Frequently Asked Questions
A. Mission Statement
- Serve as advocate for interest around which the section is formed.
- Sections focus attention on and give voice to the concerns that form the section’s particular areas of interest.
- Sections focus expertise and interest in the professional functions and responsibilities to carry out the archival profession’s mission to identify, administer, and promote the use of records of enduring value.
- Encourage and provide communication.
- Sections provide a forum for members to discuss matters of interest within the Society.
- Sections provide channels of communication from the section to the membership of the Society and to the Council on matters of concern to the section.
- Perform work.
- Sections are responsible for advancing the work of the profession within their field of practice.
- Sections provide mechanisms for members to initiate activities of common interest.
- Sections review material referred to them by the Council for comment or action.
- Sections can formulate specific projects, for which task forces would be created to execute the projects.
- Sections give an institutionalized opportunity for members to focus on a longer term basis and in a national forum on specific matters of practical interest.
- Integrate new members.
Sections provide a vital mechanism for new members to become active in the work of the Society and the group, and to meet members with common interests.
- Membership in sections requires the individual to be a member of the Society.
- Society members are limited to two Section memberships and must formally sign up with the SAA office for section membership.
- The SAA office maintains the official lists of section members.
- Develop leadership
The sections, as well as their various subgroups (if any), offer opportunities to their members to take leadership in working with and for their colleagues. Through the years a considerable number of the elected and appointed positions within SAA have been filled by persons who began their leadership role within sections.
B. Goals and Areas of Activity
- Each section will adopt and maintain a statement of goals and objectives indicating the general concerns and intended areas of work of the section. Section goals should be clearly articulated with reference to implementation strategies and activities. Sections should be specific about their objectives and activities and periodically examine their mission and goal statements for currency. The statement of goals and objectives may be changed as the section sees fit; information on any changes should be included in the annual report submitted to the Council. Sections should make explicit reference to their annual goals in their annual reports.
- As governing units of the Society, sections are expected to contribute to the professional discourse and advance the Society’s priorities as identified by the Council. Sections have an obligation to respond to requests or tasks assigned to them by the Council.
- Sections are charged to be active in four areas:
- They identify and consider issues in which a significant number of members have an interest. Members may investigate different facets of the issues, then report and discuss their findings during section meetings and through section communications.
- They recommend to the Council – through reports, action items, or discussion items submitted on the Council Report Template – or positions the section believes appropriate for SAA. The Council remains the policy-setting body for SAA, and only it can promulgate a formal position for SAA or any of its constituent bodies.
- They suggest program sessions for the SAA Annual Meeting and, with the advice of the executive director, plan section functions for the SAA Annual Meeting (e.g., the Finding Aids Fair of the Description Section).
- They communicate their activities to the Society at large by publishing information about their work on their websites and on SAA’s main website.
C. Recognition and Standing
- The Council will establish SAA sections for groups organized to advance professional practice within broad areas of common archival interest and affiliation, such as institutional settings, archival functional categories, record formats, or programmatic activities. The Council will consider the merits of each application in light of existing SAA groups and the accompanying statement of intent and goals.
- New applications for recognition as a section must be submitted no later than the posted deadline each year for submitting agenda items for the winter Council meeting, so that Council action can occur before the next Annual Meeting.
- Application by petition will include signatures, in paper or electronic form, of at least 300 members of SAA, a publishable statement of purpose and goals of the Section, and a statement about why a separate section would be advantageous to the Society.
- Sections that do not maintain an official membership level of at least 300 members for two consecutive years may be dissolved after due notice and an opportunity for section officers to appeal. The Council will offer to designate such groups as roundtables without re-application.
- Should a section decide that the more informal status of roundtable would better suit its ends, it may petition the Council for a change in status.
D. Membership, Meetings, and Other Privileges
- SAA members are eligible for membership in any two sections. The SAA office maintains the official list of section members.
- Each section is guaranteed space and support at the SAA Annual Meeting for a two-hour annual membership meeting. A portion of this time may be used for meetings of constituent groups, as deemed appropriate by the section. Sections will be supplied with basic equipment to support their membership meetings.
- Sections will receive priority support from the Society’s budget for special projects approved by the Council. Sections will also receive electronic communication support in the form of website hosting and electronic lists.
- Internal leadership
- Every section will have a chair, a vice-chair/chair-elect, and a minimum of two steering committee members chosen by election.
- Section officers and steering committee members must be SAA members in good standing.
- Sections may elect or appoint additional officers and members to the steering committee. Sections are encouraged to retain continuity and recruit leadership by designating other positions of responsibility (eg, web coordinators, committee chairs, etc), to carry out the program and work of the section.
- The chair and vice-chair/chair-elect serve consecutively. The vice-chair/chair-elect succeeds the chair at the conclusion of the Annual Meeting that coincides with the term of office. All officers and committee members begin their terms at the close of the SAA Annual Meeting.
- The term of office and the number of consecutive terms that a person may serve in one section office or on the steering committee will be set in the section’s bylaws.
- To ensure their alignment with SAA’s governance documents, bylaws and subsequent changes should be reviewed by the executive director or her/his designee before the section membership votes to adopt them. Once adopted, new or revised bylaws must be submitted for approval by the Council to ensure that they become part of the permanent record as a component of Council meeting minutes.
- Sections are encouraged to create special or standing subcommittees in order to execute the goals of the section, develop leaders, and recruit members into the Society.
- Section elections
- Sections will conduct annual elections via an online ballot system provided by the SAA staff. Members must vote via the online ballot.
- Formal calls for nominations will be issued by the section leadership and collected by June 1.
- Basic ballot information (e.g., introductory message to voters, listing of offices, number of vacancies for each, names of candidates, and links to candidate statements) will be submitted to the SAA staff by June 15.
- Supplementary ballot information (e.g., candidate photos, biographies, and statements), if desired, will be posted by the section leaders to the section website by July 1.
- Online ballots containing basic ballot information will be prepared by staff and made accessible during the first week of July and will remain open for at least two weeks.
- Section members who are in good standing on June 30 are eligible to vote. Members who join after this date will be eligible to vote during the following year.
- Ballot results will be reported by staff to the section leaders in order to be announced at the Annual Meeting.
- Sections are incubators for developing leaders who go on to take leadership positions within SAA at other levels of responsibility. Leadership development is a more productive process in an organizational environment that nurtures consultation and participation.
- Section leaders are to be appropriately consulted in the decision-making and deliberative processes of the Society. Whenever possible, section leaders should be included in appointments to committees and task forces, when such appointments are appropriate to inform the subject or achieve a diversity of opinion.
F. Annual Reporting Requirements
- Leadership Report: The chair of each section will convey to the executive director or designee an electronic list of the names of section officers and steering committee members within 14 days of the close of the Annual Meeting. The chair will include in that list all individuals who should be subscribed to the official SAA leadership list.
- Section Annual Report: Each section, like all SAA groups, is required to present an annual report for review by the Council. Section annual reports must be filed with the SAA executive director within 90 days of the close of the Annual Meeting. (Download the Section and Roundtable Annual Report Template.) The annual report should be a brief summary that includes the following:
- An accurate list of section leaders and contact information.
- A verified count of Annual Meeting attendees.
- A summary of work accomplished.
- A summary of any activities relating to SAA's strategic plan.
- Goals and plans for the coming year.
- Other pertinent information on section activities.
- Section annual reports will be posted on the section's website.
- The section may be placed on probationary status or lose Section privileges if it fails to complete and file an annual report within six months of an Annual Meeting. Failure to file an annual report within one year of the close of the Annual Meeting will result in a notice from the president of the section’s dissolution. Sections receiving such notice may file an appeal with the Council.
G. Consultation with the Council
- The SAA president will extend an invitation to section leaders to attend the annual Leadership Orientation and Forum. Attendance for section leaders is strongly encouraged.
- The Council is responsible for addressing section matters, making recommendations about section matters, and communicating actions concerning sections to the leaders. Each section is assigned a Council liaison, who is the primary contact for section leaders with the Council. Any concerns that section leaders have with their assigned Council liaison should be discussed with the executive director or the SAA president.
- Sections will provide to the SAA staff key leadership information for display on the main SAA website. This information will be reviewed annually by the section steering committee and used to orient officers and steering committee members. The information should include, at a minimum, up-to-date versions of the following:
- A statement of purpose and current goals.
- The section bylaws.
- Specific duties of the officers, including their reporting requirements.
- Information on officers and activities from the section's annual reports.
- Section websites, e-mail discussion lists, document workspaces, and online social networks will conform to the Uniform Guidelines for SAA Websites and Online Communications
- The SAA office will contact section chairs, in time for publication in the Annual Meeting program, to request information on plans for the section meeting at the Annual Meeting.
I. Funding for Section Activities
- Sections will receive priority support from the Society’s budget for special projects approved in advance by the Council.
- SAA’s fiscal year extends from July 1 to June 30. Budget requests from sections will be submitted to the executive director via the SAA Component Group Funding Request Form no later than March 1.
- Funds allocated to a section during one fiscal year are not carried over to the next fiscal year. If an allocation must be deferred to the next year, the section must formally request funding for that year in a new SAA Component Group Funding Request Form.
- A Section must receive authorization from the Council to spend any monies or commit any monies to be spent. Although exceptions can be made, the Council expects to appropriate monies for section activities through the regular budget process.
- If a section wishes to seek resources (in cash or in kind) from any source outside of SAA, Executive Committee approval must be obtained in every instance before approaching the source. Proposals should be routed through the section's Council liaison with sufficient time for consideration by the Executive Committee, which will respond within 30 days.
J. Use of SAA Name, Logo, and Auspices
- The use of SAA’s name, logo, and auspices for publications, meetings, mailings, websites, social networks, electronic communications, and other activities is available only through specific provision of the Council and will conform to the Uniform Guidelines for Use of the SAA Logo.
- Although sections are within the SAA structure, they are not empowered to take action in the name of SAA, or request money in the name of SAA or the section itself without specific prior authorization from the Council. This firm rule is required to protect SAA and its members from potential legal complications.
Approved by the SAA Council: September 1989
Revised: January 1991, February 1992, January 1993, March 2007, July 2008, February 2010, March 2011, June 2012, January 2013, July 2013, January 2014.