By Kat Stefko
Perhaps you are already a member of the College & University Archives Section of SAA? If you are not, I hope you will consider joining us. The best way to learn about the section is to attend our annual meeting, which will be held this year on July 28 from 11:15 am to 12:30 pm during SAA’s Archives 2017 meeting in Portland, Oregon.
Our annual section meeting is always a good time to get to know the section’s leadership, to hear about SAA business with a direct impact on academic archives, and to learn more about issues of relevance for those of us working in university and college settings.
This year’s section meeting will offer all those things, and more! I’m delighted to announce on the behalf of the Steering Committee that we have arranged for a thought-provoking, interactive, and educational discussion about faculty papers, a topic that we all deal with in our own ways in academic archives. Our discussion will be facilitated by Section members Amy Allen, Ruth Bryan, Cory Nimer, Dainan Skeem, and Christine Weideman.
Given that our time together at SAA is relatively short, our facilitators will be offering a series of Academic Archivist blog posts on various topics related to the collection, maintenance, and administration of faculty papers. Consider these posts your required reading. While I can’t ding your grade for not doing your homework, I can promise that our time together at SAA will be much richer if you take a moment to consider these thoughtful and short essays in advance. The first will appear in early May and the last in late June, giving you plenty of opportunity to read and reflect on these offerings.
Here at Bowdoin we recently lost a beloved professor, someone perhaps known more for teaching than for scholarship, but who made a significant impact on the lives of countless students. This passing immediately raised a question in my mind about what place the professor’s papers might or should have in our collections. Our current collection development policy appraises faculty papers based on a scholar’s contribution to literature more than lives. Taking everything isn’t an option for us, so how do we best scope our collection development policy to reflect for the nuances and nature of what makes Bowdoin the special place that it is—a place defined by remarkable scholars who teach not just in the classroom but through the example they set, showing students first-hand what it means to be a citizen of the world and to care deeply? There are no easy answers, but I can’t think of a better way to work through these complex questions than with my C&UA colleagues. I look forward to seeing you all in Portland.
Kat Stefko is Director of Special Collections & Archives at Bowdoin College and current chair of the College & University Archives Section of SAA. She has held library and archives positions at Duke and Harvard universities, Bates College, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.