Section X: Roundtables

Frequently Asked Questions

A. Mission Statement

  1. Serve as advocate for interest around which the roundtable is formed.
    1. Roundtables focus attention on and give voice to the concerns that form the roundtable’s particular areas of interest.
    2. Roundtables function as communities of interest engaged in generating ideas and meeting the intellectual interests of the membership in areas of topical interest. They focus expertise and interest in the professional functions and responsibilities to carry out the archival profession’s mission to identify, administer, and promote the use of records of enduring value.
  2. Encourage and provide communication.
    1. Roundtables provide a forum for members to discuss matters of interest within the body. They also provide channels of communication from the roundtable to the membership of the Society and to the Council on matters of concern to the roundtable.
    2. As roundtables may exist as online communities, communication may take place in the form of roundtable electronic discussion groups.
  3. Perform work.
    1. Roundtables provide mechanisms for members to initiate activities of common interest. Roundtables can formulate specific projects, for which task forces may be created to execute the projects.
    2. Roundtables review material referred to the by the Council for comment or action.
    3. Roundtables give and institutionalize opportunity for members to focus, on a longer term basis and in a national forum, on specific matters of practical interest.
  4. Integrate new members.
    1. Roundtables provide a vital mechanism for new and prospective SAA members to become active in the work of the Society and the group, and for meeting members with common interests. Roundtables provide new members a chance to participate and to contribute to the work of the group and the Society.
    2. Although it is expected that the core of a roundtable is composed of Individual members of SAA, anyone may participate in a roundtable by joining in its electronic communications list and engaging in discussions of and work on issues of interest to its membership. Because of this, roundtables play a unique and significant role in recruiting new members to the Society.
    3. As part of their annual report, roundtables that are provided in-person meeting space at the annual meeting are required to include records of attendance. Failure to do so could jeopardize future requests for in-person meeting space. Other roundtables are encouraged to provide annual data on participation as an indicator of overall effectiveness in meeting the needs of roundtable members.
  5. Develop leadership.
    The roundtables offer opportunities to their members to take leadership in working with and for their colleagues. Through the years, a considerable number of the elected and appointed positions within SAA have been filled by persons who began their leadership roles in roundtables.

B. Goals and Areas of Activity

  1. Each roundtable will adopt and maintain a statement of goals and objectives indicating the general concerns and intended areas of work of the roundtable.
  2. Roundtables are charged to be active in four areas:
    1. They identify and consider issues in which a significant number of members have an interest. Members may investigate different facets of the issues, then report and discuss their findings during roundtable meetings and through roundtable mailings or electronic communications.
    2. They recommend to the Council, through reports, action items, or discussion items — submitted on the Council Report Template — an action or a position that the roundtable believes appropriate for SAA. The Council remains the policy-setting body for SAA, and only it can promulgate a formal position for SAA or any of its constituent bodies.
    3. They suggest program sessions for the SAA Annual Meeting, and request space for and, if allocated, plan Roundtable meetings for the SAA Annual Meeting.
    4. They communicate roundtable activity within the roundtable and to the Society at large.

C. Recognition and Standing

  1. The Council may establish roundtables upon submission of a group’s application. The Council will consider the merits of each request in light of existing SAA groups and the specific statement of intent and goals of the applicant group.
  2. New applications for recognition as a roundtable must be submitted no later than the posted deadline each year for submitting agenda items for the winter Council meeting, so that Council action can occur before the next Annual Meeting.
  3. Application is made by petition to include signatures, in paper or electronic form, of at least 50 SAA members, a publishable statement of purpose and goals of the roundtable, and a statement indicating why a separate roundtable would be advantageous to the Society.
  4. Roundtables that do not maintain an official membership level of at least 25 SAA members and meet annual reporting requirements may be dissolved as an official SAA roundtable after due notice and an opportunity for roundtable officers to appeal.
  5. Should a roundtable decide that a more formal structure and greater degree of activity are necessary to carry forward its work, it may petition the Council to become a section. Such petitions should indicate a plan of work for specific projects that can be carried out more effectively through the section structure.

D. Membership and Meetings

  1. Membership
    1. SAA members may join an unlimited number of roundtables. The SAA office will maintain and report on the official list of roundtable members as an aid in allocating resources and tracking member services.
    2. Nonmembers of SAA may participate in a roundtable by joining in its electronic communications list and engaging in discussions of and work on issues of interest to its membership.
  2. Meetings
    1. Roundtables are encouraged to work creatively and collaboratively with each other and with other SAA component groups to plan and conduct programs at the Annual Meeting. The Society makes every effort to provide appropriate meeting space for roundtables in the conference hotel, but roundtables may be required to meet certain conditions to secure dedicated rooms and other resources, especially equipment, that may be available during the Annual Meeting.
    2. Roundtable leaders will receive an annual notice from the SAA office detailing the process for requesting meeting space and audiovisual support for roundtables at the Annual Meeting, with deadlines for responding. Roundtables may be allocated shared meeting space at the Annual Meeting, depending on the number of requests received. The following criteria, among others, may be used to determine the allocation of meeting room  space and audiovisual support for roundtables:
      • The SAA office receives a request for space by the deadline established by the executive director.   
      • All annual reporting requirements for the previous year have been met, including the leader’s acknowledgment of leadership responsibilities.
      • The roundtable has organized a special presentation or program that advances the Society’s strategic plan.
      • The roundtable is engaged in a collaborative exercise with another roundtable or section.
      • The historical and expected attendance are large enough to warrant dedicated space in order to accommodate members.
    3. Following the process outlined above (X.D.2.b), roundtable requests for a dedicated meeting room and/or equipment at an SAA Annual Meeting are evaluated by the executive director, based on budgetary appropriations and in consultation with the Council liaison and Executive Committee, as appropriate.
    4. New roundtables are eligible for a dedicated meeting room at the SAA Annual Meeting for their first organizational meeting after approval by the Council.
    5. Roundtables that are allocated dedicated meeting space at one Annual Meeting will not receive priority over other roundtables requesting dedicated space at the next Annual Meeting.
    6. Roundtables that do not meet at one Annual Meeting but that wish to reserve space at a subsequent meeting may request allocation of space without penalty.

E. Governance

  1. Roundtables will adopt and report to the Council a governance structure that is consistent with their need. At minimum there must be one elected leader, and roundtable leaders will be elected annually. No person may serve as the senior leader of a roundtable for more than three successive years. Only SAA members are eligible to serve as or vote for roundtable leadership. Roundtables may conduct their annual leadership elections online. If a roundtable chooses to do so, it must comply with the criteria and rules for section elections.
  2. Roundtable leaders are required to notify the SAA office of newly elected leaders within 14 days of the close of the Annual Meeting so that the official SAA leadership list can be updated and mailings can be circulated effectively.
  3. Elected roundtable leaders will take office at the close of the SAA Annual Meeting.
  4. Roundtables may operate as formally or informally as suits their needs. At minimum, however, they must adopt bylaws. (Roundtables approved by the Council after January 2012 must adopt bylaws within a year of their first official meeting. Roundtables approved by the Council prior to January 2012 must adopt bylaws by August 31, 2013.) To assist in the process of developing bylaws, SAA has prepared a Roundtable Bylaws Template. To ensure their alignment with SAA’s governance documents, bylaws and subsequent changes should be reviewed by the executive director or her/his designee before the roundtable membership votes to adopt them. Once adopted, new or revised bylaws must be submitted for approval by the Council to ensure that they become part of the permanent record as a component of Council meeting minutes.

F. Annual Reporting Requirements

  1. Leadership Report: The chair of each roundtable will convey to the executive director or designee an electronic list of the names of roundtable leaders within 14 days of the close of the Annual Meeting. The chair will include in that list all individuals who should be subscribed to the official SAA leadership list.
  2. Roundtable Annual Report: Roundtable leaders are required to complete and file with the executive director an annual report within 90 days of the close of the Annual Meeting, regardless of whether the roundtable convenes in conjunction with the Annual Meeting. The Section and Roundtable Annual Report Template must be used for annual reports, which briefly summarize the following:
    1. An accurate list of roundtable leaders and contact information.
    2. A verified count of Annual Meeting attendees (if the roundtable met in person at the annual meeting in the year of the annual report being filed).
    3. A summary of work accomplished.
    4. A summary of any activities relating to SAA's strategic plan.
    5. Goals and plans for the coming year.
    6. Other pertinent information on roundtable activities.
  3. Failure to complete and file an annual report within six months of an Annual Meeting places the roundtable in a probationary status and may result in a loss of roundtable privileges. Failure to file an annual report within one year of the close of the Annual Meeting will result in a notice from the SAA president of the roundtable’s dissolution. Roundtables receiving such notice may file an appeal with the Council.
  4. Roundtable annual reports, including the update of purpose and activity statements, will be published on the roundtable's website.

G. Consultation with the Council

  1. The SAA president will extend an invitation to roundtable leaders to attend the annual Leadership Orientation and Forum. Attendance for roundtable leaders is strongly encouraged.
  2. The Council is responsible for addressing roundtable matters, making recommendations about roundtable matters, and communicating actions concerning roundtables to the leaders. Each roundtable is assigned a Council liaison, who is the primary contact for roundtable leaders with the Council. Any concerns that roundtable leaders have with their assigned Council liaison should be discussed with the executive director or the SAA president.

H. Communications

  1. Roundtable leaders will provide to the SAA staff, and update as necessary, broad information on the goals, leadership, and activities of the roundtable for display on the main SAA website. This information should be reviewed annually and used to orient incoming roundtable leaders.
  2. Roundtable websites, e-mail discussion lists, document workspaces, and online social networks will conform to Uniform Guidelines for SAA Websites and Online Communications.
  3. The SAA office will contact roundtable leaders, in time for publication in the Annual Meeting program, to request information on plans for the roundtable meeting at the Annual Meeting.

I. Funding for Roundtable Activities

  1. SAA’s fiscal year extends from July 1 to June 30. Budget requests from roundtables will be submitted to the executive director via the SAA Component Group Funding Request Form no later than March 1. 
  2. Funds allocated to a roundtable during one fiscal year are not carried over to the next fiscal year. If an allocation must be deferred to the next fiscal year, the roundtable must formally request the funding in a new SAA Component Group Funding Request Form.
  3. Otherwise, in pursuing its work, a roundtable (with the exception of its limited appropriation) is not authorized to spend any monies or commit any monies to be spent without specific authorization from the Council. Although exceptions can be made, the Council expects to appropriate money for activities of roundtables through the regular budget process.
  4. If a roundtable wishes to seek resources (whether in cash or in kind) from any source outside SAA, Executive Committee approval must be obtained in every instance before approaching the source. Proposals should be routed through the roundtable's Council liaison, with sufficient time for consideration by the Executive Committee, which will respond within 30 days.

J. Use of SAA Name, Logo, and Auspices

  1. The use of SAA’s name, logo, and auspices for publications, meetings, mailings, websites, social networks, electronic communications, and other activities is available only through specific provision of the Council and will conform to Uniform Guidelines for Use of the SAA Logo.
  2. Roundtables, although they are within the SAA structure, are not empowered to take action in the name of SAA, or request money in the name of SAA or the roundtable itself, without specific prior authorization of the Council. This firm rule is required to protect SAA and its members from potential legal complications.


Revised:  March 2007, February 2009, June 2009, August 2009, February 2010, June 2012, January 2013, July 2013, January 2014.