.

·      The third is The Rohrer Award for research.  We had a lot of nominations for that award; it seemed like we had quite a few contenders.  We had a discussion about the variety of research [conducted] and ultimately that we came to the consensus on the article on presidential debate effects, looking longitudinally at primary/presidential debate and seeking to expand beyond favorability studies and to look at other kinds of research in debate.  The authors are asking us to look at primary debates and whether they have greater effects on debate viewer’s evaluations of candidates.  The article was written by Mitchell S. McKinney and Benjamin R. Warner and published in Argumentation & Advocacy.


MJ: Any other new business?


We have the AFA reception in the Wabash room down the hallway. It is in this building but we need to duck into the building. It is a little sketchy getting there though. 


MJ: Motion to adjourn the meeting.

Move to adjourn.


All in favor?


Meeting adjourned at 4:50 pm.









JULY 1ST, 2013 - JUNE 30TH, 2014















Dues: 1-yr indiv/inst @$75




Life total=

Dues: 2-yr indiv/inst @$135





Dues: Life memberships @$600




Dues paid=

Dues: Institutional (agency) @$76.50





Dues: Institutional @$85





Dues: Non-journal @$50





Dues: Student @$20





     Dues subtotal





Back issue sales, A&A/Alta, @$20, $30, $35





Ballot income (paid invoices)





Donations (Archives & Awards)










Miscellaneous income





Permission fees, @$50










     Total income















ADA memberships, $50, $10





CEDA memberships, $150, $40, $30





DSR-TKA memberships, $50





NDCA memberships @ $30, $250





NDT Subscriptions @ $50, AL





NFA memberships @ $40





NIET Subscriptions @ $30, $50, tournament income





NPDA memberships @ $30





MAFL & TCFL @ $150










Less 3% fee










     Total: Income + Non-income

























Bank charges










Corporate fees (Indiana)















Legal fees










Mastercard/Visa & PayPal fees





     Less credit card fee from affiliates





Photocopying & printing, general





PO Box Rent (1 yr)





Postage, Postage Meter (excluding A&A)















Stationery & Supplies










Trophies & plaques















President's Office





Forensics organizations reception, Washington










Coffee breaks, other hospitality




















Ballot expenses





Miles Co.: Printing ballots





Miles Co.: Shipping & handling















Committee expenses:










Internet fees





Internet/Web site maintenance:















National Tournaments





NDT Support





NIET Support















Argumentation & Advocacy





Cadmus-Science Press, 49/3





Cadmus-Science Press, 49/4

(incl. postage)




Cadmus-Science Press, 50/1

(incl. postage)




Subtotal, 3 issues





Average issue cost:





Editorial Assistants: 2 @ $1,200.00















Directory (On-line)










Argumentation Conference (Proceedings)





Debate Conference





Forensics Conference





Research Awards










Total Expenses





Total of Income less Expenses





Transfer from Reserve Funds




















To Life Member Reserve





To National Debate Tournament





To National Individual Events Tournament



































Total Transfers





Total: Expenses + Transfers















Paid invoices (incl. shipping & handling)





Accounts Receivable





Total sales





Less shipping & handling





Ballot sales @ $.15





Miles Co., print ballots





Average cost per ballot





Ballot inventory retail value





Balance: Ballot income - expenses















General savings





Life Member Reserve





McGee Award





NDT Board of Trustees





Brockriede Memorial

























SUMMARY OF ASSETS: June 30, 2013










General savings, Money Market account





    Available cash





General savings, CDs





Life Member Reserve CDs





Brockriede Memorial Money Market Account & CDs





McGee Award Money Market Account





NDT Board of Trustees CDs





Accounts Receivable




















James W. Pratt, Executive Secretary














Approved: November 19, 2014












Membership, individual 70 @ $75




Membership, individual 2-year, 25 @ $135




Membership, institutional, 200 @ $76.50 net




Membership, non-journal, 10 @ $50




Membership, student, 20 @ $20




Membership, life, 5 @ $600




  *3,000 to Life Member Reserves)




Ballot income








Royalties and permissions







Total income





















Vice President




Executive Secretary




AFA Newsletter




Argumentation & Advocacy, 4 issues




Argumentation & Advocacy, Editor




Argumentation Conference




Ballot expenses




Debate Conference




ED&P Committee




Finance Committee




Forensics Developmental Conference








NDT Committee




NIET Committee




PD&S Committee




Research Awards




Web Site Maintenance/Internet











Total expenses:





Unbudgeted reserve







Total, Expenses plus reserve






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