CEPD Task Force on Education Office Guidelines

(Draft 8/6/03)


(N.B. In February 2005, the Committee on Education and Professional Development was renamed the Committee on Education.)



These Guidelines define the responsibilities, functions, and activities of the Society of American Archivists Education Office in reference to archival continuing education. The Guidelines are divided into seven sections: Audience, Interaction with Other Archival Education Providers, Content Development and Identification, Content Delivery, Evaluation, Marketing, and Resource Development.

Vision for Continuing Education

The SAA Education Office

  • Acts in a leadership role in archival continuing education in the United States and internationally
  • Provides premier continuing education programs in a variety of venues for the archival and allied professions
  • Ensures that archivists and allied professionals have knowledge of and access to continuing education opportunities that will enhance their ability to perform their professional responsibilities.

To accomplish the continuing education goal, the functions of the Education Office are to:

  • Lead and serve as a catalyst for other archival and allied organizations in creating opportunities for continuing education
  • Assess educational needs and evaluate all aspects of educational offerings
  • Identify new curricular areas and innovative means for instruction and delivery of information
  • Partner with other archival continuing education providers
  • Serve as a Clearinghouse for continuing education resources
  • Ensure that continuing education programs are accessible and sustainable
  • Promote archival and professional standards through its continuing education programs
  • Broaden participation in SAA’s educational offerings through targeted marketing
  • Support innovation and sustainability of SAA’s educational program through resource development.



Scope / Summary of Section

This section describes the potential audiences for SAA continuing education programs and addresses how the Education Office will identify and support the variety of audience skill levels.

Vision and Principles

  • As a national leader in high-quality archival continuing education, SAA will develop continuing education offerings that address the needs of its membership. SAA will also either sponsor or cooperate with allied organizations and institutions to address the needs of all those responsible for the care of the records of enduring value.
  • SAA members and other caretakers of archival materials have a variety of existing skill levels. The Education Office should assist participants in identifying their personal skill level when selecting SAA-sponsored continuing education programs.

Audience-related functions of the SAA Education Office

  • Offer continuing education programs for a variety of audience skill levels
  • Recognize that as a national professional organization, SAA’s potential audience for continuing education offerings overlaps with that of other archival and allied professional organizations and education providers

    Specifically, the SAA Education Office will:

  • Develop mechanisms to assist people in self-identifying their skill levels
  • Identify the skill levels required for the various SAA Education Office programs and advertise these to potential audiences

Interaction with other archival education providers


The Education Office works with other archival organizations to ensure that archivists’ continuing education needs are met—either by creating educational opportunities to meet identifiable needs or functioning as a clearinghouse of educational opportunities. This section directs the interaction of the SAA Education Office with other archival education providers that sponsor post-appointment or continuing education.


The SAA Education Office acts as a leader and catalyst for other archival and allied organizations in creating opportunities for continuing education. It does this by creating opportunities for communication, collaboration, and open exchange among archival education providers. The SAA Education Office will seek to leverage educational resources among archival education providers for the benefit of the entire archival profession.


Archival Education Provider: Any organization that offers structured learning experiences for archivists. Archival Education Providers include regional organizations, archival institutes, state archives and historical societies, colleges and universities, organizations of allied professionals (e.g., Association of Records Managers and Administrators (ARMA), and other types of institutions such as Research Libraries Group (RLG) or the Northeast Document Conservation Center. Archival education providers also encompass Umbrella Organizations or national organizations acting as a voice for a group of institutions (e.g., NAGARA and COSHRC).


  • Work cooperatively with related archival and allied professional organizations to ensure that archivists and allied professionals have access to a variety of continuing education opportunities that will enhance their ability to perform their professional responsibilities.
  • Act as a leader to facilitate educational collaborations among various archival education providers
  • Foster communication among archival education providers and umbrella organizations
  • Function as a clearinghouse of information on archival education opportunities sponsored by SAA and other groups
  • Utilize other archival education providers and umbrella organizations communication mechanisms
  • Co-sponsor, co-develop and market quality educational opportunities developed by other archival education providers rather than developing duplicate educational opportunities.

Content Development and Identification


This section outlines the responsibilities of the SAA Education Office concerning content development. Content development refers to both the introduction of new offerings and curricular areas, as well as the evaluation, revision, and retirement of existing offerings. This section addresses:

  • Content development vision and principles
  • Mechanisms for content development
  • Assessment Factors to Consider in Content Development
  • Relationship to the SAA Committee on Education and Professional Development
  • Educational needs assessment

Vision and Principles

Content development activities by the SAA Education Office will:

  • Be proactive, carefully fashioning continuing education curricula to meet the needs of those responsible for records of enduring value
  • Be systematic and driven by a strategic plan and organizational priorities
  • Offer a wide spectrum of content
  • Develop quality content that is sustainable and accessible, and
  • Focus on curricular development rather than a set of disparate workshops.

Mechanisms for Content Development and Identification

Content development will be achieved through a variety of mechanisms including:

  • Offerings created directly by the SAA Education Office
  • Works for hire
  • Offerings from which the developer would receive royalties
  • Partnerships with other education providers
  • Offerings developed in conjunction with publications
  • Offshoots from SAA Annual Meeting sessions
  • Maintaining an awareness of and information on educational offerings of related archival organizations in order to refer members/records keepers to needed education when SAA does not provide appropriate offerings.
  • Maintaining a clearinghouse on archival education offerings developed and offered by SAA as well as other organizations that are of interest to the archival profession

The assumption is that the developer and the instructors may differ, and that content development should not depend on the ability of the developer to teach the offering.

Assessment Factors to Consider in Content Development

The SAA Education Office should consider a variety of factors in content development. First and foremost, evaluation of current and potential content should be in line with the strategic plan and established priorities. Once a proposal has met this test, content should be evaluated using the following criteria:

  • Correlation with established curricula or curricular areas into which the Education Office wants to expand
  • Relationship to current content offerings or perceived gaps
  • Sustainability – resources, instructors, timeliness
  • Accessibility (Physical, Geographic, Economic, etc.)
  • Financial viability
  • Evaluations (for current content)
  • Organizational appropriateness
  • Shelf life
  • Delivery options

Relationship to Committee on Education and Professional Development (CEPD)

The Education Office and CEPD have a special relationship. CEPD has two major purposes relating to continuing education. These are to assess the profession's educational needs and to provide advice to the SAA Education Office. As such, CEPD is the primary mechanism within SAA that assists the Education Office in carrying out its functions related to archival continuing education. CEPD is responsible for setting the direction of the SAA Education programs. The Education Office is responsible for seeking advice from CEPD on all aspects of content development. The Education Office works with CEPD to:

  • Identify curricular areas in which the SAA Education Office should develop offerings
  • Prioritize areas in which content should be developed
  • Proactively solicit and encourage the development of content proposals in areas that have been prioritized
  • Assess potential educational offerings solicited for the annual meeting
  • Participate in regularly scheduled information sharing conferences (e.g. Council reports with the two CEPD co-chairs and Education Office)
  • Identify expertise from the SAA membership to assist the Education Office. If CEPD does not have the expertise with which to assess a proposed educational offering, members are responsible for seeking expertise within the larger SAA membership and advising the Education Office, when necessary
  • Collaborate in the educational needs assessment process
  • Review and analyze evaluations to ensure that all offerings support SAA as a provider of premier archival education offerings
  • Maintain contacts with other archival education providers

Content Delivery


The Education Office researches, creates, implements, and supports a range of content delivery methods and technologies in order to best align instructional delivery methods to learning objectives, content, and audiences of the Society’s continuing education programs. This section addresses instructor development, content delivery methods, formats, and technologies used by the Education Office to deliver continuing education opportunities.


The SAA Education Office is dedicated to providing excellent content delivery that meets the needs of its varied audience. This includes:

  • Providing resources and support to instructors for maintaining and enhancing their teaching skills, thereby contributing to a positive education experience for the learners
  • Incorporating more flexible delivery in SAA’s educational program by increasing the range of venues (e.g., face-to-face, online) for continuing educational offerings to reach the varied audience for such opportunities


Technological improvements in delivering multi-media over the Internet have increased the range of content delivery options. “Flexible delivery” is one umbrella term for the technology and educational principles represented by these new delivery opportunities. Flexible delivery may include various types of “technology-mediated instruction” such as audio-visual, computer assisted and online delivery as well as traditional instructional formats such as workshops, seminars, and institutes. At its simplest, therefore, flexible delivery expands the available choices for what, when, where, and how people learn. Such choices include:

  • Workshops: intensive, problem focused learning experiences that actively involve participants in the identification and analysis of problems and in the development and evaluation of solutions
  • Seminars: sessions in which a group of experienced people meet with a content expert to discuss a given content area and receive new information
  • Institutes: short-term, often residential programs that foster intensive learning on a well-defined topic
  • Clinics: short-term programs emphasizing diagnoses and treatments of problems participants bring to the session. Instructors or facilitators, rather than participants, diagnose problems and prescribe treatment
  • Distance Education: learning takes place in a different location and/or time than the instruction
  • Web-based courses: instruction is provided via the web including but not limited to:
    • Online slide presentations (e.g., PowerPoint): training is self-paced via slides
    • Web seminar: an instructor-led training opportunity that includes computer screen presentation with phone linkage for live interaction with the instructor and perhaps with other participants
    • Online discussion boards
  • Teleconferences (or audio conferences): instructor-led training provided through telephone connections for live interaction with the instructor and perhaps with other participants
  • Videoconferences (or interactive video): instructor-led training provided through video connections (television or desktop computer monitors) with cameras and microphones at all sites that allow the exchange of audio and video data

These options are not mutually exclusive; workshops, seminars, and institutes may incorporate aspects of interactive video, slide presentations, teleconferencing, and computer instruction as appropriate. It is the goal and function of the society’s Education Office to help instructors choose and implement a blend of educational delivery options as appropriate for the instructor, subject, and audience.

Content delivery should:

  • Enhance the learning experience
  • Offer instructors access to the most appropriate delivery methods as determined by their course content and audience
  • Offer instructors mechanisms and support for transferring traditional “teacher to class” presentations into distance education offerings as appropriate
  • Offer audiences a range of educational delivery options that better accommodate their goals and circumstances including accessibility
  • Expand the audience for the society’s continuing education program by increasing the range of participation options and extending the program’s geographical reach



Ongoing evaluation of SAA’s multi-faceted continuing education program, as well as the effectiveness of individual offerings, is critical to the continued success and improvement of SAA’s mission to the archival profession. Evaluation of the educational needs of SAA members is also an important responsibility for the Education Office.

The goal of evaluation is to analyze and incorporate proactive surveys of educational needs and feedback on all aspects of the continuing education program in order to ensure high-quality offerings that meet the needs and challenge the professional development of SAA members and others in the cultural heritage preservation community. SAA needs to continually explore creative and effective ways to solicit evaluative data, and to approach the topic of continuing education from a broad, organization-wide perspective. To accomplish this goal, the Education Office works with the Committee on Education and Professional Development (CEPD) as conduit between the Education Office and the Society’s membership in evaluating continuing education needs of the profession and assessing specific offerings that the Society has under development and in production.


The SAA Education Office

  • Utilizes a diverse array of evaluation techniques (pre-training, formative, summative, longitudinal) to assess the changing landscape of continuing education needs that the SAA Education Office might effectively address, and to evaluate and enhance the effectiveness of individual continuing education offerings delivered under the SAA name.
  • Effectively uses longitudinal evaluation data to communicate the effectiveness of its continuing education offerings to SAA members and others in the cultural heritage preservation community
  • Ensures that continuing education instructors regularly and effectively use formative evaluation techniques to insure that participants in continuing education offerings are mastering the offering’s published learning objectives
  • Consistently complete summative evaluations of all offerings to assess whether they continue to fulfill their learning objectives and the educational needs of participants
  • Works with CEPD in evaluating new continuing education offerings by serving as conduits to appropriate expertise within the SAA membership.


  • Pre-training evaluation: An assessment, administered prior to a continuing education offering, of the needs, base knowledge relating to a specific topic, and adequateness of preparation of those who will be participating in the offering. Pre-training evaluations are primarily tools to help continuing education sponsors screen for those potential participants for whom the offering would not be appropriate, and also to instructors to assist in tailoring an offering's learning goals or content to meet specific needs expressed by potential participants.
  • Formative evaluation: An assessment of some aspect of a continuing education offering while that offering is in progress. Formative evaluations are typically administered at logical break points in a continuing education offering (e.g., breaks, lunch, major transitions between activities) to assess on-the-fly whether participants have successfully mastered learning goals and/or content for a portion of the continuing education offering. In a continuing education setting formative evaluations are primarily used by the instructor(s) to assess the pace of the learning experience for participants, but are also useful for participants as a quick review of content and concepts covered.
  • Summative evaluation: An assessment of the overall effectiveness of a continuing education offering in meeting the educational goals and learning objectives for that offering. Summative evaluations are typically administered at the end of the continuing education offering. In a continuing education setting summative evaluations are primarily used by the instructor(s) and sponsor(s) to assess whether or not participants successfully learned what the continuing education offering set out to teach them.
  • Longitudinal evaluation: The collection of the same or similar data over time to assess the continued effectiveness or relevance of a continuing education offering to the needs of participants. Longitudinal evaluations can also be useful in gathering data to measure the impact of a continuing education program on individual participants or a broader professional group over time.

Evaluation Activities

In order to carry out its evaluation responsibilities for current and potential offerings, the SAA Education Office will

  • Explore the effectiveness and encourage the use of an array of evaluation and assessment tools.
  • Develop and use a multi-faceted suite of evaluative strategies to assess the changing landscape of continuing education needs of SAA members and those in the broader cultural heritage preservation community.
  • Mandate the use of appropriate formative evaluation techniques during the course of SAA continuing education offerings to help instructors assess mastery of key concepts (gleaned from learning objectives for a specific offering) by participants.
  • Develop post-offering summative evaluation instruments that assess participants’ mastery of content based on published learning objectives for the specific continuing education offering.
  • For continuing education offerings with practical, hands-on learning objectives designed to give participants a skill or technique that they can take back to their workplace, selectively administer follow-up (after 3-4 months) evaluation to see if they have been successful and, if not, what were the impediments to their successful translation of skills or techniques from workshop to workplace.
  • Utilize longitudinal evaluation to develop a profile of the success of SAA continuing education offerings.
  • Coordinate annual meeting evaluations to improve return rates, eliminate redundancy in evaluation instruments, and ensure inclusion of an evaluative component addressing continuing education needs of those in attendance at the annual meeting.
  • Publish selected evaluation data in brief Archival Outlook articles on a routine basis to reinforce to SAA membership the importance of evaluation in shaping the Society’s continuing education curriculum.
  • Encourage the effective use of evaluation and assessment strategies and the sharing of evaluative data among SAA continuing education partners.
  • Work with CEPD to evaluate proposed and current continuing education offerings and to identify appropriate expertise within the SAA membership to evaluate proposals if CEPD does not have the requisite expertise.

Educational Needs Assessment

Ongoing educational needs assessment is a core function of the SAA Education Office. Therefore, the Education Office is responsible for

  • Regular assessment of the educational needs of the SAA membership through a variety of formal and informal mechanisms. Such assessments might include, but are not limited to:
    • Evaluations of all SAA Education Office offerings
    • Evaluations of the Annual Meeting
    • Large-Scale membership surveys
    • Guidance from sections and roundtables
    • Coordination and networking with other educational providers and
    • Obtaining feedback from the Program Committee on emerging topics.
  • Analysis and use of outcomes of assessments in planning for future content development as well as the retirement of offerings.
  • Identification of gaps in current offerings and work towards filling the identified gap or directing membership to another educational provider.
  • Coordination with other entities within SAA and other education providers in conducting educational assessments in order to eliminate redundancies and maintain communication among stakeholders in archival continuing education.



The Education Office employs all available resources and methods to market its programs to SAA members and others responsible for records in any format. Education marketing efforts are designed to reach a maximum number of potential education program participants at least three times prior to an event. Market analysis is used to target a specific audience that results in matching topics to a group’s needs. The message is delivered in different formats that ensure that the largest possible audience is contacted. Monitoring strategies and methods for return on investment are an ongoing process.


To achieve the education Office’s mission to deliver continuing education to archivists, marketing strategies result in informing the appropriate audience of a program in a format that creates interest. Attracting enough participants keeps a program financially viable and guarantees that archivists have more education to choose from.

Marketing activities include:

  • Identifying market and targeting promotions to specific audiences
  • Creating interest with images and tag lines:
  • Developing marketing vehicles
  • Monitoring competition educational opportunities
  • Employing marketing strategies that combine all methods effectively
  • Utilize evaluative data in marketing as appropriate
  • Continually monitoring return on investment

Resource Development


In order to create a sustainable program of continuing education offerings the Education Office will pursue a variety of funding models. These include direct monies from SAA general funds, use of the dedicated educational endowment, and seeking outside funding to support the development and revision of new and current offerings as well as underwriters to defray the costs of offerings.


The SAA Education Office will pursue a variety of funding models and opportunities in order to support and grow its educational programs.


The Education Office will focus on two types of funding opportunities: underwriting and grant funding. In this area the Education office will

  • Identify and pursue appropriate underwriters for selected educational offerings
  • Identify potential granting agencies and develop grant proposals to grow and support SAA’s educational program
  • Work with other units in SAA and within SAA’s headquarters to identify funding agencies most appropriate to pursue with regard to the educational program.