Todd Welch, Candidate for Treasurer

Todd Welch

Associate Dean, Special Collections
When the treasurer contributes contextual information with the budget or financial outlook, they promote greater understanding that results in fiscal accountability, organizational transparency, and improved trust.



I am a graduate of the archives program at Western Washington University. I strived during my career to build a steady record of engagement and service to the profession. This professional journey included a commitment to renew my knowledge through continuous training and up-to-date stewardship of the collective memory. I also am dedicated to improving my understanding and appreciation for diversity through outreach and engagement with diverse user groups. Professional positions at the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies (curator), Oregon State Archives (project archivist), Oregon Historical Society (manuscript librarian), Northern Arizona University (digital preservation and access librarian), and Utah State University (associate dean) meant progressively increased responsibilities, but they also presented rewarding opportunities, particularly in shaping and updating programmatic practices and services, and personnel training and workplan decisions. My desire to obtain additional knowledge led to the completion of another graduate degree from University of Arizona, obtaining my Certified Archivist (CA) credential, earning the Digital Archives Specialist (DAS) certificate, and finishing a series of project management program coursework at the University of Utah. I take great pride in the opportunities to network with colleagues during my involvement as presenter, organizer, or officer at state, regional, and national conferences and organizations. My professional commitment in the area of service includes multiple terms as treasurer (1996-2002) for the Northwest Archivists (NWA), president (2015–2016) for the Conference of Inter-Mountain Archivists (CIMA), and two terms as treasurer (2012-2016) and an extended term as president (2017–2019) for the Academy of Certified Archivists (ACA). While president of ACA, the Board continued to proceed with its strategic plan focused on adopting enterprising technologies that streamlined operations, and the creation of a Regent for Member Services to improve communication with the ACA members. CIMA bestowed their Service Award (2018) on me for past contributions to the organization.



Growing up in Portland, Oregon, my family lived next to one of the few African American couples in the neighborhood. I learned that they moved from the South to Portland during World War II to work in the shipyards. When I interviewed the couple for a high school history project, I learned about the institutionalized racial segregation they experienced. Unfortunately, they still faced prejudice in their new home. That first-hand experience impacted my perspective more than any textbook. 

I view my personal and professional DEI experiences as a lifelong, evolutionary journey. I believe that this journey requires ongoing self-assessment and training as our profession continues to define, create, and review both longstanding and emerging DEI issues. I continue to refine my understanding and appreciation for diversity and equity as I gain more experience working with individuals with different backgrounds, experiences, and beliefs. I soon realized that solicitation of these viewpoints builds mutual trust and respect, and improved the product.

My understanding of DEI issues expanded further while working with participants on programs such as the Gay and Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest, the Los Recuerdos del Barrio en Flagstaff, and the Hopi Placename Project. It reinforced the need to share in project planning and implementation with under-represented groups, including them as co-creators or even the principal creators! Their active participation resulted in meaningful additions. For example, the Hopi concerned for protecting tribal knowledge restricted some project content from the general public. Another example involved a suggestion to provide Spanish translations for English-speaking narrators of the Los Recuerdos interviews to improve accessibility for Spanish-only speakers wanting access to interviews. Involvement in these projects also increased my sensitivity to personal issues and cultural protocols.They involved research ethics as well as the respect for a human subject’s privacy and rights. My Institutional Review Board training expanded my understanding and respect for donors and user groups’ rights and safeguards. I still possess some implicit biases, but as a manager and leader, I am committed to ongoing training for myself and my colleagues to improve our DEI efforts in the workplace. I plan on continuing to further my DEI training and experiences, and I will advocate for and participate in DEI discussion and programming with my fellow SAA colleagues and board members.



One of the treasurer's responsibilities is to communicate financial information to the Council and to the membership through financial reports, financial statements, audit results, and presentations at various meetings. As treasurer, how would you communicate with current and prospective SAA members about SAA’s current financial situation and its outlook for the future?


The most important responsibility of the SAA Treasurer is to communicate the current financial situation and future outlook to the membership and other interested parties. The key to providing financial information is to insert important context and rationale that links the fiscal information to SAA’s mission, priorities, and goals. When the treasurer contributes contextual information with the budget or financial outlook, they promote greater understanding that results in fiscal accountability, organizational transparency, and improved trust. I found my experience as treasurer for the Academy of Certified Archivists (ACA) both productive and rewarding because I worked with the secretariat and financial officer to develop explanatory narratives when presenting fiscal spreadsheets. These narratives supplied additional information when the financial reports or audit results seemed dense or disconnected with an expectation for the funding.

The use of graphics to illustrate and inform existing and prospective members on how SAA manages and allocates financial resources to achieve its stated goals can be a powerful communication tool for conveying SAA’s current financial situation, a specific initiative, or the organization’s future outlook. To depict where funding sources originated and major expenditures were incurred is a simplified approach to illustrating appropriated and actual budget figures to existing or prospective SAA members. For instance, subdividing a dollar bill into percentages to demonstrate how the organization’s generated revenue and expended funds can quickly and easily convey the financial information to the reader. I would advocate for posting these graphics on the website, publications, and promotional materials sent to graduate school programs.

Furthermore, to reduce potential confusion or misunderstanding in budget reporting, I would partner with the SAA Director of Finance and Administration to develop a series of reporting platforms that provided linkage between key expenditure lines and specific examples of activities, actions, or products that the funding made possible. This could be conveyed to the entire or targeted segments of the SAA budget and sent to all or portions of the membership in email messages, compiled into the Annual Meeting presentation, or posted on the SAA website. More targeted audiences, such as SAA Foundation donors, could receive a thank you letter that included a progress report containing information on where their contributions directly impacted or assisted the Archival Workers Emergency Fund or the Mosaic Scholarship. Similar information can be inserted into the bi-monthly Archival Outlook to promote further the linkage between the revenue generated for an allocated initiative and the resulting action or product. This approach would publicly acknowledge and advertise how SAA programming, supported by the membership, is making a difference by showcasing specific examples. This type of advertising might encourage other members to begin donating to the same funds. In instances where a projected expenditure or an unexpected expenditure occurs that affects a segment of or the entire budget, a similar approach could ease anxiety and frustration. These are the times when membership will appreciate a treasurer that can provide clear and correct financial accounting accompanied by contextual explanation that conveys the source and extent of financial shortcomings.



Slate of Candidates

The Nominating Committee has slated the following SAA members as candidates for office in the 2021 election:

Vice President/President-Elect



Nominating Committee