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Minutes for ATHEN Annual Meeting 2011

November 16, 2011 Accessing Higher Ground Conference, Westminster Colorado

Ron Stewart opened the meeting at 6:35 pm by identifying what the organization is and what it does. He also passed out agendas.

Elections (Dan Comden)

Election was for the office of Vice President and the office of Treasurer. There was only one candidate for each position. Heidi Scher has been reelected as Treasurer. Teresa Haven was elected Vice President.

Treasury Report (Heidi Scher)

  • 11/1/2010 Beginning Bank Balance: $1397.42
  • Income (membership): $2428.79
  • Expenses: -$645.56
  • Refund expected: $160.28
  • 11/1/1011 Anticipated Ending: $3340.93

It is anticipated that we will make a contribution of $2500 to the AHG conference.

Business Plan (Howard Kramer and Ron Stewart)

The business plan has been created. Ron is concerned that not enough people made comments on the business plan when it was put forward for comment. Also, because not enough people voted on it, and we have a majority requirement according to our bylaws, we will have to have another election to cover it. Howard's concern is that without paid staff, progress is very slow. It can take a long time when people are trying to find time in their already busy schedules to do the things that need to be done. Creating a business plan and increasing dues may give us more forward movement. This forward momentum should garner additional memberships and better networking opportunities for the group. The idea is to spend $5000-7500 paying to have the website worked on, make more connections, etc. The proposal is to raise individual dues to $75 per person, and $200 for institutional memberships. Discussion about the value-added to what the dues get a member. Sean Keagan talked about the website. As part of the business plan, it is important that we bring in other resources to the website, and also to be able to provide elections and other membership perks through the website. Would like anyone who is already blogging to add content to the website. If anyone is interested in providing content, they should see Sean. Business plan will be published soon, and election will be held around the end of the year.

Collaboration (Greg Kraus, Terrill Thompson)

Greg reported on a collaboration being done with Google regarding making Google apps accessible. Testing by Google was done basically on screen reading software, but there were other AT products that needed to be tested. The collaboration allowed the group to report to Google what problems existed, but Google did not seem to be as receptive as the group would have liked. There has been no resolution nor any kind of closing of the loop on the concerns. Hadi is working on some collaborations with some online learning systems, including D2L and Blackboard. We like to work on these collaborations, but we will not provide a stamp of approval or certification that their product is accessible. But we are willing to test and to present with them when the product does go live. Greg is going to be working with Turning Point in the near future. Anyone who wants to participate in this collaboration should contact him through the listserv.

Ejournal (Terrill Thompson)

The eJournal has been dormant since 2009. And Norm Coombs had an eJournal that was dormant since 2005. DO-IT did work on Norm's ITD eJournal over the summer, and upgraded it for current use. Norm is suggesting that the two journals be combined into one, perhaps reviving them both this way. We cannot seem to get enough articles to keep the journal alive. Ron also approached AHEAD about maybe using some of the articles that they reject or don't get published. Being able to do this would require an editorial group/committee. It was suggested that people on any sort of editorial committee commit to at least one article a year. Another suggestion was to ask pre-tenured faculty to provide articles, as they are needing to be published to get tenure. There has to be incentive for people to write. The articles need to be quality, and good information, but don't need to be deep research or that involved. Ron asked if someone was willing to do this work. Teresa Haven is still committed to doing it. Several other members were interested in being involved too.


Professional Development (Ron Stewart). There is a need for this group to move forward. Ron cannot continue to work with this, he has no time. Scholarship. Scholarships were designed to allow an Athen member to sponsor a student to attend AHG. Vendors would pay for the scholarship. The grunt work has been done, but a committee needs to complete the work. Communications. There is a need for a communications committee to take on the web space, the eJournal. If you are interested in working on any of these committees, they should contact Ron directly to volunteer.

Other Business

Terrill has an opportunity for people to present video of supportive individuals on campus (especially upper-level campus representatives) for a project to be produced around mid-December. See Terrill if you would like to help.