April 2017 - In This Issue:


APRIL 17, 2017
Conference Survey Opens

MAY 1, 2017
Conference Survey Closes

MAY 12, 2017
Nominations for Committee Volunteers Due

Dear SCMS Members,

With Chicago 2017 now behind us, it is time to reflect on the events of another great SCMS conference!  A big thank you goes out to all of you who brought your talents to bear, whether it was in presenting high quality work, or in hosting timely and provocative events.  The feedback we have received on this year's content has been overwhelmingly positive, so we hope you enjoyed it.

As always, we owe a large debt of gratitude to our conference management team consisting of Leslie LeMond, Del LeMond, Ginger Leigh, and this year's new addition, Sherrie Reyna, who all worked nearly around the clock throughout the week attending to a mind-bending array of details, both large and small.  I also congratulate Bruce Brasell, Molly Youngblood, and Marcia Tillison for not only surviving, but thriving in their new roles at conference registration.  This year's conference set-up, spread over two distinct locations, brought with it an additional workload for the team, so I wish to both recognize their efforts, and applaud them for pulling it off so seamlessly and with good humor!

In closing, I would like to take a minute to remind you that it is time to consider volunteering for service or, perhaps, nominating one of your fellow members, for the 2017-2018 membership year.  Committee service is an excellent way to play an active role in SCMS.  The Nomination/Volunteer page of the website has gone live and will remain so until 5:00 PM CDT on Friday, May 12 .

Should you have any questions or concerns about any of the soon to be implemented changes described in this issue, don't hesitate to contact a member of the Board of Directors, or me at the Home Office at .

Thank you for your dedication and service to SCMS.

Jill Simpson

Conference Highlights
Thank you to all who participated in the 2017 Chicago Conference! This year was another big success. Our 2017 attendance numbers were 1,981, second only to 2015 attendance in Montreal. A total of 427 panels and workshops were presented during the week. We are looking forward to seeing you again next year in Toronto!
Executive Director

Financial Analyst

Program Coordinator 

Program Assistant 
President, 2015-2017

President Elect, 2015-2017

Secretary, 2015-2018

Treasurer, 2014-2017

Mary Beltrán




Cinema Journal Editor, 2012-2017

Web Content Manager

Past-President, 2015-2017

Conference Manager

Representative of Home Office

Executive Director
Bill Stamets, contributor for, attended the annual conference in Chicago this year and published a report on his experience.

Coming Soon - Conference Survey!
We hope you enjoyed your time at the 2017 Chicago Conference!  We would appreciate your feedback, as we are already thinking towards next year's 2018 Conference in Toronto.

More information on our annual conference survey is coming soon. An email with details and a link to the survey will be sent out to all attendees Monday, April 17th.

SCMS depends on the dedicated work of our membership. Each level of our governance, from the Officers and Board of Directors to members of Standing and Annual Committees are volunteers.  If you are interested in taking an active role in SCMS leadership, we urge you to volunteer for Committee service.  

To learn more about the various types of Committees that serve the SCMS membership,  click here.  

To volunteer to serve on a 2017-2018 SCMS committee, or to nominate a fellow SCMS member,  click here.  

Please note, all committee members must be current SCMS members in good standing.  The deadline for nominations is  May 12, 2017 at 5:00PM CST.  

If you have any questions regarding SCMS service, please contact the Home Office at

Recap of 2017 Members' Business Meeting
For those of you who were unable to attend the Members Business Meeting at the 2017 conference in Chicago, we are providing a recap below.
The 2017 Chicago Conference had the second highest attendance on record at 1981 registrations.  To see a chart comparing attendance from 2000-2017, please click here.

The new policy that people can only propose and serve in one capacity at the conference was instituted for a number of reasons as can be seen in the slide "One Role Policy Goals."
Our effort to improve acceptance rates was successful as can be seen i n the slide showing "2017 Acceptance Rates" and the slide showing a "Comparison to Previous Years." Our goal to increase participation was also successful.  At the same time that we cut the overall number of panels by 56, we increased the number of unique participants, as can be seen in the slide showing "Increased participation."   Survey results shown in three slides suggests that we maintained a good balance of graduate students, tenured faculty and people in part-time or non-academic jobs; and that we had a high level of participation from people based outside the US.

For next year, we are introducing two new categories.  In addition to our usual panels and workshops, we are introducing roundtables.  As seen in the slide  "New Category," this will distinguish workshops --meant to be interactive and largely related to institutional, professional, pedagogic, and administrative topics -- and roundtables - meant to be discussion-based and largely on scholarly topics.  You can find more information on workshops and roundtables here. We are also introducing seminars, as seen in the slide " New Option: Seminars." Seminars are meetings in which participants submit papers in advance of the conference, read papers ahead, and meet to discuss ideas rather than present papers. Details on how seminars will work are here.

The SCMS Board of Directors conducted a study last summer on membership rates to see how SCMS's compared to five other ACLS peer societies who have income-based fee structure. Some of the societies were similar in size and some were larger.  As you will see in our Income-Based Fee Comparison Diagram , what we found was that while SCMS's rates were fairly comparable in the middle income categories, they were in the middle-to-high range in the lowest category. Further, our rates were on the low end at the upper income levels. This information helped us in formulating three new membership rate tiers for the U.S., Canada, and Mexico/International . While the middle income rates remain unchanged, the new rates will apply to the new membership year beginning September 1, 2017.

Beginning with next year's 2018-2019 cycle,  SCMS's membership year will shift from September 1 through July 31 to July 1 through June 30. The intent of the change is to align SCMS's membership year with its fiscal year and Board terms. Additionally, by separating the membership renewal deadline from the conference proposal deadline, both which have historically fallen on August 31, we hope to create smoother membership renewal and proposal submission periods, alleviating some of the last minute stress and crunch of having two key deadlines falling on the same date.

As we transition to the new membership year scheduled to begin next year on  July 1, 2018we will prorate your rate for the 2017-2018 year so that you will only be charged for ten months: September 1 through June 30.

In considering this change, it was of primary concern how it might impact graduate students. By introducing the new reduced $55 Graduate Student category last September, well in advance of the elimination of temporary memberships, we have endeavored to reduce any potential burden as a result of this change.

At the June Board meeting, we intend to arrive at an equitable solution for dealing with the special circumstances in which you would like to include a panel or workshop participant from outside the field. We will communicate that information to you in late June.

Elimination of temporary memberships will bring SCMS into alignment with the best practices of other similarly sized societies within ACLS who view membership to their society as not only an avenue to conference participation, but a year-round benefit and commitment.

A special thank you and acknowledgement to those members who donated to the Travel Grant Fund and the SCMS General Fund this year. Your generosity generated $2,496 additional funds for Travel Grants and Waivers, which directly impacted the ability of several of our members to attend the conference!  For a breakdown of the awards, please click here .

SCMS's membership numbers rose slightly from 2971 one year ago to 3026 as of February 28. While we experienced small drops in the categories of institutional and Mexico and international members, we experienced increases in the categories of U.S. and Canada.  You can view the complete list here

Over the last twelve years, the Society has worked to grow its reserve account.  What began in the late 1990s as a small savings account, was transitioned in 2005 to a Vanguard Investment Account.  SCMS has been able to set aside a portion of its Cinema Journal revenue annually so that now, the balance and interest equate to one year of operating expenses held in reserve.  You might ask why we need the reserve.  The answer is that we have it in place to protect SCMS in the event of any unforeseen events such as the 2009 SARS pandemic that necessitated the cancellation of the Tokyo conference, or a possible financial downturn in the economy which could potentially affect our membership enrollment and conference attendance.  It is the minimum needed to ensure the Society's solvency for the future.
However, because the Society's expenses have increased over the past few years, we can no longer expect to regularly deposit all or a portion of journal revenues into the reserve account.  We are currently just meeting our annual financial obligations with earned income from that year.  To use simple terms, we are currently living from "paycheck to paycheck."  So, while we may be financially stable for the long-term, until we have increased income, we are restricted from growing any further as an organization, which includes providing additional services for our members.
The Board and the Home Office will soon begin strategizing on the creation of a big-picture development plan to increase cash flow and strengthen SCMS's overall financial health.  Further, the Board has approved the addition of three new membership categories and rates, all scheduled to take effect with the next membership cycle.  All are discussed in the meeting recap section.  Finally, what was created in 2015 as a Board ad hoc committee on investments will become a new standing Investments Committee on July 1.  More information on the Investment Committee, its mission, and the Vanguard reserve account investment portfolio are included as the last items in the recap.

In 2015, the Board appointed an ad hoc investment committee for the purposes of reviewing SCMS's reserve account portfolio to assess its performance. As of July 1, the group will become a standing committee.  As established by the Board, the Investment Committee  will consist of newly-elected Treasurer Bambi Haggins, past-Treasurer, Amanda Ann Klein, Executive Director, Jill Simpson, Financial Analyst, Bruce Brasell, and member-at-large, Jim Castonguay.  You may read more on its mission here.

In 2005, SCMS established a reserve account with Vanguard. We started small and have been able to slowly grow the reserve over the last twelve years to its current balance of just over one million dollars. That equates to a one year rainy day fund of operating costs for the Society, and is in keeping with the practices of other scholarly societies. All of the funds in our reserve have been in the same low risk/low yield 100% bond account for the last 12 years.

The ad hoc investment committee researched options for diversifying the portfolio for well over a year. In October 2016, the board voted to take 20% of our current reserve and invest it in a riskier funds.  In consideration of the committee's recommendation, the board voted to go with an S&P 500 Index Fund (500 Index Admiral Shares)  . The S&P 500 is considered a fine benchmark and the companies in the index are probably the most liquid in the world. It is an average of the 500 safest stocks and is considered a "4" risk. 

The Investment Committee will be closely monitoring the portfolio's performance.



In this episode, we talk to media studies researchers and teachers involved in protest, organizing, and public scholarship initiatives following the presidential election of 2016. Speaking with Carol Vernallis, Amanda Ann Klein, Chuck Tryon, Jorie Lagerwey, Jason Ruiz, we address a range of issues, from preparations for a Protecting the Commons workshop at SCMS 2017, to Console-ing Passions 2017 as a response to the political situation in North Carolina including HB2 and Moral Mondays, organizing local town halls, public scholarship and working abroad, the sanctuary campus movement, and pedagogical responsibilities. Throughout we feature audio excerpts (some submitted by listeners) from the Women's March, town hall protests, and other events from recent weeks.

In Memoriam

It is with sadness that SCMS notes the March 2017 passing of Brian Henderson at age 75. Professor Henderson was faculty and former chair in the Department of Media Study at the University of Buffalo, State University of New York. He joined the faculty at UB in 1974 at the inception of the Center for Media Study. Henderson retired in 2010. Henderson achieved international recognition for his scholarship in film theory including canonical works such as A Critique of Film Theory (Dutton, 1980). Henderson was a significant contributor to Film Quarterly and co-edited (with Ann Martin) the collection, Film Quarterly: Forty Years-A Selection (University of California Press, 1999). 

For further tributes to Brian Henderson, please see:  and