Kathleen D. Roe 2014-02-11 11:04:50
SAA is small in size compared to national professional organizations for lawyers, historians, real estate brokers, teachers, and librarians. But it’s not all about numbers— SAA can lay claim to being “big” in important ways. We deal with big issues and big needs, and we’re fortunate to enjoy a really “big” commitment among our members to the profession and to furthering the work and impact of archives. Many of you already give generously of your time and energy to move the Society forward by serving on a committee, board, task force, or working group or as an SAA representative to an external group. Your service makes a big difference to the organization, to the profession, and to each of us individually. If you’re among those who would like to serve but aren’t sure how to volunteer, here’s a quick tutorial about joining the “big” crowd of our colleagues who already are involved in the workings of SAA. As SAA vice president, it’s my honor and responsibility to make the appointments that will take effect in August 2014.Generally this means filling about onethird of the more than 240 appointed positions within SAA. I’m delighted (and relieved) to have the good counsel of five of our colleagues who’ve agreed to serve as the 2014 Appointments Committee.The committee is chaired by Nancy Lenoil from the California State Archives. She is joined by Michelle Ganz from Lincoln Memorial University, Helen Kim from Visual Communications, and Christie Peterson from Johns Hopkins University.Herb Hartsook of the University of South Carolina, last year’s Appointments Committee chair, will serve as an ex officio member. The Appointments Process Here’s how the appointments process works: The committee solicits volunteers from the membership via a web form (see www2 .archivists.org/membership/volunteer). After the deadline, the committee takes nominations from the current leaders of our various groups based on the volunteer pool. And then the committee works its way through the entire list of vacancies and volunteers, giving careful attention to balancing the needs of each group. We’ll follow SAA’s longstanding policy to make appointments that reflect the diversity of our membership, from years in the profession to race, ethnicity, gender, geographic region, and repository type. I make all final decisions about appointments. Is there really a chance to be appointed through this process? Archives breeds skeptics, but, yes, we honestly strive to make the process transparent and open to all. To improve your chances of being appointed, don’t volunteer for every group (as some have done in the past); instead, focus on one or two groups and make a case for why serving on that group aligns with your background and/or your passion. To ensure as many people as possible can serve, we adhere to the rule that an individual may be elected or appointed to only one position at a time, and those appointed are not reappointed to a second term unless there is a critical requirement for particular expertise or to complete a body of work. So check out the list of appointments available.If you’re not familiar with the group or position, look at the SAA website to review the group’s description, see what recent work has been done, and even talk to people who are currently involved. (Group descriptions, microsites, and rosters can be viewed via the “Groups” tab on the main navigation bar at www.archivists.org.) Whether you’re into advocacy, standards, continuing education, publications, or even finance (okay, numbers make me nervous), there are many fascinating, perplexing, and exciting issues and opportunities that need the energy and attention of our members. Working on issues and topics together with others of like (and different!) Mind is an incredible opportunity to grow professionally and personally, an opportunity that I’ve valued throughout my career. If there are more volunteers than positions available—which unfortunately can be the case—there are other ways to be engaged: Volunteer for service in your favorite roundtable or section. Propose an Annual Meeting session. Or get started by attending a meeting of a committee or board, working group, or the Council. All SAA group meetings are open to members, and we’re always delighted to have visitors. I hope you’ll put your name forward as a volunteer, or encourage a talented colleague to do so—and I look forward to the possibility of working with you to serve SAA and our profession!
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