Fellow: Donna E. McCrea

Donna E. McCrea, professor and head of archives and special collections at the University of Montana in Missoula, will be inducted as a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists (SAA) during a ceremony at the Joint Annual Meeting of the Council of State Archivists, the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators, and SAA in Washington, DC, August 12–18. The distinction of Fellow is the highest honor bestowed on individuals by SAA and is awarded for outstanding contributions to the archives profession.

McCrea’s nominators noted she is a compelling example of archival leadership and management. At the University of Montana, where she oversees collection development, reference, and access for archives and special collections, she has successfully used the department as a laboratory for experimenting and applying innovative theoretical approaches to archival practice. Her application of the “more product, less process” model, for instance, accelerates access to archival materials and augments service to researchers. Throughout her scholarship, McCrea effortlessly connects national archival trends with local issues and implementation. In 2009, she was granted tenure at the university in recognition of her research, service and professional contributions.

Within SAA, McCrea has consistently brought her initiative, analytical abilities, resourcefulness, and energetic commitment to a number of projects. In addition to being elected to the SAA Council and serving on two program committees, McCrea played an influential role as co-chair and then chair of the Education Committee. When confronted with a demanding issue—one regarding the potential to have SAA act as an accrediting body for graduate archival programs—she not only took the time to understand each committee member’s viewpoint, but also sought to provide context for the discussion. As a result of McCrea’s work, the Education Committee revised guidelines and improved SAA’s online Directory of Archival Education Programs—an outcome that would not have been possible without her strong leadership and commitment to tackling difficult tasks. McCrea has also represented SAA in both the Coalition to Advance Learning in Archives, Libraries, and Museums and the Nexus Leading Across Boundaries project; she currently serves on SAA’s Task Force to Revise Best Practices on Accessibility.

As one supporter noted, McCrea’s strength is her “dogged insistence on giving back what she’s learned—the strategies, successes, and failures in her application attempts—through her numerous memorable and valuable writings and presentations. In many ways, she is the proverbial poster child for the benefits that an investment in professional organizational engagement can bring to an archival program.”