Committing to Change: Call for SAA Leader Self-Nominations

Helen Wong Smith, SAA Vice-President/President-Elect

Aloha! Margaret Mead is credited with saying “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” We have seen this manifest itself both within and outside SAA, regardless of the number of years someone has served in the Society and society. Making your voice heard by volunteering for a leadership role is one such way to be a committed citizen for change for SAA.

A myriad of component groups provide avenues for you to apply your talents in areas you see opportunities for change or improvement. Whether you seek to facilitate knowledge-bases for a specific standard or platform or to increase the application of approaches and protocols to benefit multiple sectors, there is no limit to the positive change you can make. These contributions need not be dramatic through agitation—significant changes can also be made through soft power and collaborative approaches. We all benefit by considering diverse voices when making decisions through an inclusive process, and, as an SAA leader, you are positioned to facilitate these changes which impact not just your colleagues but the archival record and profession. 

Your unique perspectives, skills, and networks are not just applicable to a leadership position but may very well be the essential blend that affects change in the Society and society. This is the power Margaret Mead speaks of and too often we underestimate the impact we can have. In 2008, when then-SAA Vice President Tim Ericson appointed me to the Committee on Education, I believed myself unqualified as I was not an archival educator in a traditional setting. However, within that role, I conducted a survey of diversity courses and efforts in archival programs, thus contributing to the foundational knowledge of the diversity (or lack thereof) in our profession at that time.  

Embracing the collaborative model, I am forming an Appointments Committee to join me, and I am honored to have Tomaro Taylor (University of South Florida Libraries) as the chair. 

In Hawaiʻi we colloquially espouse the term, “it’s a kākou thing,” a word meaning a “we” of three or more. The phrase indicates we are in this all together. It recognizes that the strengths of the many are needed toward a common goal. I hope you’ll join me in effecting change toward a Society which impacts society at large.

How to Volunteer

For the 2023 appointments cycle, there are more than 80 positions to be filled across SAA’s 25+ appointed groups, which include boards, committees, subcommittees, task forces, and working groups. Review the list of available positions below and choose up to five groups for which you feel interested and compelled to serve. Then, submit your leadership self-nomination form by December 15, 2022.

There are many ways to learn about an SAA group before applying. Check the group’s microsite for recent information and the current leadership roster. Ask current group members about their experiences, the time commitment, ebbs and flows in the work, and relationships to other component groups. SAA’s Leader Resources page also has great information about the general responsibilities of leadership positions.

Starting in January 2023, the Appointments Committee will review and consult with group leaders to make sure we understand each group’s needs, particularly regarding the diversity of our membership. In this context, diversity includes race and ethnicity, gender identity/expression, years in the profession, geographic region, abilities, and type of archival repository experience. Individuals will be appointed to 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.

Appointments Available in 2023

The following groups will have vacancies, with new terms beginning in August 2023. (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: December 15, 2022

Available Positions

American Archivist Editorial Board (2)

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

Committee on Ethics and Professional Conduct (2)

Committee on Public Awareness (2)

Committee on Public Policy (1)

Committee on Research, Data, and Assessment (2-3)

Crisis, Disaster, and Tragedy Response Working Group (2-3)

Dictionary Working Group (1)

Diversity Committee (3-4)

Finance Committee (1)

2024 Host Committee (must live near Chicago, IL) (10-12)

Membership Committee (2-3)

2024 Program Committee (Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL) (10)

Publications Board (3)

Standards Committee (3-4)
— Technical Subcommittee on Describing Archives: A Content Standard (TS-DACS) (2-3)
— Technical Subcommittee on Encoded Archival Standards (TS-EAS) (4)
— Technical Subcommittee on Guidelines for Reappraisal and Deaccessioning (TS-GRD) (2)

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 Student of Color Award (1, one-year appointment)
Fellows’ Ernst Posner Award (1, must be an SAA Fellow)
Preservation Publication Award (1)
Spotlight Award (1)

To Volunteer

To volunteer, log in and submit the self-nomination form by December 15, 2022. 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 specific and detailed information that will be shared with both the Appointments Committee and current appointed group chairs so they 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