Find Your Place in SAA: Volunteer for SAA Appointed Groups

Rachel Vagts, SAA Vice-President/President-Elect

During my first semester of library school at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, I took my first archives course from Rick Pifer. Rick taught me a lot about being an archivist—in that class and by giving me a work-study job at the Wisconsin Historical Society. Of the advice and guidance he shared, joining SAA and becoming an active member has probably had the greatest influence.

It took me a couple of years to find my place in this organization. I worked for a small college, and it was hard to justify the larger cost of attending a national conference rather than a regional one—until I was invited to my first appointed role in SAA. From my early days as a key contact to the Membership Committee to leadership in the College and University Section to my current role as vice president/president-elect, I have found that having an appointed or elected role in SAA has deepened my commitment to and experience in the archives profession.

I invite you to consider how you might have that experience yourself by volunteering for one of the many appointed roles within SAA.

How to Volunteer

Browse the list of appointments available below. If you’re not familiar with the group or position, follow the links to review the group’s description and check out their recent work. If you would like to talk to someone about the group, look for the group’s roster and reach out to a current member. There is a wide range of possibilities, and you’ll find descriptions, microsites, and rosters of the groups here

Identify one or two positions that really interest you and apply for them using the volunteer form. I suggest that you volunteer for a group to which you can bring your enthusiasm and expertise, rather than simply applying for any and all open positions. Please encourage your colleagues to volunteer, too.

If there are more volunteers than appointed positions available—which unfortunately is often the case—there are other ways to get involved, such as volunteering for service in your favorite section. Each year, many sections struggle to find volunteers to run for elected positions. If you don’t get appointed to a position through this process, answer the call in May to serve in your section to build your leadership and service portfolio—then apply again! 

The Appointments Process

As the vice president/president-elect, it’s my privilege and honor to make appointments for all 2019–2020 vacancies. The SAA Appointments Committee helps me in this task. Serving on this year’s Appointments Committee are Chair Beth Myers (Smith College) and committee members Lauren Algee (Library of Congress), David Benjamin (University of Central Florida), William Jackson (Harley-Davidson Motor Co) Derek Mosley (Auburn Avenue Research Library), and Kate Stratton (Gates Archive).

The Appointments Committee will review the lists of vacancies and volunteers, consult with current group leaders to learn about the needs of each group, and make their recommendations to me. We will follow SAA’s longstanding policy of making appointments that reflect the diversity of our membership, including years in the profession, race and ethnicity, gender, geographic region, and type of archival repository. To ensure that as many of our enthusiastic members as possible can gain experience as an appointed leader, individuals will be appointed to no more than one position at a time, and current leaders will not be reappointed to a second term unless there is a critical requirement to continue some aspect of the work beyond their original term. It will be my responsibility to make all final appointment decisions.

As it was once pointed out to me, we should never forget that we are the Society of American Archivists— not for—so please join me in volunteering for an appointed position with SAA. I look forward to working with you!

Appointments Available in 2020

The following groups will have vacancies, with new terms beginning in August 2020. (The number of vacancies is indicated in parentheses.) Review descriptions of the groups by following the links below, and then volunteer to serve

Application Deadline: January 17, 2020

Available Positions

American Archivist Editorial Board (4)

Awards Committee (1 co-chair)

Brenda S. Banks Travel Award (1)
C.F.W. Coker Award (1)
Distinguished Service Award (1)
Diversity Award (1)
Mark A. Greene Emerging Leader Award (1)
Josephine Forman Scholarship (1)
F. Gerald Ham and Elsie Ham Scholarship (1, must be an SAA Fellow)
Philip M. Hamer and Elizabeth Hamer Kegan Award (1)
Oliver Wendell Holmes Award (1)
Innovator Award (1)
J. Franklin Jameson Archival Advocacy Award (1)
Sister M. Claude Lane, OP, Award (1)
Waldo Gifford Leland Award (1)
Mosaic Scholarship (2)
Theodore Calvin Pease Award (1, one-year appointment)
Donald Peterson Student Travel Award (1)
Harold T. Pinkett Minority Student Award (1, one-year appointment)
Fellows’ Ernst Posner Award (1, must be an SAA Fellow)
Preservation Publication Award (1)
Spotlight Award (1)

Committee on Education (3)
Digital Archives Specialist (DAS) Subcommittee (2)
Graduate Archival Education (GAE) Subcommittee (1)

Committee on Ethics and Professional Conduct (3)

Committee on Public Awareness (4)

Committee on Public Policy (2)

Committee on Research, Data, and Assessment (3)

Diversity Committee (4)

Finance Committee (1)

2021 Host Committee (Anaheim, CA) (10-12)

Membership Committee (3)

2021 Program Committee (Anaheim, CA) (10)

Publications Board (3)

Standards Committee (4)
Technical Subcommittee on Describing Archives: A Content Standard (TS-DACS) (3)
Technical Subcommittee on Encoded Archival Standards (TS-EAS) (2)

To Volunteer

To volunteer, log in and submit the self-nomination form by January 17, 2020. You may save changes and come back to this form; you may also change or resubmit information. SAA membership is required both to view the self-nomination form and to be appointed to an SAA group.

The application requires quite a bit of information so that the Committee can make sound recommendations. This process can be competitive, so please send your strongest highlights that relate to the position for which you’re applying. 

Questions? Contact appointments@archivists.org.