SAA Council Refines Strategic Plan, Focuses on Diversity and Cultural Competency

November 13, 2014—At its November 9–11 meeting in Chicago the SAA Council discussed and refined SAA’s Strategic Plan to reflect completion of activities and new ideas for achieving the goals outlined.

Following a “deep-dive” discussion of one aspect of Goal 1 related to diversifying the American historical record,  Council members agreed to create an internal working group of the Council to: “1) provide the Council with greater focus and direction in achieving the Society’s strategic goals in the area of diversity; 2) explore meaningful new initiatives to support the place of diversity in the SAA’s mission and core values; and 3) coordinate the work of the Diversity Committee, the Cultural Heritage Working Group, and appropriate component groups to leverage their contributions into broader cultural competency for the SAA’s Council, staff, and members.”

In other actions, the Council:

  • Explored ideas for supporting strategic activities and new initiatives, including the possibility of reorganizing the categories of membership and recommending a membership dues increase to take effect in 2016.  In the next few months the Council will begin seeking feedback from members on a proposed plan.
  • Reviewed the Committee on Advocacy and Public Policy’s recommended changes in SAA’s public policy agenda, the final version of which will be discussed and adopted by the Council in December.
  • Approved an issue brief on “Adequate Funding of Government Archives and Archival Programs” developed by a working group composed of representatives of SAA (through its Committee on Advocacy and Public Policy), the Council of State Archivists, and the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators.
  • Adopted “Principles and Priorities for Planning Joint Meetings with Other Professional Organizations,” which provides a framework for defining SAA’s goals for holding joint annual meetings, evaluating potential annual meeting partners, and guiding negotiations with other organizations. One of those goals is to offer expanded education and networking opportunities for SAA members.
  • Approved creation of an SAA-ACRL/RBMS Joint Task Force on Development of Guidelines for Primary Source Literacy, which was recommended by the Standards Committee.  Currently there are no information literacy guidelines specific to archival and special collections materials. These guidelines will systematically identify, articulate, and describe the many archival and artifactual literacy skills taught by instructors in special collections and archives.
  • Agreed to pursue a planning grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services for building a best practice resource for data collection and maintenance on issues of importance to the archives profession.
  • Reviewed and discussed the final report of the Task Force on Member Affinity Groups, which was established in August 2013 to consider the most effective affinity group structures for SAA.  Several of the task force’s recommendations will be explored by an internal working group of the Council. The task force was disbanded with the Council’s thanks.
  • Received a report on completion of a performance evaluation and negotiations with Greg Hunter to serve a second three-year term as editor of The American Archivist, effective January 2015.
  • Reviewed and accepted the FY2014 auditors’ report, reflecting a “clean” audit.
  • In addition, the Council approved changes in the name, mission, vision, and bylaws of the Archivists Toolkit™/Archon™ Roundtable, now the Collection Management Tools Roundtable; bylaws changes for the Latin American and Caribbean Cultural Heritage Archives, Lone Arrangers, and Metadata and Digital Objects roundtables; and a petition to form an SAA student chapter at Middle Tennessee State University. There are now 38 SAA student chapters in the United States and Canada.

Minutes of the November 9-11 Council meeting will be published within 60 days and made available on the SAA website at

The next face-to-face meeting of the Council is scheduled for May 28-30, 2015, in Chicago. The Council will meet via conference call on January 16, 2015, and can consider items and issues via online discussion and vote at any time.  To suggest agenda items, contact SAA President Kathleen Roe ( or Executive Director Nancy Beaumont (  Agenda items for consideration at the May 2015 meeting are due four weeks in advance of the meeting, or by Thursday, April 30.