Elections 2013: Voting extended to Sun., Sept. 29 at Noon


The American Catholic Historical Association will be holding its annual elections this month. Balloting will be conducted online from September 13 through September 29 at noon. Voting instructions, including passwords for accessing the online ballot, were e-mailed to all members on September 12. Please check your inbox for a message with the subject line “ACHA 2013 Elections: Instructions and Access.”

To access the ballot directly, click here.

If you have not received these instructions, please contact vote@achahistory.org. Before contacting us, we recommend that you check your spam folder if you do not see the message in your inbox.

To help members familiarize themselves with the slate of candidates, we are presenting the roster of candidates for all offices accompanied by candidate-provided statements and curricula vitae, presented below.

IMPORTANT! In order to participate in the upcoming elections, we must have a valid e-mail address on file. If you have not received e-mails from the ACHA recently or have changed your e-mail address and have not notified us of the change, please let us know immediately. Please e-mail vote@achahistory.org with your name and your current e-mail address. Thank you!


Candidates for Office

Click on a name or office for candiate-provided responses and c.v.s.

Vice President (vote one)

Executive Council, 2013-2016 (two seats)

Seat A:

Seat B:

Vice Presidential candidates

Angelyn Dries, OSF
Saint Louis University

As a past ACHA Executive Council member (2005-2008) and Chair of the ACHA Membership Committee (2008-2011), my focus was on “growing” the organization in numbers and in innovative ways to collaborate on research/writing. I and other ACHA members have met with graduate students and new PhDs for a session at the national and regional ACHA conferences in the last few years to discuss practical issues (handling the dissertation writing process, interviews, employment, etc.), to share research, and to develop professional connections between new and longstanding ACHA members. In addition to continuing that emphasis, I would work with the President and Executive Council to seek a stronger financial base to support ongoing professional interactions, such as the ACHA website, grants, and other strategies for our renewed purpose. I view the ACHA as a locus for collaboration with each other and with allied professional groups, one outcome of which might be to understand the larger ramifications of our particular content areas. I would urge exploration of ways for significant interaction with colleagues in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, as they examine the history of Catholicism in their countries, perhaps from different interpretive categories. What patterns might then emerge more broadly for global Christianity historically?


Douglas J. Slawson
National University

I will bring to the executive committee of the ACHA more than thirty-five years of experience in teaching, scholarship, and administration. I have a deep and broad interest in American history and in the history of Catholicism in America. I put it this way because for the first dozen years of my career I considered myself an American Catholic historian; I now see myself as American historian whose scholarship focuses on the American Catholic community. I suppose the shift has come mainly from having first taught in seminaries and then at National University, a private, nonprofit institution unaffiliated with any religion. My historical interests have been shaped by place and mentors resulting in publications about Catholicism pertaining to the Vincentian Fathers in the U.S., their home mission efforts, slavery and the Civil War, the struggle for black equality within the church, and diplomacy on behalf of nearby Catholic countries. The work I have done on the National Catholic Welfare Conference and Catholic education along with my current work on a biography of John J. Burke have imbued me with the historical “Americanist” vision—filtered through him and minus any of the American exceptionalism associated with it—that an inspired, vibrant Catholic community can engage with and change America. My vision for the ACHA derives from that vision, namely, that a community of vibrant, creative, innovative historians of Catholicism can engage in scholarship of such quality and significance that more of it mainstreams into secular textbooks and non-Catholic classrooms. Stated the other way around, I would like to see non-Catholic scholars engage with the work we have done and are doing in ways that shape their own scholarship. I think the pathways to this goal are mentoring young scholars into the field of Catholic study, selection of important topics of endeavor, networking, regional meetings (informal or formal), exchange of ideas with those in and out of our circle, electronic forums, etc. With regard to cyberspace, I have taught almost exclusively online for the last seven years, which has afforded me experience and knowledge of technological opportunities the ACHA might explore. During my time in administration I engaged in strategic planning and assessment. I also served for twelve years on the board of directors of the Vincentian Studies Institute, an organization similar to the ACHA.


Executive Council candidates –– Seat A


Ralph Keen
University of Illinois at Chicago

The ACHA for nearly a century has been a faithful custodian of the academic study of Catholic history. It continues in that mission by its attention to the standards of the historical profession and by providing a forum, in its publications and meetings, for original research by scholars young and old representing a range of perspectives on the tradition. I
feel that as we approach our centennial we should remain faithful to the intentions of our predecessors while finding new ways to include those to whom we will eventually be entrusting that mission. Having been involved in similar efforts at ASCH and SSCS, I would welcome the chance to increase membership and participation among younger scholars.


Francis J. Sicius
St. Thomas University (Florida)

I have been teaching history at a Catholic institution for over thirty years and have attempted to create a Catholic view of history in all my classes whether I am teaching the history of the Catholic Worker or the U.S. Civil War. I believe very much in Peter Maurin’s admonition that “when religion has nothing to do with education, education is only information: plenty of facts but no understanding.”

If elected to the Executive board I would strongly support ongoing efforts –as I see them –to increase digital access and internet use by the Association, thereby making the Association more accessible to the next generation of Catholic historians.


Executive Council candidates –– Seat B


Helen M. Ciernick
Mount Marty College (South Dakota)

I would enjoy the opportunity to serve and help the ACHA to continue growing and reaching out to archivists, scholars of other academic fields, such as historical theology, and people interested in the history of the Catholic Church. In serving the ACHA, I would draw upon my five years of service as chairperson of the Religious Studies and Philosophy Department at Mount Marty College, two years as head of the Honors Program, and several years working on conventions, in addition to other administrative and leadership experiences.


Fernanda Helen Perrone
Rutgers University

I am an archivist, curator, and faculty member at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. I have been doing research and publishing in the field of Catholic history since 1996, focusing on the archives and history of Catholic women’s higher education and women’s religious communities. My most recent publication is “From Annals to Heritage Centers: The Archives of Women’s Religious Communities,” in Perspectives on Women’s Archives: A Reader (Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2013). I have been a member of the ACHA since 2006, when I was immediately impressed by the high quality of the programs and publications, and the intimate, friendly atmosphere. The ACHA provides a space for intellectual engagement in all aspects of Catholic history, which is particularly valuable for those not working in Catholic institutions. While continuing to strengthen this role, I would like
to encourage broader participation in ACHA programs and publications through partnering and outreach with other organizations such as the Society of American Archivists, Archivists of Congregations of Women Religious, Conference on the History of Women Religious, and the History of Education
Society. At the same time, I would like to promote the important research being done by ACHA members to a wide audience.

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