Diversity Committee Meeting Minutes August 7th, 2012

SAA Diversity Committee Meeting

August 7, 2012

10:00 am – 1:00 pm

San Diego Hilton Bayfront (Aqua 305)


Minutes Prepared by René Mueller


In attendance: Chair Bergis Jules; members Wesley Chenault, Erica Castaño, Michelle Gachette, Rabia Gibbs, Robin Katz, Lucinda Manning, Anne Massmann, Debbie Richards, Deb Torres, Elizabeth Scott (incoming Membership Committee Chair and Ex Officio Diversity Committee member); Council liaison Deborra Richardson; and SAA Executive Director Nancy Beaumont, Member and Technical Service Director Brian Doyle, and Program Coordinator René Mueller.



Outgoing and incoming members introduced themselves.


Council Liaison Report (Richardson)

Review of applicable Council actions, including descriptions of SAA offices and new process suggestions for the Nominating Committee, scheduled review of SAA’s strategic plan in January 2013, revisions to various award descriptions, and pending work on the Displaced Archives Project.


ARL/SAA Grant Application to IMLS for Mosaic Program (Jules, Beaumont)

Jules summarized the project; Beaumont supplied administrative details. Work on this began in January 2011; grant deadline was recently moved to Sept. 17, then to Sept. 24. The Committee’s discussion covered what was included under the Mosaic umbrella and whether other award recipients would attend the Mosaic leader symposium. The Archives Leadership Institute cohort will meet at the SAA Annual Meeting for one day either before or after the meeting and is about working within an organization as a professional leader. The grant’s proposed Program Officer is Mark Puente at ARL, who is working with ARL and SAA staff. Sustainability of a program beyond the grant cycle is definitely a goal. ARL’s collaboration with MLA and the Music Library was cited as a similar successful project.


The Committee discussed other for diversifying the profession, focusing on other orientations beyond those that seemed education-oriented. Some wanted a project that would support new professionals, paraprofessionals, those not able to do a four-year program, or those who have family/community obligations. Some were interested in funding people to attend the Modern Archives Institute, and the discussion turned to leadership development. Examples of grant-funded projects included:

-          ALA’s emerging leaders program, which has cohorts, picks a one-year project, includes a mentor component, and might be a good idea for new professionals

-          ARL career enhancement program

-          Atlanta University Center, which places undergraduate interns in archives around the country;

-          AHA (via executive director Jim Grossman) (not sure if they have undergraduate internships)


The idea of the Mosaic Program is to target small liberal arts schools for professional development in undergraduate studies. Assessment of the program should fit with IMLS strategic plan. Support letters should come from national, regional, and prominent faculty at an ARL institution. Consider approaching roundtables in SAA that support diversity to find these prominent educators. Note: Subsequent discussions between SAA and ARL let to a decision to focus on the graduate student education and internship, rather than undergraduate studies.


Ways the Diversity Committee can help with the grant application:


-          Letter of support from Academy of Certified Archivists / Diversity Task Force

-          Atlanta University Center: intern to learn about other options / digital humanities

-          Letters of support from regionals: MAC, MARAC, etc.

o   Prominent faculty in archives institution

o   Library schools that have IMLS grants/demonstrated diversity

o   Focused on archives


Mentoring in Mosaic and in SAA: The conversation shifted to mentoring, both within the context of the Mosaic Program (which contains a mentoring component) and of SAA. Doyle summarized the history of SAA’s mentoring program, its tie to the Membership Committee, restructure, and matching components. Roundtables like Lone Arrangers and RMRT were conducting separate mentoring efforts that have now been combined in the Membership Committee effort. Mentoring is a member benefit; although the pool of potential mentors is limited, there are several dozen mentors on the Mentoring Subcommittee.


The group discussed how the mentoring component of the Mosaic Program could be supported by the current structure in SAA. There would need to be some connection between the program administrator and the Mentoring Subcommittee. Training might be needed so mentors emphasize respect, time commitment, and a strong peer-to-peer relationship. Some members suggested that the mentoring form request information for minority matching include information on sex, race/ethnicity, location, preferred match, bi- or tri-lingual, first generation, professional versus social mentoring, age and generation gap to ensure the best possible success. There was also interest in incorporating SAA component group participation.


The following specifics were discussed as possible fields needed on the mentoring match form:

-          Race / ethnicity / sex

-          Participant in Mosaic

-          SAA component group membership

-          First generation matching

-          Professional mentor and/or social/self-identified match

-          Age / gender gap

-          More than one mentor / more than one protégé?

-          As much information to match as possible


The program needs to provide a way to find a mentor that matches with an individual if they need it. Many programs fail because the mentor has no knowledge of how often or when to engage. This is also a lot to put on one person. Consider the following for Mosaic:

-          Mentorship is not limited to one person (i.e., an individual can have more than one mentor – maybe one professional and one self-identified match).

-          Mentors need more training (emphasize respect, time commitment, and a strong peer-to-peer relationship).

-          Support for mentors.

-          Evaluation of the mentor/protégé relationship (i.e., ARL program where the two meet face-to-face at the beginning and end of the year).


Synergy is important in mentoring. When you get people together successfully, coalitions are built around similarities. Career advice and mentoring are not the same things. Mentoring is a lifelong relationship. Training is so important to make everyone feel supported. Consider incorporating training as a component of the grant.


Member Needs and Satisfaction Survey (Doyle)

Doyle introduced the membership survey results received in the spring of 2012, summarized the various activities planned to understand the results, and opened the floor for discussion and questions. Highlighted activities included the newly launched SAA presidential blog (Off the Record) and an article (Inside SAA’s Member Survey Results) by Meissner describing the Council’s plan to cull information from the survey. Facts noted by Doyle: survey response rate was 35%; three out of four SAA members (or 75% of the membership) are female.


Discussion explored the iteration and follow-up process for the survey, which (according to SAA’s consultant) had a relatively high response rate, considering the number of questions and length of time (20-30 minutes) required to complete the survey. By comparison, the A*CENSUS survey conducted in 2004 also had a 33-35% response rate. The group reviewed demographics (slide 13), captive members (slides 104-106), and member loyalty (slide 108); the Council’s plan for analysis; SAA’s strategic initiatives and the impact of diversity; and member loyalty assessment (slide 19). Some suggested that the survey be used to look at gaps – at who is out there and NOT a member of SAA. Doyle also directed committee members’ attention to slides 176 and 177, “SAA’s Strategic Initiative Drivers,” which reveal that diversity of the profession and diversity of the archival record are the second and third highest strategic priorities among individual members, and that diversity of the profession is the highest strategic priority among institutional members.


Case Studies on Diversifying the Archival Record (Torres)

Discussion launched on what it means to diversify the archival record. Case studies would be examples of how different archives or archivists have diversified the record. Strategy of how this can happen is needed. Development of a call is needed.


A call for examples of how an archivist / archives have diversified the archival record should outline what it means to diversify the American record. There were several sessions on this in 2010 (i.e., collection development policies and donor roles, Native American collections, family histories, African American collections, mixed heritage projects). What will the vetting process be? Investigate what is being covered in the SAA diversity reader currently in publication – talk to SAA Publications department. Fast track the communication of case studies. Consider a blog format for this project, or a freer format. Chenault and Torres agreed to work on this and lead an online discussion. Gibbs, Katz, Massman, and Richards agreed to help develop a work plan.


Adjourned at 1:00 p.m.


Referenced Group Meeting: