Rachel Vagts, Candidate for Council

Professional Experience: Head, Special Collections and Archives, Berea College, 2014–present. College Archivist, Luther College, 1998–2014. Project Archivist, University of Maryland, 1997–1998. Project Archivist, Wisconsin Historical Society, 1996–1997.

Education: MA, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 1997. BA, History and Political Science, Gustavus Adolphus College, 1993.

Professional Activities: Society of American Archivists: Membership Committee, Iowa Key Contact, 2006–2008, District 6 representative, 2008–2010, Vice Chair, 2010–2011, Chair, 2011–2012; Annual Meeting Task Force, Social Responsibility Subcommittee Chair, 2011–2013; College and Universities Section, Steering Committee, Member, 2007–2010, Vice Chair/Chair Elect, 2012–2013, Chair 2013–2014. Archives Leadership Institute, Director, 2013–2015, Attendee, 2010. Midwest Archives Conference: Program Committee Chair, Spring 2003 and Spring 2012, member Spring 2006 and Spring 2010; Local Arrangements Committee, Fall 2004; Membership committee, Iowa representative, 2009–2012. Iowa Historical Records Advisory Board, Board Member, 2007–2013. Iowa Conservation and Preservation Consortium, Board Member, 2004–2006.

Selected Publications: “Hanna and Marie Larsen at the Schreuder Mission in Zululand,” Essays and Reports, forthcoming. “The Transforming Journey: A Story of Service at Luther and Beyond,” Agora, Spring 2011. Editor, A Guide to Norwegian-American Sources in the Luther College Archives and Preus Library/Registratur for Arkivet Preus Biblioteket, 2006. "Clashing Disciplines: Oral History and the Institutional Review Board," Archival Issues, Vol 26, No. 2, 2002.

Selected Grants: NHPRC Archives Leadership Institute Grant, 2013–2015; NHPRC Basic Processing Grant: Journeys to America Project, 2010–2012, Historical Resource Development Grants: Postville Project Phases 1–3, 2010–2015. 


Question Posed by Nominating Committee: What are your priorities for advancing SAA’s Strategic Plan? How do we create an organization that nimbly embraces change, including changing member needs, yet is stable enough to advance the profession?

The four goals of the current SAA Strategic Plan seek to support the Society’s mission to promote the value and diversity of archivists and archives. The council further developed an extensive list of proposed actions. It is my priority that the Society and the Council must work to create channels of communication that provide transparency and clearly share the work that the Society is doing on behalf of its members as they undertake these proposed actions.

As a member of SAA, I have had the opportunity to work in the leadership of a section, a committee and a task force. Each of those experiences has brought me in touch with a new element of the profession and the membership of the Society and has broadened my understanding of the needs of the members of SAA as well as the organization as a whole.

During my terms on the Membership Committee and the Annual Meeting Task Force, I had the opportunity to hear ideas that SAA members brought forward calling for change within our organization. As an organization, we must remain responsive to the needs of our members (both new and old), continuing to develop ways of receiving feedback through both formal and informal routes of communication in order to grow and strengthen the Society.

I believe that our leadership should be diverse and reflect the make-up of our organization and we need to continue to invest in our members and develop leaders to take the Society into the next chapter of its existence. As an archivist who has worked most of her career as a lone arranger, I believe I can particularly speak to the needs of our members who find their professional network within our society and rely on those relationships to support their work.