Danna C. Bell with Herbert Hartsook and Sharmila Bhatia 2014-02-11 11:39:26
Whenever I meet a newly minted archivist, I always encourage him or her to get involved with SAA. Whether or not an individual can afford to attend the Annual Meetings, there are many opportunities to become active in roundtable and section leadership and eventually in the committees, task forces, and working groups that support the SAA leadership. A lot of people are interested in these positions and wonder how the appointments process works. The Appointments Process Because SAA is a volunteer-based and volunteer-driven organization, it was wonderful to see so many applicants for the available appointed positions in 2013–2014. The depth of talent of our membership is amazing. A major challenge of the appointments process (which is, quite frankly, exhausting, frustrating, and seemingly never-ending) is that there are many more outstanding applicants than there are positions. The 2013–2014 Appointments Committee is populated with members who have served SAA in a variety of diverse roles. They have knowledge of the needs of SAA and the skills of its members. SAA staff provides a variety of tools to the committee, including a schedule to help streamline the process. Staff also supplies the chairs of various boards and committees with lists of individuals seeking appointment to their group. Those chairs then may alert the Appointments Committee to any individuals whom they think might make particularly strong contributions. Observations As the Committee reviewed applications, we were reminded of the comments of Jackie Dooley and Scott Schwartz in their article in the July/August 2012 Archival Outlook. We discovered, as Jackie and Scott learned in 2012, that more than half of the applicants did not provide all the information requested in the application. We also agreed that it would be helpful if volunteers indicated which of their specific skills, knowledge, and experience would make them a good fit for a committee appointment. Although having archival experience is beneficial, we are also looking for other skills that will support the work of an appointed group. In addition, instead of applying for those positions that truly excited them, a number of people applied for every position available. It is helpful for applicants to choose committees they are interested in and also to do a bit of research to learn more about the activities of the committee. For example, serving on a Host Committee is more than just sitting behind the Annual Meeting registration desk and handing Out name badges. It involves exploring venues, writing blog posts to encourage attendance, and rallying local members to offer repository tours and find community service opportunities. It is not a job that can be done remotely by someone who can volunteer for an hour or so a week. By the Numbers We received applications from 285 members, and while we strive for diversity in all our appointed groups, it can be very hard when our applicant pool skews one way or another. For example, we had three times as many women apply for positions as men. Nearly double the number of archivists from colleges and universities applied as did archivists from all other kinds of repositories combined. Geographically speaking, the largest number of applicants came from the Northeast/Mid- Atlantic region, followed by the South. We were thrilled to see the number of new members and new archivists who applied. But we still have much work to do to encourage people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds to apply to serve on appointed groups. The appointments process is nearly complete. If you weren’t appointed this year, please apply again. Vice President/ President-Elect Kathleen Roe will begin her appointments process with a call for volunteers this fall. Shout-Outs Special thanks go to the Appointments Committee—Herbert Hartsook (Chair), Sharmila Bhatia, Thomas Rosko, and Teresa Mora—for their hard work during this process. And to those who applied for an appointed position: Thank you for your patience throughout this long process! Our association could not do its good work without your talent, contributions, and commitment.
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