SAA 2015 Candidate Interview: Christie Peterson

This post is part of the 2015 Candidate Interview series, presented in preparation for the 2015 SAA Election (March 13-April 13). Candidate statements will be posted daily through Friday, March 13. Read more statements from 2015 candidates here or check out our previous election series.

Christie Peterson
Records Management & Digital Archivist, The Johns Hopkins University
Candidate for Nominating Committee
Read her bio and response to questions posed by the Nominating Committee here.

What role should SNAP Roundtable play in SAA?

The role that SNAP Roundtable plays in SAA should be defined by its active members and their chosen leaders. SNAP Roundtable has and will continue to evolve as an organization, and its role should change along with the needs and desires of its membership. In the past, I have seen SNAP acting as an incubator for leadership and participation in SAA by students and new professionals, as well as an organizing force and a voice around issues important to its members. These are significant roles that I hope SNAP continues to fill, though I would be excited to learn about and support other directions its leaders would like to take it.

i>How can SAA leaders, and your role in particular, better engage SNAP constituents?

I am running for a position on the Nominating Committee, which will recruit candidates to run for SAA elected positions in 2016 and determine the questions they will answer as part of the official slate of candidates. As I mentioned in my official candidate statement, one of my goals for that position is to recruit candidates with a range of professional experiences. It is vital to the present and future of SAA that it develops leadership talent among its members by recruiting those with less experience, including SNAP constituents, to serve in positions where that lack of experience won’t necessarily impede their success.

How can SAA improve public understanding of the archives profession?

SAA and its leaders should continue to speak out directly and authoritatively whenever archivists and archival issues are in the public eye. Our current president and Council have been active in this arena and have engaged with SAA members about how this work is done, and I hope the next set of leaders continue this trend. It would be fantastic if, within a few years, journalists stop and think, “Oh, I’d better get this right, or the archivists will be on me,” whenever they’re tempted to write about the “dusty archives” or the “archive” that one person has amassed in their storage locker.

How can SAA improve archival education?

SAA should continue to host and promote the Directory of Archival Education, which invites graduate programs to describe how they meet SAA’s Guidelines for a Graduate Program in Archival Studies, and SAA should regularly update those guidelines to reflect shifting professional needs. SAA should also continue to provide high-quality education on critical current topics directly to archival practitioners through its workshops, seminars, webinars and conferences. Of course, I’m also open to new ideas, and I hope to find candidates for next year’s elections who will bring them.

What advice do you have for new professionals in our field?

The one piece of advice that I would give to any archival professional, regardless of career stage, is to be engaged. There are many ways to be engaged with the archival profession, but all of them develop a network of colleagues who will be your most valuable resource for all types of things, from finding the right job for you to solving your toughest archival quandaries. Active members of SNAP are already well on their ways to developing their own networks.


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