SAA 2009 Election Results
Helen Tibbo Elected SAA Vice President / President-elect
Helen Tibbo, a professor in the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, has been elected SAA's vice president for 2009–2010. Tibbo will begin her one-year term as VP this August following the Joint Annual Meeting in Austin and then will become SAA’s 66th president in August 2010.
Twenty-one percent of eligible voters participated in the election, voting online for the first time. Of 4,932 eligible voters, 1,062 cast ballots from March 11 to April 11 using VoteNet’s secure online software. Six votes were cast using a paper ballot.
Tibbo says the Society’s leadership must "develop, refine, and maintain a culture that reaches out to the membership and beyond for ideas, feedback, and extensive effort if the goals of a more technologically adept, diverse, and prominent profession are to be achieved."
In her candidate statement, she also addressed the effort to raise public awareness about the profession and said SAA should use contemporary methods to do it. "Archivists, led by SAA, must embrace the amazing communication tools now available for rapid deployment of a unified message and vision. Rather than posters, flyers and mailings, we need YouTube videos, an SAA Facebook page, and links on repository websites.
"SAA’s website should become the focal point of an extensive online archival social network that would facilitate communication in the profession and help users and other stakeholders understand the power and importance of the archival profession. This will require a radical rethinking of SAA’s role and its responsibility in representing the profession."
Tibbo has worked for the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill since 1989, as an assistant, associate, and full professor in the School of Information and Library Science. She served as an associate dean from 1996 to 2000 and a McColl Term Professor from 2002 to 2004. She earned a PhD in Library and Information Science from the University of Maryland-College Park in 1989, and a master’s degree in American Studies in 1984.
Her involvement with SAA includes: Research Forum co-founder and co-organizer (2005–present); SAA Council member (1997-2000); American Archivist Editorial Board (2001–2008 and 1991–1994); Appointments Committee ( 2005–2006); Publications Board chair (1994–1997); and member of the Archival Educators Roundtable (1986–present). She won the Fellows' Ernst Posner Award in 1994 and was named an SAA Fellow in 2005. Tibbo joined the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference in 1985 and has been a member of the Society of North Carolina Archivists since 1990.
Tibbo said SAA needs "a clearly articulated vision of required technological skills and knowledge" to ensure it can "establish visionary educational guidelines that challenge educators and take a leading advocacy role that will push graduate and continuing education programs forward." If the Society can bring together various constituencies of the archives profession, along with records creators and archive users, it will be able to "develop a vision that is inspirational and achievable even in these fiscally challenging times."
Aimee Felker Elected SAA Treasurer
Aimee Felker of California was elected SAA’s next treasurer. Felker will succeed Anne Russell, whose three-year term expires in August.
In her candidate statement, Felker said, "The treasurer must protect the organization’s assets and work with members, Council and staff to conserve our financial resources and yield the maximum benefit." She outlined the three steps she would take to accomplish this: consolidation and coordination; advocacy and awareness; and diligence and decision-making.
To achieve these steps, she noted: "As treasurer, I will be well-positioned to find additional ways to improve efficiency as I focus on SAA’s income and expenses patterns rather than specific program activities. . . . I will work with the SAA Foundation to attract donors and promote cost effective joint advocacy initiatives. . . . [and] I will question spending and if appropriate, vote against activities that may compromise SAA’s future or advocate for less popular ideas that will best serve SAA’s long-term objectives."
Felker served as records manager in Sacramento, California, from 2007 to 2009. Prior to that, she was a federal records manager for the Executive Office of the President in Washington, D.C (2004–2006), senior records analyst for the National Archives and Records Administration (2002–2004), consultant for the International Monetary Fund (2001–2002), and associate archivist for the CIGNA Corporation (1997–2001).
Felker currently is co-chair of the 2009 Program Committee. She served on the Council from 2004 to 2007 and has been a member of SAA since 1989.
Four Elected to Serve as Council Members: Cline, Frusciano, Lawson, and Richardson
Four members will join the SAA Council after the Joint Annual Meeting in Austin in August: Scott Cline, Tom Frusciano, Brenda Lawson, and Deborra Richardson. More than 1,000 SAA members cast their votes in the 2009 election.
Cline, Frusciano, and Richardson succeed outgoing members Rebecca Hankins, Leon Miller, and Nancy Lenoil and will serve three-year terms. Lawson, who will serve for two years, replaces Sara “Sue” Hodson, who stepped in last year when Robert Spindler resigned.
The candidates for the Council were asked to respond to the following question posed by the Nominating Committee: "What factors should a Council Member consider when evaluating specific proposals that aim to put the Society’s strategic priorities into action?" In 2005, SAA identified three priorities as critical to the ongoing success of the profession: Technology, Diversity, and Public Awareness/Advocacy.
Scott Cline, Seattle Municipal Archives
"Governance done well is a challenging endeavor. It must be waged with seriousness tempered with good humor, uncompromising integrity, and a strong faith in the future of our profession. Any work undertaken by SAA on behalf of its members and the profession must be engaged with attention to archival values and the creation of value," says Scott Cline. "Ultimately, Council must continually ask 'What are SAA's priorities?' and determine whether proposals fall in line with its answer. Faith in the future and faith in the value of archives drives our work and it should drive our governance."
Cline is currently the director and city archivist for the Seattle Municipal Archives, a position he has held since 1985. He previously worked as an archivist for the Cleveland Jewish Archives at the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland, Ohio. He teaches Archival and Manuscript Services at the University of Washington. Cline earned his master’s degree in history with a specialization in archives management from Portland State University. He has been a member of SAA since 1982.
Clines says "In evaluating specific proposals to implement the Society's priorities, Council members should look at three overlapping considerations—program evaluation, the realities of governance, and SAA’s national leadership role on records and information—and the series of questions that arise in each." In his candidate statement, Cline proposed a series of questions for each matter. For details, go to: http://www.archivists.org/governance/election
Tom Frusciano, Rutgers University Libraries
Tom Frusciano named the primary factors he thinks the Council should focus on when mulling over a proposal: Its impact on the Society and the profession, feedback and contributions from members, and the financial implications.
"First and foremost, any proposal must specifically address the targeted strategic area and discuss its potential impact on that area and benefits to the archives community," he said, adding, "SAA consists of talented individuals who take the archival mission and their professional responsibilities seriously. Thus, the feedback of SAA members regarding proposals should also be a factor in their undertaking, as should the ability of a proposal to identify and recruit members who can assist in putting plans into action."
The final factor is money. "SAA’s finances are limited and new projects and initiatives may require financial support. Funding opportunities should be investigated for projects that warrant support from the SAA leadership."
Frusciano is the university archivist in Special Collections and University Archives for Rutgers University in New Jersey. He has been at Rutgers since 1989, where he is also a part-time lecturer at the School of Communications, Information and Library Studies. In addition, he is an adjunct assistant professor for the Archival Management and Public History program at New York University. Frusciano has a master's degree in history from the University of Montana and a certificate in archival management from the University of Denver. He has been a member of SAA since 1976.
Brenda Lawson, Massachusetts Historical Society
Brenda Lawson says Council Members must be mindful of the long-term effect of the strategic initiatives as they weigh the value of short-term proposals. They must also weigh the financial implications against other goals and objectives of the Society. "With today’s shrinking budgets, economic considerations are more important than ever, but SAA must not be shortsighted. The Society must continue to think about the long-term success of our profession; a commitment to diversity, technology, and especially to advocacy and outreach, are paramount to our viability."
On Diversity: "SAA members must act as ambassadors for the profession to minority communities in order to raise the general awareness about archives. SAA should also work with archival graduate programs to establish both scholarship and incentive programs to encourage minority students to enter the profession."
On Technology: "Council members must remember that they represent a constituency with a wide range of experience and resources. Archivists from larger institutions must play a leadership role in the development of procedures for dealing with electronic records. However, archivists from institutions with limited staffs or little technological infrastructure will require turnkey systems and more fundamental information to keep up with the current demand for online information and digitized materials."
On Advocacy: "Leadership in the area of electronic records not only fulfills our professional mission to keep and maintain records in all formats, it also gains recognition for the importance of archivists and archival records in a wider arena. This is more critical than ever as public funding for archival grants is endangered and archivists must advocate for their positions even within their own institutions."
Lawson is director of collections services for the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston, where she has worked since 1988. She earned a master's degree in history and an MLIS from Simmons College. Lawson has been a member of SAA since 1988.
Deborra Richardson, Smithsonian Institution
Deborra Richardson is another newly elected Council member who is prepared to examine all aspects of a proposal. "Whenever I make judgments about proposed action plans for organizations, I consider a series of questions," she said. "I pose these questions to myself and I discuss them with my colleagues, depending upon the circumstances."
Some of the questions she asks are: Which strategic priority does this plan address?; Where is it on our list of priorities?; How will the plan benefit the group as a whole?; Will it benefit the entire group or some portion?; Who or what is the audience?; How cost effective is the proposal?; What is the value?; Will we receive a good return on the investment?; What is the motive behind the proposal?; Will this proposal work?; and Who thinks it will and why?
"When these questions are answered to my satisfaction, through investigation and discussion, I feel equipped to exercise good judgment in evaluating action plans and trust that I would assist my colleagues to select proposals that would serve the best interests of the Society and the profession," Richardson says.
Richardson is the chair and chief archivist for the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. She previously worked as assistant chair in the Archives Center and as an archives specialist, both at the Smithsonian, which she joined in 1990. She earned a master’s degree in library science from the University of Maryland-College Park and a bachelor’s degree in music from Howard University.
Editor’s note: All of the above newly elected officers have extensive accomplishments as authors and presenters, as well as experience serving on SAA committees and in other professional organizations. The lists were too long to be published here but can be viewed on SAA’s website at: http://www.archivists.org/governance/election/2009/index.asp.
Nominating Committee Plans to Look Beyond "Usual Suspects"
In April members elected three individuals to serve on the 2010 Nominating Committee: Terry Baxter (Multnomah County Records Program), Amy Cooper Cary (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), who will serve as chair of the committee, and Daniel Santamaria (Princeton University). Three new members are elected to the committee every year, which selects a slate of candidates to present for membership vote and drafts questions for inclusion in the candidates' statements.
This year’s candidates were asked to present their ideas on the following questions: "What qualities are necessary for service as an elected officer in the Society? How would you help develop a qualified and diverse slate of candidates for the 2010 election?"
Terry Baxter is a records analyst and archivist for the Multnomah County Records Program in Portland, Oregon. A member since 2000, he thinks that an elected officer requires wit and verve, and an ability to provide leadership.
"In the modern organization, effective leadership requires officers willing to involve as much of the membership in decision-making as possible. These leaders will be open to new ideas and ways of doing things. They will be flexible and willing to share both power and expertise, understanding that vision is a communal action, not an individual one. They will be member-centered, remembering that the society exists to serve its membership. They will be technology friendly and literate, especially where technology can increase collaboration and communication. And they will be willing to take risks in advancing both the profession and its individual members."
Baxter says developing a slate of candidates that meet these criteria could involve "looking beyond the usual suspects to people who may not have traditional backgrounds or work settings."
"The growing body of archivists finding new ways to use the Web for social networking can play a key role in helping develop this slate," said Baxter. "Nominations are not some trade secret. An open discussion of both the Society’s needs and the people required to meet those needs will only benefit us all."
Amy Cooper Cary is the archival studies program director and a senior lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Information Studies. She has been a member of SAA since 1998.
Cooper Cary says that because officers should be advocates for the profession and the membership, it's important to find people who can communicate effectively. "Fundamentally all elected officers, regardless of position, serve as advocates for the profession and for SAA's membership. Therefore, officers must prize communication with members and the public, openly addressing the challenges and issues facing SAA and the profession," she said.
Cooper Cary says she will work toward "...not only identifying individuals with the specific talents necessary for each position, but also identifying how potential candidates will promote the larger goals of SAA and its members."
"In striving for diversity, we must also actively engage in a dynamic process that asks us to challenge our own perceptions. I anticipate and trust in my ability to think outside of the confines of my own professional experience, not only to consider the specific needs of each position and the talents of my colleagues, but also to uphold SAA’s commitment to representation of diverse voices and communities, and to recognize the importance of our varying professional views and institutions."
Daniel Santamaria is an assistant university archivist for Technical Services in the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library at Princeton University. He has been a member of SAA since 2000.
He says SAA will have to evolve to meet the challenges the profession currently faces. "SAA needs leaders who possess an openness to new ideas and a willingness to take risks, and who will embrace and foster change."
Upcoming leaders should have an understanding of what it’s like to enter the field now to adequately represent the association’s student membership (now at 25 percent), he says, and look at people who have the ability to lead, if not the experience.
"The pool of talent for mid-level and management positions, however, seems increasingly smaller and I fear that many talented people are leaving the profession. To sustain and strengthen the profession we need to tap into that talent, and facilitate involvement within SAA, before people get discouraged," adds Santamaria.
"When filling leadership positions in SAA, we need to seek out and provide opportunities to archivists who want them and who can make significant contributions. This may involve taking a few risks on people who are clearly capable—but unproven in association leadership. The rosters of section and roundtable leadership are a good source for identifying new candidates, but even those who have not yet served in such positions should be considered."