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About COPAA: Minutes of the Annual COPAA Meetings

2013 Annual Meeting of Consortium of Practicing and Applied Anthropology Programs (COPAA)

March 21, 2013, Denver, Colorado

Prepared by Kerry D. Feldman, Secretary

COPAA Member Department Representatives in Attendance:
Lisa Henry, University of North Texas
Jeremy Spoon, Portland State University
Charles Klein, Portland State University
Toni Copeland, Mississippi State University
Linda Bennett, University of Memphis
Keri Brondo, University of Memphis
Hsain Ilahiane, University of Kentucky
Nancy Romero-Daza, University of South Florida
Elizabeth Briody, Cultural Keys, LLC
Sherri Briller, Wayne State University
Sally Callaher, University of Alaska Anchorage
Kerry Feldman, University of Alaska Anchorage
Wendy Vogt, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
David Colón-Cabrera, University of Maryland
Matthew Lauer, San Diego State University

Order of Business

1. Welcome by Lisa Henry, Co-Chair of COPAA

2. New Member Department Report: Nancy Romero-Daza

• New department member this year: San Diego State University
• Currently we have 29 member departments
• We need to be thinking about possible new member invitations this year (last year the Anthropology Department of Portland State University, became a member). A possible new member this year or in 2014 is Bloomsburg University.

3. COPAA Session Reports for this year’s SfAA conference

Three successful COPAA sessions occurred this year:
1. Applied Program Programs Culturally Speaking
2. Anthropology and the Engaged University: New Vision for the Discipline
3. The Ideal Preparation for Admission to MA and PhD Programs in Applied Anthropology: A Roundtable Discussion with Graduate Faculty Members

Discussion About COPAA Sessions:
Session 1 (from above). Departments had a difficulty understanding the session question initially: Discussing their departmental cultures in preparing students for careers in applied anthropology outside of academia. A goal was to learn about the differences among applied anthropology programs, especially for students considering such programs who desire employment outside of academia. E. Briody noted that a book will soon be published by NAPA called the Handbook of Practicing Anthropology (an E-Book, for sale as a paperback for $49), which will have information about employment and working in non-academic settings. David (student representative) noted that perhaps department faculty thought the question related to tenure and promotion issues. Elizabeth explained that the session aimed at departmental culture questions such as how do students relate to faculty, and how are department programs structured to relate to organizations outside of the campus. Sherri noted that applied program faculty have a difficulty introducing themselves to other departments in that anthropological work is so broad. Jeremy noted that this depends on whether the department faculty are primarily applied anthropologists or not. The session was well-attended and was selected as a Podcast session of this SfAA. Those who didn’t attend the session can hear it on the SfAA podcast offerings, in April, 2013 (these Podcasts began in 2007 by UNT, and UNT students continue the tradition).

Session 2. L. Bennett noted that this was a well-attended session, as were the other two COPAA sessions. Although only four departments gave papers about their engaged work in this particular session (two had been held previously at SfAA), all nine essays from different universities will be submitted for publication in Annals of Anthropological Practice, a refereed journal of the National Association for the Practice of Anthropology (NAPA), co-edited by Linda Bennett and Linda Whiteford. In less than two weeks, the papers and introduction will be sent to the publisher. She noted that the aim of COPAA sessions now involves having some of them published (due to an expressed interest in this by member departments).

Session 3. This was another packed session. Lisa noted that we have a session on a topic like this regularly and some members thought we might offer other topics for sessions in the future. However, departments at the meeting thought we should offer this kind of session topic each year or every other year because there are always new faculty and students who need to be aware of the issues related to the session (ideal preparation for admission to MA or PhD programs in applied anthropology).

Questions: Who was the intended audience for this session - faculty or students? It was suggested that there needs to be more time for student questions at the end of a roundtable discussion on this topic.

Should it be offered as a workshop for students? Perhaps students bring their questions to a workshop for discussion by faculty. Also, should recently graduated students be on the panel? David noted that the U of Maryland has a panel discussion for students considering graduate school in any field, addressing questions such as: What is graduate school? How does the undergraduate student experience differ from that of a graduate school experience, in expectations, how to apply, etc.. Perhaps we could Podcast this kind of session then have a workshop on the topic.

Portland State U department of anthropology has a course/training offering for students about the transition from classroom learning to conducting research. UNT has a pre-internship course for anthropology students.

Perhaps COPAA should offer a series of sessions on career trajectories for students, maybe with an all-practitioner panel. David said he could take more of a leadership role in this regard, contacting students at other universities. Riall Nolan at Purdue U. is offering students something along these lines. Elizabeth noted that the NAPA website will soon have information on how students might find employment outside of academia. Elizabeth suggested that COPAA might look at the questions students offered to the recent NAPA survey about graduate programs in applied anthropology for identifying topics for next year’s COPAA sessions.

4. COPAA Listserv: Lisa Henry

COPAA switched to a Listserv from a Yahoo discussion group format recently, which Lisa will oversee. It is a closed group Listserv, meaning someone must request to be included. Members of the Listserv can post attachments, unsubscribe and re-subscribe as they wish.

5. Treasurer’s Report: Wendy Vogt for Gina Sanchez Gibau and Jeanette Dickerson Putman

A new bank account was opened at Chase bank. The account will have a $15 a month fee until we have $7,500 on deposit. Our end balance as of 02/28/11 is $4,266.59. The members present voted to increase dues from $110 per department to $125 to reflect increased costs. Several departments are in arrears and follow-up reminders should be sent. We now have identified whom to notify on each campus about paying dues.

Gina was asked to look into using PayPal for how member departments can pay annual dues using PayPal.

Member departments present at this meeting wanted COPAA to identify unpaid dept members and request payment of dues via email.

6. Student Representative Report: David Colón-Cabrera, University of Maryland

David’s report reflected issues of students at the U of Maryland. David noted an “inherent tension” between M.A. and Ph.D. level students at the U of Maryland and asked how to deal with it. David thought M.A. students faced the challenge of completing internships (non-research-based) in contrast to PhD students who have the challenge of completing research projects. In addition, B.A. level students at the U of Maryland typically don’t realize anthropology is a viable major until their junior or senior year. Faculty don’t “reach out,” in his view, to non-anthropology majors enrolled in anthropology courses who might be interested in anthropology. In addition, U of Maryland faculty do not inform undergraduate students about careers in applied anthropology to the extent this could be done.

7. COPAA Visiting Fellows Program Report: Lisa Henry and Keri Brondo

COPAA has so far awarded three departments with a Visiting Fellowship: U of South Florida, U of Memphis and the U of North Texas. After another award is given, it was thought that COPAA should have a session at another SfAA conference with the four departments talking about how the Visiting Award Program worked for their departments

8. New Co-Chair

Toni Copeland was selected as the COPAA Co-Chair, 2013-2016, to replace Nancy Romero-Daza whose term of office ends this year. Current Terms of Office of the other two Co-Chairs of COPAA:
Lisa Henry (2010-14)
Sue Hyatt (2011-15)

9. Practitioner Advisory Board: Nancy

We need to add another practitioner to the PAB; we are open to suggestions.

10. COPAA Program Offerings in Future Conferences

1. American Anthropological Association meeting in Chicago, fall, 2013. There will be a Round Table discussion that includes four anthropologists and community partners, with breakout discussions. The focus will be on the different models COPAA departments have developed for establishing internships (internships will be a theme of the AAA meetings in Chicago, fall, 2013).

An AAA session idea. Is it a good idea for more doctoral programs emphasizing applied anthropology develop such graduate programs? In short, will more PhD programs in applied anthropology be needed/offered? Some traditional PhD degree students do find employment outside of academia in applied/practicing anthropology careers. But many practitioner positions are filled by M.A. degree students with degrees that focus on applied anthropology. At the same time, some positions require a PhD in anthropology. Should we sponsor a AAA session addressing the issue of the kinds of degrees needed for various non-academic positions in anthropology? This kind of session could “go with” a “career-building session” offered by COPAA which would include PhD alumni from applied anthropology degree programs; they could be asked to discuss their careers and experience that prepared them for those careers.

Keri Brondo noted that CoPAPIA needs to replace its student member. She is open to suggestions.


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Lisa Henry
Co-Chair, COPAA
Associate Professor
Department of Anthropology
University of North Texas
1155 Union Circle #310409
Denton, TX 76203
940-565-4160
lisa.henry@unt.edu