Help SAA Assess the Health of Its Sections

April 3, 2023—Please complete this survey to help SAA Council improve the health of sections by April 30 at 11:55 p.m. CT.


Sections play an important role in SAA. This is why, in 2019, after many discussions spanning a number of years, the SAA Council created a formal working group “to consider options for strengthening and ensuring the sustainability of member affinity groups.” (See below for the working groups’ efforts in the past few years.) The current Section Health Assessment (SHA) Working Group has proposed that the Council conduct an assessment of section health that engages the general membership in order to make more informed and holistic decisions. The SHA Working Group is proceeding with the member-wide Section Health Assessment Survey, which focuses on both the sections’ requirements for good standing and how sections bring fulfillment and connection to members. This data will help the SAA Council and staff, along with section leadership, improve the health of our sections and build a sustainable and flexible system in which members’ experiences are beneficial and meaningful as SAA’s capacity and goals grow and evolve over time.

With the increasing number of sections (currently 47), SAA Council and staff are concerned with the health of these affinity groups in terms of responsiveness to elections, assistance with governance, fiscal oversight, and other areas of support. The SAA Council, staff, and section leadership want to ensure that section members’ interests are fueled and their professional and social engagements are meaningful, while also considering our current facilitation and engagement model. For these reasons, it is essential that SAA Council and staff, with the help of section leadership, nurture and sustain an effective and flexible system that supports members’ interests and needs over time. Additionally, we are interested in input from the 65% of membership who are not a member of any section.

SAA Council’s Sections Health Assessment Working Group invites you to participate in the survey to better understand the value members receive from their engagement with sections, as well as other potential avenues for professional development and building communities of practice. This information will be crucial as the Council makes further decisions about how best to manage and support sections so that members’ investments are worthwhile. In the coming months, the Working Group will assess the survey data and make recommendations to the Council about member experiences with sections, and SAA Council liaisons will be in discussion with section leadership about section governance requirements, health metrics, and survey data to inform next steps.

It is the Council’s intention to be transparent concerning each step of this process so that you are well-informed and given the opportunity to provide input. The Council continues to facilitate this collective process to improve the health of sections and enrich your investment in SAA.

The survey is anonymous. Your responses will be viewed by members of SAA Council and staff. The SAA Council members who are conducting this assessment are Joyce Gabiola, Jasmine Jones, Dominique Luster, and Lydia Tang. For questions or feedback about this survey, contact Lydia Tang (

Please complete this survey by April 30, 2023 at 11:55 PM CST. Thank you for your time and honest responses to the survey!

Note: The 2020 Working Group on Sections proposed a number of recommendations (see reports below). From 2020 to 2022, section leadership shared their insights through section annual reports. Building on this work, the Council charged a new working group in 2022. The following Council reports contain pertinent agenda items: