Strategic Plan 2013 – 2018
(Note: The Vision and Mission Statements, Core Organizational Values, Goals, and Strategies were adopted by the SAA Council in May 2013.)
VISION : The Society of American Archivists enables archivists to achieve professional excellence and foster innovation to ensure the identification, preservation, and use of records of enduring value.
MISSION : SAA promotes the value and diversity of archives and archivists. We are the preeminent source of professional resources and the principal communication hub for American archivists.
CORE ORGANIZATIONAL VALUES:
The Society of American Archivists is committed to:
- Advancing the public standing of archivists.
- Ensuring the diversity of its membership and leaders, the profession, and the archival record.
- Fostering a culture of creativity and experimentation across the association.
- Providing an open, inclusive, and collaborative environment.
- Providing excellent member service.
- Social responsibility and the public good.
- Transparency, accountability, integrity, and professionalism in conducting its activities.
GOALS AND STRATEGIES:
The following Goals and Strategies represent areas of focus for the next three to five years. The Goals articulate the outcomes that SAA would like to achieve and answer the question, “What will constitute future success?” The Goals are not necessarily identified in priority order, but are numbered to enable easy reference.
GOAL 1: ADVOCATING FOR ARCHIVISTS AND ARCHIVES
Society values the vital role of archivists and archives.
GOAL 2: ENHANCING PROFESSIONAL GROWTH
Archivists have access to the professional resources they need to be successful and effective in their careers.
GOAL 3: ADVANCING THE FIELD
Professional knowledge expands to keep pace with an increasingly diverse archival record.
GOAL 4: MEETING MEMBERS’ NEEDS
SAA is an agile association that delivers outstanding service and fosters a culture of inclusiveness and participation.
1.1. Provide leadership in promoting the value of archives and archivists to institutions, communities, and society.
1.2. Educate and influence decision makers about the importance of archives and archivists.
1.3. Provide leadership in ensuring the completeness, diversity, and accessibility of the historical record.
1.4. Strengthen the ability of those who manage and use archival material to articulate the value of archives.
2.1. Provide content, via education and publications, that reflects the latest thinking and best practices in the field.
2.2. Deliver information and education via methods that are accessible, affordable, and keep pace with technological change.
2.3. Support the career development of members to assist them in achieving their goals.
3.1. Identify the need for new standards, guidelines, and best practices and lead or participate in their development.
3.2. Foster and disseminate research in and about the field.
3.3. Participate actively in relevant partnerships and collaborations to enhance professional knowledge.
4.1. Facilitate effective communication with and among members.
4.2. Create opportunities for members to participate fully in the association.
4.3. Continue to enrich the association and the profession with greater diversity in membership and expanded leadership opportunities.
KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS:
The following Key Performance Indicators reflect what SAA views to be critical success factors in measuring progress toward the Goals. Activities are developed with the Goals and Key Performance Indicators in mind.
Key Performance Indicators
- SAA provides an increasing range of resources that are useful in articulating the vital role of archivists and archives.
- A cadre of influential advocates is available and eager to speak on behalf of archives as needed.
- SAA members indicate that they are confident in speaking with the media and advocating for archives.
- Archivists successfully advocate for increased resources.
- SAA measures and reports on the “state of American archives” (using metrics such as employment rates and salaries, funding, media citations).
- Public awareness of and appreciation for archives and archivists are documented and increase.
- SAA works effectively with partners on advocacy and public relations activities
- SAA actively fosters activities that result in diversity of and access to the historical record.
- Member participation in SAA education programs increases, and evaluations of the quality, relevance, and accessibility of those programs indicate continuous improvement.
- Sales of SAA’s publications increase, and evaluations of the quality, relevance, and accessibility of those publications indicate continuous improvement.
- Readership of The American Archivist and The American Archivist Online increases, and evaluations of the quality, relevance, and accessibility of the journal indicate continuous improvement.
- Participation in various aspects of SAA’s career development program (online career center, mentoring program, leadership development) increases among students, new professionals, mid-career archivists, and seasoned archivists.
- Participation in the development of standards, guidelines, and best practices increases.
- SAA participates in national and international collaborations in which representation of the American archival perspective is considered vital.
- More archivists engage in research and disseminate their work.
- Collaborative projects and research initiatives increase among SAA members.
- An increasing number of allied professionals participate in SAA annual meetings and courses.
- SAA has an effective and sustainable technology infrastructure that meets member and organizational needs.
- Adoption of revenue-neutral, low-barrier tools enables broader participation by members in SAA activities.
- Members indicate that their needs for formal (eg, section and roundtable) and informal networking are being met within the organization.
- SAA’s membership and leadership are increasingly diverse.
- Member surveys indicate that members feel valued and welcome within SAA.
Based on the Goals and Strategies adopted by the Council in May 2013, the Key Performance Indicators developed at that session, and member comments received throughout the Strategic Plan review process to date, the Council has drafted the following proposed actions to move the organization toward achievement of its Goals.
The Council welcomes member comment on the proposed Actions through July 30, 2013, as well as in person at an Open Forum on the Strategic Plan to be held at the Joint Annual Meeting in New Orleans on Thursday, August 15, from noon to 1:15 pm. To comment in writing: log in and comment at the bottom of this page or send an email message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Because strategic planning is an iterative process that will be the focus of Council discussion at its winter meeting each year, the Council welcomes member comment on any aspect of the Strategic Plan at any time. Send your comments to email@example.com.
GOAL 1: ADVOCATING FOR ARCHIVES AND ARCHIVISTS
Society values the vital role of archives and archivists.
|1.1 Provide leadership in promoting the value of archives and archivists to institutions, communities, and society.
1.1.1 Identify key audiences and craft compelling messages that are most likely to influence their opinions about the value of archives and archivists and/or move them to take action on behalf of archives and archivists.
- Work with PR counsel, SAA leaders, and national and regional archival associations to identify influential audiences and to craft targeted messages about the value of archives and archivists.
- Compile and distribute stories that demonstrate the practical value of archives.
1.1.2 Identify key stakeholders and assess their understanding of archives in order to establish a baseline against which to measure progress.
- Identify a range of options for measuring baseline understanding of archives among key audiences and evaluate how feasible they are for completion and for successfully capturing new and useful information.
- Explore potential partners for pursuing funding to measure this baseline understanding.
- Conduct or plan for a baseline measurement.
1.1.3 Implement an ongoing publicity and media plan and sponsor public awareness campaigns (including American Archives Month) that demonstrate the value of archives in individuals’ everyday lives.
- Seek member, public, and media feedback to continuously increase the effectiveness of and involvement with American Archives Month activities.
- Create and distribute via the SAA website resources to assist archivists in learning about and participating in public awareness campaigns.
- Increase the visibility of archives within existing public awareness campaigns (e.g., Preservation Week) through efforts at the national level and by supporting SAA component groups’ activities.
- Partner with other cultural heritage professionals who have significant interaction with the public to garner their support in developing and delivering key messages.
- Work with allied organizations to create a “heritage advocacy” toolkit.
- Identify partners outside the cultural heritage sphere that might assist in crafting messages to make what archivists do accessible and meaningful to new audiences.
- Develop short public service announcements each year and disseminate on social media sites, radio, and possibly TV.
|1.2. Educate and influence decision makers about the importance of archives and archivists.
1.2.1 In collaboration with CoSA, NAGARA, and other influential advocates for archives, develop a broad-based archival advocacy program directed at resource allocators, policymakers, and other “influencers.”
- Convene or participate actively in meetings with coalition partners to determine priorities, develop ongoing communication plans, and evaluate progress.
- Working with local, state, and regional archival organizations, put in place a diverse, nationwide grassroots network of archivists and supporters to expand the capacity of coalition partners to reach key audiences.
1.2.2 Develop and maintain a wide variety of advocacy resources, including up-to-date issue briefs and talking points on a variety of topics that can be adapted easily by archivists, supporters, and the media.
- Put in place an official SAA group to coordinate and enhance SAA’s capacity to respond efficiently and effectively to advocacy opportunities.
- Develop via this group issue briefs covering topics outlined in SAA’s Advocacy Agenda.
- Query members about what resources and information they need to assist them in advocating in their own institutions.
- Based on a variety of inputs, develop a broad array of practical resources (online testimonials, brochures, email-able “squibs”) in a variety of formats to help archivists make the case for archivists and archives passionately and convincingly.
1.2.3 Measure and report on the “state of America’s archives” (using metrics such as employment rates and salaries, funding for archives, media citations, etc).
- Determine what we know (via existing studies) and don’t know about the current state of American archives.
- Explore funding options and partnership opportunities for conduct of a baseline study.
- In the absence of a baseline study, gather existing data and publish a periodic compilation about the “state of America’s archives.”
- Disseminate a comprehensive report on the findings of the baseline study as broadly as possible, including a “Quotable Facts About America’s Archives” summary.
1.2.4 Determine methods for measuring the impact (return on investment) of archives as the basis for crafting compelling messages about the value of – and appropriate level of funding for – archives and archivists.
- Determine whether methods for measuring impact exist within the archives or affiliate community(ies) and therefore may be accessible and affordable for SAA.
- If feasible, implement a study that provides measurable evidence of the value of archives and the impact of archives professionals.
|1.3 Provide leadership in ensuring the completeness, diversity, and accessibility of the historical record.
1.3.1 In concert with allied professionals, ensure that the historical record is as representative as possible.
- Define for the public the value that comes from a historical record that provides an accurate reflection of the past.
- Develop tools to help archivists advocate for preservation of the historical record.
1.3.2 Promote existing models and develop new methods to help archives and archivists diversify the documentary record and to promote archives to diverse communities.
- Initiate and promote discussion within the archival community about what it means to “diversify the archival record,” including discussion about successes, failures, and lessons learned.
- Solicit and disseminate a comprehensive selection of case studies on diversifying the archival record.
- Develop materials targeted at community, citizen, and non-professional archivists to train them how to care for their own historical records.
- Develop messages and tools that archivists can use to promote archives in diverse communities.
- Develop resources and tools, such as case studies and model policies, to assist archivists in developing access policies for property from other cultures.
1.3.3 In collaboration with appropriate communities, develop resources for managing cultural heritage materials to assist the broader archives community in managing cultural property issues.
- Continue development of online resources (including a bibliography), gathered from multiple sources, about managing cultural heritage materials.
- Develop and implement a work plan for creation of resources and tools, such as case studies and model policies, that could assist archivists in collecting and developing access policies for property from other cultures.
- Remain engaged with the American Library Association’s Traditional Cultural Expressions initiative.
1.3.4 Advocate for and develop resources to make the historical record more accessible.
- Define what it means to make records accessible in the archives profession.
- Support/endorse/adopt professional guidelines that define ethically appropriate levels of accessibility by the public of historical records.
- Work with allied professionals to promote reasonable levels of access to all historical records.
1.4 Strengthen the ability of those who manage and use archival material to articulate the value of archives.
1.4.1 Develop and provide resources and education, using a variety of delivery modes, to assist archivists in advocating for archives.
- Solicit feedback from members about what resources and assistance they need most to help them advocate for archives.
- Develop resources and educational programs designed to meet the advocacy needs identified by members, including a free “Basics of Advocating” guide.
- Provide free “Advocating for Archives” preconference workshop at the 2014 Joint Annual Meeting for up to 60 attendees.
- Develop and host a free, on-demand “Advocating for Archives” webinar.
GOAL 2: ENHANCING PROFESSIONAL GROWTH
Archivists have access to the professional resources they need to be successful and effective in their careers.
|2.1. Provide content, via education and publications, that reflects the latest thinking and best practices in the field.
2.1.1. Review, expand, and continuously improve SAA’s course and conference content to address both archival fundamentals and the latest thinking and best practices in the field.
- Refine SAA’s entire education program based on the DAS model: Develop training plans for archivists, integrate courses across archival realms of knowledge, and continuously improve offerings and training materials based on attendee and instructor feedback.
- Increase the speed at which SAA develops and offers education on “hot topics.”
- Explore collaborations with other communities to expand training for archivists in areas in which SAA does not have expertise or capacity.
- Develop evaluation tools to enhance current feedback mechanisms.
2.1.2. Review, expand, and continuously improve SAA’s published content to address both archival fundamentals and the latest thinking and best practices in the field.
- Assess and enhance the Trends in Archives Practice series to ensure that it meets evolving member needs.
- Increase the speed at which SAA develops and publishes content – via books, The American Archivist, and e-publications – that addresses current professional needs.
- Lead the development of professional literature on digital curation that appeals to archivists and allied professionals.
- Explore the potential market for practical leaflets that teach the basics of one archival skill (eg, cleaning archival records, creating a checksum, disaster response, etc).
- Facilitate the development and implementation of a virtual space for sharing case studies, project documentation, processing manuals, outreach materials, and other “gray literature” to help archivists and institutions launch new projects.
|2.2. Deliver information and education via methods that are accessible, affordable, and keep pace with technological change.
2.2.1. Develop a better understanding of members’ preferences for delivery of content and respond to them.
- Ensure that Archival Outlook and In The Loop meet the needs of members in both content and delivery/accessibility.
- Confer regularly with component group leaders to assess members’ needs regarding delivery of content.
- Experiment with existing and new delivery modes (eg, podcasts, webcasts, e-publications, and self-guided interactives) and assess their benefits.
- Explore the feasibility of implementing voluntary hands-on learning labs to supplement SAA courses.
2.2.2. Continuously review and assess SAA’s pricing models to ensure that they meet members’ needs.
- Conduct annual environmental scans to assess pricing strategies of other member associations.
- Survey SAA members periodically to gather data on price sensitivities.
2.2.3. Continuously improve and streamline the internal processes associated with managing education offerings (from marketing communications, through registration and reporting, to onsite or online management and test administration) and journal submissions to enhance the customer experience and to maximize efficiency.
- Conduct an annual process improvement analysis to ensure customer value and operational efficiency.
- Acquire software that streamlines the submission, peer review, and communication processes for publications, including The American Archivist.
|2.3. Support the career development of members to assist them in achieving their goals.
2.3.1. Provide comprehensive and practical career development information on archival education, career paths and options, professional development, job hunting, and interviewing for archivists at all stages of their careers.
- Survey members to determine what career development resources would be most valuable to them.
- Organize career development resources into “tracks” (Introductory, Management, Leadership) and share them via various mediums, including on the SAA website and in the Networking Café.
2.3.2. Expand SAA’s Mentoring Program to ensure that members who want a professional mentor can find one through SAA.
- Increase the rate of participation by Fellows and past leaders as mentors.
- Ensure that SAA has the technological capability to support a robust Mentoring Program, including a feedback mechanism.
2.3.3. Expand our conception of what an archivist can be and what an archivist can do.
- Work with component groups to develop an online guide for new archivists on possible career paths, including new areas in which archivists are making an impact.
- Partner with allied organizations to provide a broad and wide-ranging view of career opportunities for individuals with archival training.
2.3.4. Expand the online “Career Center” to incorporate information for those who are interested in a career in archives (“So You Want To Be An Archivist?”).
GOAL 3: ADVANCING THE FIELD
Professional knowledge expands to keep pace with an increasingly diverse archival record.
|3.1. Identify the need for new standards, guidelines, and best practices and lead or participate in their development.
3.1.1. Conduct ongoing environmental scans to facilitate awareness of gaps and of relevant external standards.
- Standards Committee to communicate regularly with key SAA component groups to assess needs for standards development in their topic areas.
- Determine areas in which standards, guidelines, and best practices are most needed by practicing archivists.
- Promote awareness of Standards Portal by SAA members to encourage identification of gaps and needs and to increase contributions of “related resources.”
3.1.2. Collaborate with other standards-creating organizations to develop standards that SAA can endorse and disseminate.
- Standards Committee to communicate regularly with external organizations to remain aware of standards development.
- Increase awareness by archivists, and endorse as appropriate, relevant standards, guidelines, and best practices from allied professions.
- Ensure that the Standards Portal documents the relationship among archival standards and those of related professions.
|3.2. Foster and disseminate research in and about the field.
3.2.1. Develop creative ways to increase research by archivists.
- Develop or compile and make available resources for practicing archivists to enable them to conduct research and create resources for the profession.
- Expand opportunities for information exchange and feedback on research projects.
- Publicize grant funding opportunities for archival research.
- Find ways to highlight and recognize research by practicing archivists.
- Explore the possibility of juried papers and published proceedings from the Annual Meeting.
- Seek research partnerships with other professions for projects that require archival expertise.
3.2.2. Consider ways in which to expand the conversation within the profession about published research (both practical and theoretical).
- Encourage member engagement with published research with hosted discussion groups both online and at the Annual Meeting.
- Increase participation by Annual Meeting presenters in posting their materials (abstracts, posters, slides, full papers) on the conference website.
- Record and distribute via the website and other mediums those Annual Meeting presentations that are most likely to engage members in conversations about practical and theoretical research.
- Develop a destination on the SAA website that compiles abstracts of research published throughout the archival literature and in related areas that intersect with archives.
3.2.3. Seek funding to conduct the next iteration of Archival Census and Education Needs Survey in the United States (A*CENSUS II).
- Review and address IMLS comments on grant proposal submitted in February 2012.
- Evaluate merits of resubmitting to IMLS versus seeking other external funding, and submit a proposal in the next appropriate grant cycle.
- Consider ways in which to begin work on the survey without external funding.
|3.3. Participate actively in relevant partnerships and collaborations to enhance professional knowledge.
3.3.1. Provide opportunities for joint meetings and information exchanges.
- Work with grant agencies to sponsor gatherings/symposia that bring together potential collaborative partners (ie, institutions or organizations that might not work together otherwise) and stimulate the development of new research and projects.
- Consider options for adding an “allied professional” track at the SAA Annual Meeting.
- Explore the feasibility of conducting joint annual meetings with organizations beyond CoSA and NAGARA.
- Develop a communal portal for key research information from information professional and heritage partners.
- Explore the feasibility of hosting regular topical online symposia.
3.3.2. Enhance SAA’s relationship with state and regional archival associations to increase our collective voice and to share resources and knowledge.
- Conduct annual regional summits at the Annual Meeting.
- Investigate the feasibility of holding joint meetings with regional organizations.
- Investigate the feasibility of cooperative education and training programs with regional organizations.
3.3.3. Forge new alliances with the information technology community nationally.
- Identify and collaborate actively on special projects with those national information technology associations with which SAA might have the most mutually beneficial relationships.
- Consider creating a joint committee with an appropriate national IT association as a means of discussing and coordinating the convergence of disciplines.
3.3.4. Reestablish an alliance with the records management community nationally.
- Discuss with ARMA the value of reestablishing a joint committee to enhance communication between the organizations.
- Evaluate the possibility of a dedicated records management track at the Annual Meeting.
3.3.5. Strengthen alliances with the library and museum communities nationally.
- Strengthen the impact and influence of the Joint Committee on Archives, Libraries, and Museums.
- Encourage information exchanges on cultural heritage and cultural property issues.
- Review the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums’ model of integrated functions and others for useful strategies for collaboration.
3.3.6. Foster alliances with organizations representing professional historians.
- Discuss with the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, and the National Council on Public History the value of creating a Joint Committee to enhance communication among the organizations.
- Explore ways to encourage cross-participation between archivists and historians in our professional organizations’ meetings and publications, as well as on working-level projects.
GOAL 4: MEETING MEMBERS’ NEEDS
SAA is an agile association that delivers outstanding service and fosters a culture of participation.
|4.1. Facilitate effective communication with and among members.
4.1.1. Implement a new association management software (AMS) system to better coordinate and conduct all aspects of membership services and operations.
- By early FY 2015, complete a comprehensive needs assessment – including input from members/users, component group leaders, and staff – to determine mid- and long-term needs and preferences for AMS functionality.
- By late FY 2015, complete development of an RFP to be issued to a wide range of AMS providers.
- By FY 2016, ensure that SAA’s reserves are sufficient to support purchase of a new, more robust, AMS system.
- By FY 2017, complete acquisition, configuration, user testing, and migration to a new AMS system.
4.1.2. Implement measures to enhance SAA’s communication – and particularly its web and social media presence – using tools that ensure high member satisfaction.
- Implement an aggregator tool to provide one-stop access to all social media accounts used by SAA.
- Continue to listen to and engage with archivists on social media channels, including Off The Record.
- Implement Council-approved recommendations of the Communications Task Force.
- By FY 2014, create a mobile app version of the SAA website and the Annual Meeting program.
- By late 2014, complete a comprehensive needs assessment, with input from all interested parties, to determine mid- and long-term needs and preferences for website functionality.
- By FY 2015, complete user testing and launch a redesigned and more robust SAA website, including integration of component group microsites and, to the extent possible, “unofficial” communication tools.
4.1.3. Promote member input on an ongoing basis, and improve means for members to tell SAA what they think and what they need.
- Implement a full suite of feedback mechanisms to accommodate members’ preferred communication methods.
- Conduct periodic “pop-up” surveys to take the pulse of members on various issues and to solicit their ideas.
- Provide a place and schedule for Council members to meet with members (via forums and/or in informal settings) during the Annual Meeting.
|4.2. Create opportunities for members to participate fully in the association.
4.2.1. Based on feedback from the 2012 Member Loyalty Study, the Council-adopted recommendations of the Communications and Annual Meeting task forces (2013), and periodic pop-up surveys of members:
- Adopt revenue-neutral, low-barrier social media tools to enable broader participation by members in SAA activities.
- By 2015, develop a proposal for Council review for online access to Annual Meeting sessions, including technology requirements, cost impact, and pricing models.
4.2.2. Remove barriers, perceived and actual, to broad participation by SAA members in the activities of the organization.
- Collect information from members about what they view as barriers preventing them from being more active in the organization, and share this information with the broad membership for comment.
- For member-identified barriers that are structural: Explore how to remove them and remove as many as possible.
- For member-identified barriers that are more perceived than structural: Implement regular communications to remove the perception of those barriers and to explore the cause of that perception.
- Regularly assess progress on members’ perceptions of SAA as an organization that fosters participation.
- Publish at least one post per quarter in Off The Record that highlights a component group project.
4.2.3. Assess the structure of component groups and develop nimble structures to meet member needs for affiliation.
- Appoint a Task Force to Study Member Affinity Groups, with a final report date of August 2014.
- Initiate activities based on Council-approved recommendations of the Task Force.
|4.3. Continue to enrich the association and the profession with greater diversity in membership and expanded leadership opportunities.
4.3.1. Use existing programs and networks to create both models and metrics for scholarships, internship opportunities, sustained mentoring relationships, and leadership development programs directed to achieving diversity in the profession and the association.
- Implement the IMLS-funded Mosaic Program grant in partnership with the Association of Research Libraries.
- Survey past recipients of the SAA Mosaic Scholarship to establish metrics and gather qualitative data about the effectiveness of the scholarship in advancing their career and/or establishing a long-term relationship with SAA.
- Work with the Archives and Archivists of Color and Native American Archives roundtables to establish metrics for, gather qualitative data about, and evaluate the effectiveness of awards and scholarship programs related to diversity.
- Work with the administrators of the past and current Archives Leadership Institutes to determine the extent to which diversity of attendees has been achieved, how diversity might be increased, and what successes have come from the participation of a diverse body of participants.
4.3.2. Identify underrepresented populations and develop recruitment efforts for the profession that include focused marketing and communication resources.
- Examine recruitment policies and practices in graduate archival education programs and evaluate their effectiveness in reaching underrepresented groups.
- Work with the Archival Educators Roundtable to improve the effectiveness of graduate archival education programs in recruiting and retaining students from underrepresented populations.
- Explore methods for sharing information about the archives profession with a variety of groups, focusing on diversity (K-12, HBCUs), to broaden potential interest in the archives profession.
- Develop focused marketing and communication resources and implement a strategy for delivering them to underrepresented populations.
- Assess the effectiveness of SAA’s efforts to promote membership to underrepresented groups.
4.3.3. Develop a plan for building on SAA’s progress in achieving greater diversity in membership and in leadership positions.
- Charge the Diversity Committee to draft a plan for increasing diversity in SAA’s membership and leadership positions.
- Identify new sources of funding to assist a diverse range of members in attending SAA meetings and education offerings.
- Formulate achievable next-step goals and activities, beyond scholarship aid, that would attract and keep members of underrepresented groups as participating members of SAA.
4.3.4. Develop resources and tools that encourage and expand leadership opportunities throughout SAA.
- Build on the annual Leadership Forum to share information about how to effectively lead a component group.
- Develop guides and resources for component group chairs that help them encourage dialog among and participation of members.
- Continue to monitor the SAA appointments process to ensure that at least 40% of appointees are first-time appointees.
- Encourage former elected leaders of SAA and Archives Leadership Institute alumni to serve as leadership mentors.
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