Members of the Society of American Archivists elected PETER B. HIRTLE as SAA's next vice president. Hirtle will begin his one-year term this August and become SAA's 58th president in 2002-2003. Hirtle is the co-director of the Cornell Institute for Digital Collections at Cornell University Library, since 1996. He is also associate editor of D-Lib Magazine. Hirtle holds a B.A. from Carleton College, M.A. in history from Johns Hopkins University, and M.L.I.S. from the University of Maryland.
A member of SAA since 1986, Hirtle has served the association in a variety of capacities: on Council (1996-99), Program Committee (2000), Blue Ribbon Task Force on the Information Superhighway (1994), Manuscripts Repository Section Steering Committee (1993-96), Committee on Archival Information Exchange (1992-95), and coordinator of the Science, Technology and Health Care Roundtable (1988-90). In addition, Hirtle has taught workshops for SAA and other organizations, as well as authored more than 50 articles, book reviews, editorials, and presentations on digital imaging, new technologies, copyright, and the history of medicine. In 1989 he was awarded the Surgeon General's Exemplary Service Award.
Candidates for vice president/president-elect were required to answer the following questions posed by the Nominating Committee: What are the two most important issues that you see facing SAA as the organization enters its 65th year? How would you seek to address them during your two-year term as an SAA officer?
In his response to the committee's question, Hirtle stated, "Keeping archival educators and government, regional, business, university, and certified archivists actively engaged in the work of the society is . . . the most important issue facing the society. One way to do this is to keep the SAA a vibrant forum for the activities of specialized groups. In addition, the member surveys and reports from the membership committee during the last few years have identified what members want from the society. The annual meeting program, educational offerings, and publications program are all being revamped to reflect member needs. The new officers will need to ensure that the efforts to address member concerns continue. The new officers can also redouble efforts to reach out to other archival organizations and try to include them and their members in the work of the SAA. Finally, the officers must continue efforts to engage American archivists with their international colleagues. The problems facing American archivists know no national boundaries, and solutions are as likely to come from Europe, Africa, Asia, or Australia as from the U.S."
Hirtle further said that, "The second important issue [SAA] faces [is] mustering the resources that are needed to advance the profession. The SAA remains primarily a volunteer organization. While the society can provide a framework in which wonderful things can be done, it still requires hard work and commitment on the part of individual members to initiate and develop programs. The new SAA officers at a minimum must ensure that the society continues to nurture, and not hinder, the volunteer efforts of its members. In addition, the officers should redouble their efforts to ensure that the money available to support SAA activities is spent on the highest priorities."
SAA membership also elected Danna C. Bell-Russel, David A. Haury, and Megan Sniffin-Marinoff to Council. Their three-year terms begin this August following the conclusion of the 65th annual meeting in Washington, D.C., and they will serve through the conference in 2004. They will succeed outgoing Council members Dennis Harrison, Jane Kenamore, and Wilda Logan Willis.
Candidates for Council were required to answer this question posed by the Nominating Committee: During the past few years, SAA has charged a number of task forces to examine issues of critical concern to the Society: organizational effectiveness, diversity, membership benefits, the annual meeting, and continuing education, among others. How can Council assist SAA in integrating the results of these efforts into its ongoing work for the benefit of its members and the profession? Each of their responses along with brief biographical sketches follows.
DANNA C. BELL-RUSSEL is the learning center specialist for the National Digital Library at the Library of Congress, where she has served since 1998. She holds a B.A. in public administration and personnel management and an M.S. in college student personnel services, both from Miami University, as well as an M.L.S. from Long Island University.
A member of SAA since 1996, she is currently co-chair of the Committee on Education and Professional Development and a member of the 2001 Program Committee. She also has served on the Nominating Committee and Manuscripts Repository Section Steering Committee. Bell-Russel's professional activities also include participation in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference, D.C. Library Association, and D.C. Chapter, Special Libraries Association.
In her candidate statement, Bell-Russel suggested that, "Council should write a series of articles in Archival Outlook showing how SAA has implemented some of the suggestions of the various task forces, giving the reasons why other recommendations have not been implemented and providing information on what will be done in the future along with a timeline showing completion dates. This will provide the membership with information on what is being done and a way to measure the success of the SAA governance in making the recommendations made by these task forces a reality."
Bell-Russel further stated that, "Regarding the items not yet done, Council will need to go back over each report and see what task force recommendations are feasible to implement and also determine what recommendations complement the SAA strategic plan. Once Council has decided on what is feasible, they will need to work with the various standing committees to bring these recommendations to reality. . . .The Council liaison together with the standing committee chair or co-chairs would also be responsible for reporting back to the membership with an article in Archival Outlook and perhaps with an announcement on the Archives and Archivists list or the SAA Web site."
DAVID A. HAURY is the assistant director of the Kansas State Historical Society, where he has served since 1989. He earned a B.A. in history and mathematics from Bethel College; A.M. and Ph.D. in history from Harvard University; and M.L.S. from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.
A member of SAA since 1981, Haury serves on the Publications Board and has been the Publications Editor since 1994. He has also served on the Task Force on Continuing Education.
He is the author of ten books, thirteen articles, and several dozen book reviews and conference papers. In addition, he has served in editorial capacities for a variety of publications, including MAC Newsletter, Archival Issues, and Mennonite Life. He currently serves on the editorial board of Kansas History and is consulting editor of the Mennonite Quarterly Review. Other professional activities include the Midwest Archives Council, Kansas State Historical Records Advisory Board, Council of State Historical Records Coordinators, Kansas Records Board, and Academy of Certified Archivists.
In his candidate statement, Haury noted that, "Over the past two years the SAA Council has engaged in strategic planning to strengthen and prioritize the work of SAA, and Council has changed its own structure to relate better to some eighty boards, task forces, roundtables, sections and other groups within SAA. I strongly endorse planning and an evolving structure as the keys to an effective and well managed professional association. It is through its numerous subgroups that SAA provides many services to its members. . . .Council has demonstrated an excellent sense of when it needs more information to make a decision; i.e., by establishing a task force to gather data and analyze an issue. Most importantly, having served on the recent task force on continuing education, I know from first-hand experience that Council empowers and listens to these task forces."
Haury further stated, "SAA Council needs to continue to listen to the members. It must continue to appoint task forces of the members to be its eyes and ears. Then it must act on the recommendations of the task forces. . . . Strategic planning is a good way to review recommendations and set priorities. The work of the task forces must be integrated into the planning process."
MEGAN SNIFFIN-MARINOFF is the head of Institute Archives and Special Collections at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, since 1999. Prior to that she was an assistant professor at Simmons College Graduate School of Library & Information Science. She earned a B.S. in journalism from Boston University; M.A. in history and a certificate in archives management from New York University; and has completed Ph.D. coursework in history at Boston University.
A member of SAA since 1980, Sniffin-Marinoff has served the association in a variety of capacities: as a faculty advisor to the SAA Student Chapter at Simmons College, Nominating Committee, Committee on Education and Professional Development, Archival Educators Roundtable, Public Information Committee, College and University Archives Steering Committee, Committee on Regional Archival Activity, and Awards Subcommittees. She is the former president of the New England Archivists and is a member of the Academy of Certified Archivists and Massachusetts Historical Records Advisory Board.
In her candidate statement, Sniffin-Marinoff said that, "Nothing is more frustrating than spending time--in some cases years--on a task force or committee with the goal of identifying critical issues needing attention, only to see that work end up in a report on a shelf or not attended to effectively. It is critical for Council to help devise ways to follow-up on the hard work of members. . . . I would suggest that often what works best--and sometimes is forgotten--is first to make certain that basic and simple approaches are not only in place but observed. For example, Council must assure that the organization is doing all it can to share broadly the results of task force work easily and in a timely manner. "
She added that, "the inevitable variety of experiences among Council members makes possible the identification of specific or overlooked areas where integration can occur and even members who can be tapped to help. Council can and should assist and cajole those who worked so hard to bring results to fruition to effectively pass-off information to as wide an audience as possible. At the same time, Council should be vocal and identify talented new, young and 'underutilized' members eager for the opportunity to take an idea and run with it as part of that pass-off. Often, the most effective way to effect change is to find others with similar needs and to work together. Therefore, Council members should bring to the table their regional and other professional relationships outside of SAA to seek ways to effect change through new or strengthened alliances with others."
The SAA election also yielded three members to serve on the 2002 Nominating Committee: Scott Cline, Kathy Marquis, and Brenda Susan Billups Square. The committee is responsible for identifying and selecting next year's slate of candidates as well as drafting questions to be posed to the candidates. Two members of Council, to be appointed by the incoming president, also serve on the Nominating Committee.
All candidates for the Nominating Committee were required to respond to the following questions posed by this year's committee: The charge of the Nominating Committee is to create a diverse slate of candidates that is as balanced as possible. How would you define diversity in seeking candidates to run for SAA office? How will you seek to ensure that, as a member of the Nominating Committee, you have identified candidates that represent as broadly as possible the membership of SAA?
SCOTT CLINE is the city archivist for Seattle and a lecturer at the School of Information, University of Washington. He has served on many SAA committees and currently is in the middle of his term as president of the Northwest Archivists.
In his candidate statement, Cline said that, "Our leadership should reflect the diversity of our membership. In selecting leaders for SAA we need to recognize that diversity can mean many things. Diversity, generally, is defined in the socio/cultural terms of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation. In selecting our leadership we must also consider the professional and geographic diversity of our membership. Our members are spread across the breadth of North America and are employed in many different types of institutions."
KATHY MARQUIS is the head of the reference and access division at the Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan. A member of SAA since 1978, where she has served on many committees, she is also a member of the Midwest Archives Conference, Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference, and Women Historians of the Midwest Board.
In her candidate statement, she noted that, "Broadly defined, diversity means understanding that people of a variety of cultures or backgrounds come to a single organization like SAA with differing goals and values, and widely differing ways of achieving both. Paying attention to diversity in selecting a slate of candidates means . . . that SAA understands that representing this diversity strengthens the association, both by becoming more inclusive, and by taking advantage of a variety of viewpoints and ways of finding solutions."
BRENDA SUSAN BILLIPS SQUARE is the director of archives and library at Amistad Research Center of Tulane University. She is a former chair of SAA's Archives and Archivists of Color Roundtable and a past president of the Louisiana Archives and Manuscripts Association.
In her candidate statement, Square said that, "The work of the Diversity Task Force has provided a basic framework that can lead the membership to a greater understanding of the significance of diversity in the twenty-first century. In the coming years, SAA will be challenged to assume an even greater position of leadership in advancing diversity within its leadership and membership ranks . . . . I would examine the demographics of SAA and work through the existing structures to organize a diverse slate of candidates. In as much as the Society has already established the roundtables as a forum for diverse concerns, these roundtables would be called on to assist the committee in identifying a diverse slate of candidates for leadership positions."
The 2001 ballot was mailed on February 28th to 2,847 individual members of the Society of American Archivists who were asked to vote for a vice president/president-elect, three Council members, and three members to serve on the Nominating Committee. Twenty-nine percent of the ballots mailed were cast (828), which is a slight decrease in voter participation from last year's election (see table).
SAA thanks all candidates for standing for office, congratulates those elected, and welcomes them to important leadership positions.
Trends in SAA Voter Participation
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A special thank you to the official SAA ballot counters--Becky Haglund Tousey, Michael Bullington, Laura Graedel, and Rebecca Hartman--for volunteering a morning of their time to tabulate the votes cast in the 2001 SAA election.