Annual Meeting Minutes

AEJMC 2017
Mass Communication & Society Division
Annual Business Meeting
Chicago, IL

Division Head Jennifer Kowalewski called the MCS Business Meeting of the 2017 Annual Conference to order at 6:47 p.m. Division Secretary Brendan Watson took the minutes. The Business Meeting started with reports from the various committee chairs.

Division Head, Jennifer Kowalewski

  • MCS is still number one division within AEJMC with 523 members as of last week. Jennifer noted that one reason the Division has grown is that graduate members no longer have to pay membership fees, which members voted to eliminate at the 2016 business meeting
  • Jennifer also noted that there is still considerable room for growth of all divisions as 52% of people in AEJMC are not affiliated with any division or interest group. One goal of incoming AEJMC President Jennifer Greer is to find out why people aren’t joining interest groups.
  • Funds are up; the Division has $25,519, an increase from $21,323 in 2016; the journal has $411,695 in funds, an increase of $14,000 over the previous year.
  • Demographics of our board are pretty evenly split of male/female, but board membership is primarily White and Asian. Jennifer noted that AEJMC is looking at increasing diversity of those involved in the association.
  • Significant initiatives this year included MCS contributing to a grant for international study with the PR Division. The PR Division had only $250 for a grant, which they increased this year to $500; the MCS Division decided to help out PR with a matching grant of $500 for a total of $1,000. Members of the MCS Division can apply, and our members are on the committee to award the grant.
  • MCS also created our first online newsletter with the summer 2017 newsletter, thanks to Newsletter Editor/Secretary Brendan Watson.

Vice Head, Melanie Sarge

  • This year the MCS Division programmed six panels at the Annual Conference:
    – Post-tenure Productivity and Becoming a Member of University Administration – Impacts for the Field
    – Bad Science, Good Science: Improving Research in Our Field
    – Varieties of Growth Pedagogy: Teaching Media in Disruptive Environments
    – Doing Good Work for the Greater Good: Creating Mutually Beneficial Service Learning Experiences
    – Academic Myths, Demystified: The Hero’s Journey to Becoming a Good Reviewer for Journals and Conferences
    – Digital Data, Computation, and Research in Journalism/Mass Communication Linking Methodological Innovations to Theory-Building
  • MCS also sponsored a pre-conference with the Public Relations Division
  • There has been pressure from AEJMC to co-sponsor with smaller interest groups; this year we co-sponsored with the Graduate Student Interest Group along with the Media Ethics Division, Communication Theory and Methodology Division, Cultural and Critical Studies Division, Internships and Careers Interest Group, and the Communication Technology Division.
  • Melanie also reported on the diversity of panelists and moderators; panelists were evenly split between males and females; the majority of panelists were White, but three were international scholars; six were Asian; three were Black, and one was Hispanic.

Vice Head-Elect, Jay Hmielowski

  • Jay reviewed the Division mentorship program between faculty and graduate students, which started in 2016.
  • 18 people signed up: 9 faculty and 9 graduate students.
  • Jay sent a survey to participants, but only 9 sent out survey; only 2 mentees filled out survey and only 1 filled it out all of the way; 5 mentors filled out the survey.
  • Faculty expressed that the program was not well focused and wasn’t a good use of time; biggest issue that faculty mentioned in open-ended response was that after initial conversation mentors did not further contact/discussions with mentees.
  • Jay also mentioned that in his personal experience many questions he got from his mentee are questions that should in theory be better answered by mentors at the students’ universities
  • Member Robert McKeever mentioned that he had a more positive experience with his graduate student mentee.
  • Kevin Williams suggested spending some of the funds to entice activities between mentors and mentees, such as possibly planning a couple of retreat weekends with mentors/mentees during the academic year.
  • Melanie Sarge mentioned that a lot of graduate students go to Midwinter Conference and that could be a good opportunity for mentoring

MCS Journal, Fuyuan Shen

  • Fuyuan mentioned that the Journal is doing very well and thanked members for their contribution to making the journal a success.
  • One of Shen’s goals was to restructure the board and look at the review record over the past several years to make sure board members are active reviewers and that associate editors are active scholars.
  • Shen introduced two new associated editors for 2018: Patrick Meirick from the University of Oklahoma and James Ivory from Virginia Tech University.
  • The Associate editors also nominated new board members: Michael Delli Carpini, University of Pennsylvania; Jorg Matthes, University of Vienna; Erin Whiteside, University of Tennessee–Knoxville; Gi Woong Yun, University of Nevada-Reno; Leticia Bode, Georgetown University; and Renita Coleman, University of Texas-Austin.
  • In the past 12 months, the journal received 410 submissions, and the acceptance rate was 8.5%, down from 9.1% last year.
  • The Journal ranking increased and its impact factor (1.308; five-year impact factor=1.543) also increased significantly. The Journal’s Scimago Journal Ranking in communication (#35, up from #36) is now higher than JMCQ.
  • The Journal account balance is strong.
  • Upcoming special issues are on “Media, War, and Terrorism,” and “Media Theory and the U.S. Election” with a Nov. 1, 2017 deadline.

Midwinter Committee, Kelly Kaufhold                        

  • MCS again set a record-setting participation; for the first time Midwinter had simultaneous panels; MCS sponsored eight panels.
  • There were 57 submissions, 31 of which were accepted for a 54% acceptance rate.
  • Had first panel on research method on meta-analysis on communication research.
  • Participants came from all over the country and all over the world.
  • Kelly also reported on the demographics of paper judges, panelists, moderators, and discussants, noting a need to expand participation among non-white, non-male reviewers.
  • Next year Oklahoma will celebrate its 10th anniversary hosting Midwinter Conference.
  • Kelly thanked MCS for participating as reviewers and reminded members that final-year graduate students can also participate as reviewers.

Research Committee, Nan Yu

  • Nan reported that MCS had 105 submissions; three were disqualified. The number of submissions is down slightly from last year. Nan noted that it is not unusual to have some variability of submissions based on location of conference and when non-U.S. location of ICA is upcoming. Acceptance rate was 48.5%, which is consistent with acceptance rates of previous years.
  • There were three award-winning faculty papers, two student paper winners and two winners of the Moller Student Competition for papers that were part of a class project.
  • MCS had 89 reviewers for the Division, each of whom reviewed between two and five papers; Nan thanked members for reviewing.
  • Nan Yu presented demographics of paper reviewers and authors.
  • Nan also noted that MCS gets some international submissions, which is unique for AEJMC divisions.

Teaching Committee, Brian Bowe

  •  Brian highlighted some of the programs that the Teaching Committee of MCS conducts. The Teaching Committee maintains a syllabi exchange, but there are only 4 syllabi. Brian suggested that perhaps the syllabi exchange could be expanded to share discreet course assignments/projects.
  • The Teaching Committee also awards various awards:
  • The Promising Professor and Distinguished Educator awards remain active.
  • MCS hasn’t received many submissions for other, new awards, such as the teaching ideas competition, the adjunct/instructor award, and the service-learning award.
  • Brian suggested that we need to work to increase awareness of other awards as a significant goal of the Teaching Committee for the upcoming year.
  • Brian said that the Teaching Committee wants to increase participation in the syllabi exchange and perhaps add an assignment exchange for ideas on individual student projects.

PF&R Committee, Jennifer Kowalewski in place of Chair Scott Parrott

  • PF&R sponsored the panel “Bad science, good science: Improving research in our field,” which was co-sponsored with CT&M. The panel brought together editors from some of the top journals to discuss how to improve the quality of published research.
  • PF&R also sponsored two off-site tours at Chicago Tribune and Chicago Public Media. Jennifer noted that there were approximately 12 slots still available for the Chicago Public Media tour.

Awards Committee, Jennifer Kowalewski presented awards in place of Chair Ben LaPoe

  • Jennifer noted that the Division used to do awards at the business meeting, but now it presents awards at the Friday awards luncheon, which was continued from 2016 based on positive feedback.

Communications Committee, Jack Karlis

  • Jack reported on social media growth; the Division’s following has increased 13% on Facebook; 20% on Twitter; and 51% on LinkedIn; as of July 2017, the Division had 26 followers on its recently-launched Instagram page.

New Business

Assessment Overview, Jennifer Kowalewski

  • MCS Division underwent 5-year assessment and passed with flying colors.
  • There were a couple of ideas that the assessment committee mentioned:
  • One idea is to expand the slate beyond just the Head’s input to include Vice Head and Vice Head-Elect.
  • Another issue is how to get people to move through leadership positions in the Division; one idea is to clear some of the path.
  • First proposed change to the bylaws is to make it so that the Head, Vice Head, and Vice Head-Elect put forth the slate of officers at the annual MCS Business Meeting and that nominations could be made from the floor during the MCS Business Meeting at which the election is held.
  • Brendan Watson mentioned it is a good idea to leave positions for which there is no interest from existing board open until the Business Meeting to get new members interested.
  • Kevin Williams suggested we need a process for people to openly run for office.
  • Kevin Williams made a friendly amendment to change language to “before or during” the convention; revision with amendment passed unanimously.
  • The second proposed change to the bylaws, that the Head, Vice Head, and Vice Head-Elect will appoint committee members was also unanimously approved.
  • The third proposed change to the bylaws concerned movement into leadership; the proposed language read: “Before an MCS Officer can become Vice Head-Elect of the MCS Division he/she should be a successful Division Officer in multiple positions. The person appointed also must have served as either Research Chair or Midwinter Chair. If no suitable candidate is available, the Head, Vice Head, and Vice Head Elect may appoint someone.”
  • Brian Bowe moved to offer a friendly amendment to change language to add “committee”
  • Brian also asked if we’d “accept credit” from other divisions; Jennifer K. said that we probably would not.
  • Revision to bylaws with revision passed unanimously; the approved language read: “Before an MCS Officer can become Vice Head-Elect of the MCS Division he/she should be a successful Division Officer in multiple positions on different committees. The person appointed also must have served as either Research Chair or Midwinter Chair. If no suitable candidate is available, the Head, Vice Head, and Vice Head-Elect may appoint someone.”

Goals for Division, Melanie Sarge

  • Melanie noted that several years ago the Division had created a committee to decide what to do with its money; one suggestion was to create $100,000 endowment fund; it was voted on (and approved) at the 2016 business meeting, but had not been done. Jennifer and Melanie Sarge were going to make sure that the endowment fund is established as soon as possible.
  • MCS is also renegotiating its contract with Taylor and Francis to publish the Mass Communication and Society Journal. The contract was last negotiated seven years ago.
  • Members voted unanimously to allow Division Head, Vice-Head, and Journal Editor to negotiate the contract with Taylor and Francis.
  • Kevin Williams suggested that we perhaps hire Stephen Perry as a consultant. Jennifer noted that Perry has been doing that courtesy for free.
  • AEJMC wants us to do more with our journal funds; a sub-committee is going to be led by Melanie Sarge to generate ideas.
  • Melanie also noted that the Division needs to improve communication. Melanie is going to look into using AEJMC’s email marketing program to improve email/communication.
  • Melanie said she also wants to make sure officers are aware of their position responsibilities.
  • She also wants to increase panel suggestions and increase application for awards and paper submissions. Melanie noted again that overall the Division needs to do a much better job of promotion and communication.
  • The final goal is to look to further improving the mentoring program.


  • Kevin Williams suggested again that we have the money and that we need to spend it; Williams suggested again perhaps having a retreat for the Executive Committee to brainstorm yearly goals.
  • Melanie Sarge presented the slate of 2017-2018
  • Graduate Student Liaison Chair position is open; Torie Fowler, Ph.D. student at the University of Southern Mississippi volunteered to serve.
  • Slate with Gradate Student Liaison Chair was unanimously approved.
  • Lastly, the membership voted on the location of the 2021 AEJMC Annual Conference. The tally was: Austin, Texas (11); New Orleans, LA (9); St. Louis, MO (0) and Kansas City, MO (0).
  • The meeting adjourned at 8:13 p.m. for members to attend MCS Division social at Pinstripes.