JUNE 25, 2005

Date:   Saturday June 25, 2005
Place:  The Michigan League

Attendees: Graeme Hirst, Andy Kehler (via speakerphone), 
           Lillian Lee, Kathy McCoy, Dragomir Radev,  
           Ellen Riloff, Evelyne Tzoukermann, Janyce Wiebe

Guests:    Bob Moore, Priscilla Rasmussen, Satoshi Sekine
Addendum:  NAACL Treasurer's report, by Dragomir Radev (June 23, 2005)
  1. Treasurer's report
  2. Secretary's report
  3. Arrangements for meetings (general discussion)
  4. Summer schools
  5. Location for the 2007 meeting
  6. HLT-NAACL 2006
[1] Treasurer's report

Dragomir Radev reviewed the Treasurer's report, included below. Some points not already covered in that report are as follows.

The approximately $4000 that the NAACL received for ACL 02 represents half of the profits, the other half going to the ACL.

The NAACL keeps all profits from HLT-NAACL 2003. SIGNLL's loss of $200 resides with the ACL.

HLT-NAACL 2004 accounting will be done in the next few months or so. It is anticipated that neither a profit nor a loss will be turned: Julia Hirschberg's budget appears to have been on target and attendance was good.

This year, approximately $8000 is expected to be allocated to support for the Johns Hopkins Summer School on Human Language Technology.

The fees and interest amounts that haven't been resolved are negligible (sometimes $30/month, sometimes $12/month, sometimes $0/month).

The NAACL shares in the profit or loss of ACL 2005, for which the current estimate is 680 participants (the budget anticipated 500).

It was noted that the NAACL has both a "true" individual account and a shadow account with the ACL. The shadow account should be used for conference dealings, as this facilitates certain transactions (such as borrowing from the ACL for deposits; incidentally, such borrowing also occurred to cover the expenses for the JHU summer school in 2004 due to an unexpected fluctuation in the NAACL's account), with balancing of the NAACL account happening later (e.g., with the ACL giving the NAACL a lump sum). However, the deposit for the Brooklyn meeting in 2006 came out of the NAACL individual account.

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[2] Secretary's report

The results of the 2004 voting (election of new members and changes to the constitution regarding term limits plus some wording updates) were reviewed.

One pending issue is the interpretation of the phrases "board member" vs. "Board Member", where the general consensus is that the the latter term does not include the Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, Past Chair, or ACL Treasurer, whereas the former term does. It was suggested that the capitalized phrase be replaced with "Member-at-large". Rather than have an independent round of voting to insert this clarification into the the constitution, it seems preferable for now to simply allow the minutes for today's meeting to serve as a record of this ***POLICY*** decision, reserving the actual voting on the requisite change(s) to the constitution for a time when other proposals for amendments should arise. This kind of procedure is also used by IJCAI, which has formal bylaws but has "in practice" instructions appear in the minutes.

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[3] Arrangements for meetings (general discussion)

--- the role of the ACL Secretariat/Business Manager ---

It was suggested that the role of the ACL business manager in helping with local arrangements be clarified. It does not seem that said role is explicitly specified in the ACL conference handbook. [A quick post-hoc scan of the local-arrangements-chair section of the handbook reveals the following passages: "Negotiating with provider(s) of accommodations: hotel and/or dormitory organizers. Centrally, this involves negotiating a contract for the services provided, with financial guarantees. The ACL Secretariat (Priscilla Rasmussen) has considerable experience in this area." and, in the section on accommodations, "Negotiating with provider(s) of accommodations: hotel and/or dormitory organizers. Centrally, this involves negotiating a contract for the services provided, with financial guarantees. The ACL Secretariat (Priscilla Rasmussen) has considerable experience in this area." (emphasis in the original)]. Most importantly, the possibility arises for confusion with regards to the degree of communication and consultation that should occur between the Local Arrangements Chair (and Co-Chair, if one has been designated) and the ACL Secretariat (in general, more consultation is probably better than less) during the initial planning phases (e.g., choosing accommodation and entertainment options).

It might also be helpful to have the role of the business manager explicitly addressed in the call for bids for hosting meetings so that potential local arrangements chairs have the right expectations.

Given that the role the business manager plays or is expected to play has not been explicitly specified, the issue of reimbursement has also not been explicitly addressed. If the business manager plays a more active official role, should he or she be reimbursed per registrant or per hour? Should there be a cap on the amount of reimbursement? How should oversight be handled? (Points of comparison: at ACL 2005 (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor), UM's conference services were used, and the lead contact there received $30/registrant. For HLT-NAACL-04, the business manager plus her elves received approximately $11,000, with $7500 budgeted for local staff. The HLT-NAACL 2006 budget lists $12,000, with $15,000 allotted for local staff salary.)

--- oversight committees for non-joint meetings ---

Previous calls for bids for hosting meetings make reference to a conference oversight committee. The oversight committee concept arose from previous joint meetings. In cases where the annual meeting is not joint, it was suggested that the oversight committee consist of the NAACL Executive Board and the conference chairs.

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[4] Summer schools

--- the LSA 2005 summer institute ---

For the Linguistic Society of America (LSA) 2005 summer institute, the NAACL contributed $2000 (while the NAACL considered this to constitute a "sponsorship", the LSA considered this to be a "co-sponsorship", distinguishing it from "sponsorship"), as the Institute held a number of courses directly related to computational linguistics. The NAACL Exec also formed a committee, consisting of Lillian Lee, Evelyne Tzoukermann, and Janyce Wiebe, to run a competition for 10%-of-tuition awards for NAACL student members attending the institute. Two inquiries and one application resulted, and $200 was duly awarded to the applicant (via direct payment, rather than through arrangements with the LSA). Thus, the overall level of interest did not seem to justify the level of organizational effort expended, so perhaps a different avenue for supporting NAACL students and/or the LSA summer institute should be explored.

--- the JHU 2005 summer school ---

While the official agreement for support of the Johns Hopkins Summer Schools in Human Language Technology has ended, the NAACL responded positively to JHU's request for support this year. (Whether the NAACL will continue to support the school depends in part on the formal student feedback the NAACL will be requesting this year.) The NAACL's competition, run by Ellen Riloff, Andy Kehler, and Evelyne Tzoukermann, for scholarships to the summer school received 12 applications. All eleven North American applications were accepted: the nine PhD students received full support, and the masters students received the equivalent of the registration fee ($350). One issue is that the JHU program is explicitly meant to encourage undergrad involvement, although it should be noted that a good number of the applicants came from (slightly) disadvantaged schools. The quality of the applicant pool was high, but it was noted that the size of the pool has been dropping (16 in the previous year, which was about half of the year before that).

The summer school itself overlaps with this year's ACL, and there seemed to have been some confusion over whether summer-school attendees were allowed to go to the ACL meeting. Also, the NAACL's application deadline was too close to JHU's housing office's deadline for determining how many rooms were going to be needed.

It was suggested that archives are needed for application forms and the like.

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[5] Location for the 2007 meeting

Evelyne Tzoukermann is organizing the competition for hosting bids; a draft of the call has been sent out to the committee. Preference for a west-coast location was discussed.

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[6] HLT-NAACL 2006

Satoshi Sekine and Bob Moore participated in a discussion of progress on planning for the 2006 meeting. A two-minute promotional video was also viewed.

--- events and facilities ---

Arrangements are being made for a July 11th meeting with the staff of the Marriott New York at the Brooklyn Bridge (tentative NAACL attendees: Ralph Grishman, Bob Moore, Priscilla Rasmussen, Satoshi Sekine). The plan is to have everything (tutorials, workshops, reception, etc.) but the banquet at the hotel.

The banquet was planned for an NYU facility with a capacity of 320. Discussion ensued about whether this was too small. Points of information: for ACL 2005, anticipated attendance was 420 for the reception and 375 for the banquet. In the previous year, banquet attendance was capped. Priscilla Rasmussen suggested planning for 550 or so for the 2006 meeting. In terms of fees, the $75 banquet fee for ACL 2005 was considered to be high.

Dorm reservations cannot be accepted until the fall, but the dorm facilities have not been committed to other parties.

Some re-tooling of the student research workshop is under consideration. One question is why the NAACL version has had low submission rates in previous years (with some scheduling glitches not necessarily explaining the problem), whereas the ACL versions have attracted high interest (including from students in North America).

--- staff and related budget items ---

On the NYU staff, aside from the Local Arrangements Chair and Co-Chair, there is Koji Murakami (a postdoc who was involved in ACL 2003) and Anne Seaton (NYU department staff "donated" by the Dean's office; Satoshi Sekine is checking to confirm the commitment). It should be noted that neither are professional event coordinators; such folks are expensive in the NYC area.

Some suggestions for handling the involvement of the ACL Business Manager, Priscilla Rasmussen, were to have her serve as additional paid staff (and thus wear two hats). To divide up the $15000 in the budget, perhaps $8K could go toward the NYU administrative costs for 3-4 months of effort, an extra $1K-$2K could be allotted towards runners in the last month, and $3-$4K could go towards the ACL Business Manager's additional time.

There was some question of whether it would be OK to use volunteers and the NAACL's own equipment, or whether union labor needs to be used.

--- budget status ---

The target for a final draft budget is the end of August.

NYU has set up an account, which allows for tax exempt status.

--- refereeing and publication software ---

The ACL executive would like reviewing timelines to be reduced from 7 weeks to six, with START software facilitating this change. ACL is renegotiating with the START administrators, and is hoping that features such as camera-ready submission will be handled. It is hoped that the publications chairs will be able to use some of the previous publications software that had been developed by people at Johns Hopkins.

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NAACL Treasurer's report

Dragomir R. Radev, June 23, 2005 As of last year's ACL conference, the balance in the NAACL shadow account was $11,820.51. Since then, we have finalized the accounting for ACL 2002 and HLT-NAACL 2003 which both brought in surpluses into the account.

This year, the NAACL exec decided to sponsor two events - the LSA summer institute and the JHU summer school. We will be spending a total of $12k on these two events.

Balance sheet as of June 20, 2005

   balance as of 04         11,820.51
   + ACL 02 surplus       +  4,083.82
   - JHU SS 2004          -  9,801.73
   - LSA 2005             -  2,200.00
   + HLT-NAACL 03 surplus + 49,087.61
A small number of charges still need to be resolved, mostly associated with the fees that the bank charges and the interest that it pays back. These should be resolved soon.

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