Nancy P. Beaumont 2016-01-16 07:48:04
Digging Deeper On November 8, the SAA Council and five staff members devoted six hours to participating in a workshop on cultural competency presented by Council member Helen Wong Smith. Enhancing archivists' cultural competency is a focus of Goal 1.3. in SAA's Strategic Plan: "Provide leadership in ensuring the completeness, diversity, and accessibility of the historical record." The purpose of the workshop was to test and expand our understanding of cultural competency. The hoped-for result was that we'd be in a better position to think about the association's role in enhancing the diversity of the historical record. What is within SAA's capability and capacity? As is most often the case, we concluded that SAA's best chance of effecting change is to engage its greatest resource—its members—in the effort. Council members agreed to dig deeper into their discussion of diversity and inclusiveness at their May 2016 meeting, to broaden the conversation by engaging members in it, and to support broadly accessible training on cultural competency. A Council working group (Amy Cooper Cary, Bergis Jules, Nancy McGovern, Helen Wong Smith, and I) has been assigned to dog the issue of cultural competency awareness, training, and programming, ensuring that members are invited to join in the conversation. "Diversity" is a value that is embedded in SAA's mission statement ("SAA promotes the value and diversity of archives and archivists") and throughout its Strategic Plan. It's a "mega issue" on which we've been working for a while. Two important advances have occurred in recent years: The Mosaic Scholarship was established by the Council in August 2008 to advance SAA's Diversity Priority: To provide financial and mentoring support to minority students pursuing graduate education in archival science, encourage students to pursue a career as an archivist, and promote diversification of the American archives profession. The award is given to applicants who manifest a commitment both to the archives profession and to advancing diversity concerns within it. Twelve individuals have been awarded Mosaic Scholarships since 2009. In the early years the scholarship was funded out of SAA operations. With the transition to the SAA Foundation in 2011, funding has relied on donations. As of today, the Mosaic Scholarship Fund has a zero balance. The Foundation's 2015-2016 Annual Appeal will focus on replenishing and rebuilding the Fund. I hope that you'll respond to the Appeal as you can.... The three-year Association of Research Libraries/SAA Mosaic Program was established in August 2013 with a generous grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Its purpose is to promote diversification of the archives and special collections professional workforce by providing financial support, practical work experience, mentoring, career placement assistance, and leadership development to emerging professionals from traditionally underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups. (Read more on page 18.) When the grant expires in 2016, we will have provided a wonderfully rich experience to sixteen program fellows whom we hope will remain in the profession throughout their careers. On October 1, Mark Puente and Sarah McGee of ARL's Diversity and Leadership Programs staff and I submitted a preliminary proposal to IMLS for the next iteration of the program that would give us three more years to expand the program and the fellows cohort. We'll learn in late November if we're invited to submit a full proposal in January. Fingers crossed! Even if we're successful this time around, we're well aware that the program cannot be sustained indefinitely with IMLS funding. SAA's Diversity Committee, the Council, and the Foundation Board have been discussing sustainability and are open to any and all ideas about how to proceed beyond Mosaic II. Please share yours!
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