Diversity Committee Meeting Minutes, August 12, 2014

SAA Diversity Committee Meeting
August 12, 2014
3:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Marriott Wardman Park, Suite 8228
Washington, D.C.


Welcome and Introductions

Committee members in attendance included chair Tywanna Whorley, vice chair Holly Smith, Bev Allen, Stuart Campbell, Sasha Griffin, Robin Katz, Luncinda Manning, Christina Thompson Shutt, Deb Torres. Aaisha Haykal, ex officio member representing Archivists and Archives of Color Roundtable, also attended the full meeting, as did Council liaison Tanya Zanish-Belcher and staff liaison René Craig. SAA President Danna Bell attended part of the meeting.

Guests included Sam Winn, Terry Baxter, Sarah Espanoza, Teresa Mora, Mary Hanes, Dennis Meissner, Helen Wong Smith, Steven Booth, Jamie Roth, and Mark Puente.

Review of the Diversity Committee Charge and Membership Appointments
Bell would review appointments and why changes to charge have occurred later in the meeting. Whorley thanked committee members rotating off, including Campbell and Torres (plus Chenault, Salvatore, and Massman, who were not in attendance).

Review of Past projects (2013-2014)

  • Diversifying the Archival Record Poll (Deb Torres, Ann Massman, and Cecilia Salvatore)
  • Diversifying the Archival Record Case Studies (Deb Torres, Ann Massman, and Cecilia Salvatore)

Summary: Previous projects were outlined in the committee’s 2013 annual report and included a poll on what it means to diversify the archival record. The 2014 forum responds to the poll and will include presentations from those writing about diversity (Kathy Neal at forum talking about the book). Case studies not as successful, but hope to build on it.

Sponsored Event: Diversity Forum: Diversifying the Archival Record

Speakers included: 

  • Mary Caldera, Head of Arrangement and Description in Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library, and Kathryn Neal, Associate University Archivist, University of California, Berkeley  – “Through the Archival Looking Glass” book
  • Matthew Fredericks, Academic Services Officer, School of Library and Information Science, Wayne State University - IMPLS grant to Wayne State for 2-year online program (10 scholarships), providing mentorship, funds for books and conferences.
  • Lauren Gaylord, MS Candidate in Information Studies / Vice President of SCoSAA, University of Texas at Austin - “Mosaic Scholarship” (ARL/SAA Mosaic Program) winner, talking about experience.
  • Bergis Jules, University and Political Papers Archivist, University of California, Riverside  – Former Diversity Committee chair. Worked on grant with George Washington (and Mosaic Program) – capture history, politics, culture of DC area in huge database. Each institution will be provided with interns to process collections in DC. Interested in creating classes with this; goal is to be a model that other institutions can emulate.

ARL/SAA Mosaic Program was a Diversity Committee project. Last year was a poll on what it means to diversify the archival record. Discuss future year and develop subcommittees to tackle projects.

Discussion of Future Projects

Case Studies – Whorley summarized discussion with Prom re process for building case studies; Prom offered to help. Call for 3-member subcommittee to put together these case studies. Volunteers: Allen (not chair), Katz (maybe). Whorley meeting Prom at Annual Meeting to discuss.

Diversity Toolkit – Thompson Shutt was on the developing group. Issue: how to attract persons of color into this field; not historically represented by persons of color. Toolkit designed as something to use to go and talk about it (college and high school). Took 1-2 years to develop; created in 2010. Developed post card in 2013; had presentations; not lots of feedback on how successful it because outside of a regular program. Sources: brainstorming and committee discussions; personal passion of Athena Jackson.

Uses of toolkit:

  • Salaries as a major consideration for recruiting
  • Awareness: people many not be aware of archives and archivists (intent of original document)
  • Reach out to donors, users, or workers
  • Use sections and roundtables to expand upon; COPA
  • History teachers as resources
  • Institutional changes, and not just those affected by the individual – recruitment and retention issues
  • Next generation more interested in technology
  • ALA Knowledge Recruitment program: focused on college and grad students to go to career fairs (3 year IMLS grant-funded project) (session on this, 10 am on Saturday); exposes more students; Spectrum applicants.
  • Ongoing conversation: too many entry level people, given the job market. If recruiting with an eye to diversity, tough balance to strike. Discussion about importance of at least exposing people to the field.

Data – Bell provided summary of IMLS application for ACENSUS II grant (turned down). She also spoke of the need for different kinds of data now, how imperfect data is okay, and emphasized getting data stores in one place. SAA is looking for new funding. SAA Foundation will be considered to get us going, but funding is needed for a big project. Number of other things jumped in front of this, but this is at the forefront now. Roe’s primary goal is advocacy; pushing on COPA and CAPP.

Idea: Interns - Have students in SAA intern on committees. Focus on retention: one way to engage and increase retention. Provide funding for students to intern on committees – or sections. Dennis Meissner has ability to appoint interns to committees. Danna encouraged people to apply to vacancies. RAO put call out for interns; encourage students to apply.

Idea: Change SAA Mosaic Scholarship to include internship component. (If do that, need internship opportunities.)
Idea: Diversity Committee internship. How does RAO do this? Have people apply; RAO reviews applications.
Idea: Development of curriculum around Diversity Reader. Can be related to toolkit.
Idea: As part of toolkit, “Preserving Culture as a Career” (toolkit subcommittee).
Idea: Training workshops for Historically Black Colleges and Universities Institute – apply for a grant for that. Mellon grants fund HBCU initiatives. Expand to include schools with high Latino populations.

Idea: 2015 Diversity Forum - Recruit minorities, as well as historians, social studies teachers. Discussion about where archivists coming from – librarians, tech industry. Many disciplines overlapping with this profession. Public history is a passion for many minorities. Way to galvanize communities on what archives mean to them, outside of the traditional Western/European way of thinking of archives. Understand what archives means to different community, community archiving. Advise on best practices in these situations.

  • Ask component groups about what they would like to see in a forum. Want to see more events with a different format besides speakers (poetry, song, dance).
  • Collect proposals from component groups; starts ball rolling; have diversity track through the annual meeting (like repository tours).
  • Discussion about diversity as a thread in sessions (Program Committee); encouraged group to submit proposals.

Issue with diversity: becomes the committee’s problem when it should be an issue for the whole membership.

Idea: Encourage workshop proposals– diversity as leadership – 90 minute webinar. (Roth) Donors connecting with materials, emotional side of the profession. Alternative education experiences welcome.

RBMS example of Preserving Culture as a Career - LibGuide that deals with special collections and where to find them. ALA 2015 session…need for webinar and educational programming, the larger issues archivists face. Finding aids in other languages? Things in a collection unique to that community (e.g., oral histories), how do you handle it. AASLH does a ton with that stuff.

Related events at this meeting: Session 106 (mainstreaming diversity issues in curriculum), noontime forum.

ARL-SAA Mosaic Program Leadership Forum Update (Puente) – SAA-member populated Mosaic Program Advisory Group took the lead in programming. 2015 cohort is in process; not announced yet, might have 6 program fellows because had some savings this year. 45 applications first year; this year 32-33, but there has not a problem with quality. Brief summary of how they are funded. Discussion about name of Mosaic Scholarship versus ARL-SAA Mosaic Program name. Pleased and impressed with academics, work, output of recipients. ARL placement records and retention rates are very good.

List of subcommittees volunteers and project priorities:

  • Diversity Case studies (Bev, Robin) [short term priority, work on now]
  • RBMS toolkit (RBMS approved for SAA to use, see disclaimer on the back of handout) (Sasha, Lucinda, Christina, Robin) [short term priority, work on now]
  • Internships on SAA component groups (committees, sections, roundtables) with mentoring aspect (Aaisha) [longer term priority]
  • Curriculum based on Diversity Reader (none)
  • HBCU Institute / 2016 (Holly)
  • 2015 Forum (?Manning)

Diversity Committee restructure (Bell) – A vice chair was added to the group and roundtable representation was adjusted so that chairs of the five roundtables would serve on committee as liaisons, rather than full members. There were concerns that in the previous structure, roundtable representatives were more concerned with their groups’ agendas rather than broader diversity topic. Discussion of size of committee; roundtables did not have a charge; needed something more specific. Important that chairs of roundtables attend meetings to take ideas back to sections/roundtables. Ex officio restructure to help information flow between committee and component groups. Discussion of flow of projects between Council and Diversity Committee, and between Diversity Committee and various groups. Opportunity to get to know the groups.

Adjourned: 4:59 pm.

Referenced Group Meeting: 
0814DiversityCommitteeMinutes_final.pdf168.79 KB