Call for Volunteers: Task Force on Member Affinity Groups

At its May 15-17 meeting the SAA Council voted unanimously to establish a Task Force on Member Affinity Groups that will provide the Council with advice regarding what sorts of affinity group structures might be most effective in encouraging flexible, inclusive, and participatory opportunities for members. See the group's description below for details. SAA Vice President / President-Elect Danna Bell-Russel seeks SAA members to serve on this task force.

If you're interested in serving, include in an email message directed to your full name, title, institution, and experience within SAA (e.g., how many years a member, section and roundtable memberships, committee service), along with a brief statement of interest and qualifications (specifically related to your expertise in the topics outlined in the Purpose statement). Please use the subject line: Member Affinity Groups Task Force (Your Last Name). Deadline: June 10.

Task Force on Member Affinity Groups

I. Purpose
The Task Force on Member Affinity Groups is charged to consider the most effective structures to encourage flexible, inclusive, and participatory opportunities for the membership. This should include an evaluation of the effectiveness of current affinity groups (sections and roundtables ) and consideration of for whether a different structure would better serve SAA's members.  The group is also charged with identifying what kinds of support and resources are needed to allow current and proposed potential affinity groups  to work most effectively.

II. Task Force Selection, Size, and Length of Term
Following an open call  for participation, the SAA Vice President/President-Elect shall appoint five members of varying lengths of membership in SAA, including some members with past leadership experience with active sections or roundtables.  One of those members will serve as the chair.  All appointments are effective from July 1, 2013, through September 1, 2014.

III. Reporting Procedures
The Task Force will submit a progress report in January 2014, preliminary recommendations in May, and final recommendations in August 2014

IV. Duties and Responsibilities
The task force will deliver to the Council a final report with recommendations as to whether or not SAA's policies regarding the structure and support of member groups such as sections and roundtables should be modified in order to make more effective use of SAA's resources and best meet member needs.  The group should evaluate whether the current requirements for section and roundtable activity are effective, and if they are not, recommend new requirements.  The Task Force should also evaluate what kinds of resources and administrative structures are best suited for encouraging member participation in SAA-sponsored affinity groups.

In addition to other research and activities the Task Force deems necessary to meet its charge, the task force will endeavor to obtain the input of the members on what they most value in their current affinity groups, where their groups have been most challenged, and what expectations they have for networking in SAA.  The Task Force will also examine current and historical data on section and roundtable activities.

The Task Force will consider such general issues as:

  • Role of affinity groups in facilitating member communication and participation in the organization;
  • Opportunities and threats associated with structural change;
  • Estimated cost to SAA, including staff time, of supporting an affinity group;
  • Estimated administrative time required of Council members for liaison responsibilities;
  • Results from any surveys sections/roundtables have conducted of their memberships; and
  • Interviews with leaders of sections and roundtables.

V.  Meetings

The Task Force will accomplish its work primarily via email, conference call, Skype, Google+ hangout, and perhaps an in-person meeting at the 2013 Annual Meeting.