A recent IMLS report identified current, nationally significant gaps in knowledge and skills between LIS graduates and the needs of employers. It underscored the necessity of curriculum changes to meet evolving practice. Bolstering this point, SAA President (2018-2019) Tanya Zanish-Belcher underlined the fundamental need for a closer relationship between professional associations such as the Society of American Archivists, practitioners, and archival training programs. Diverse archival educators and practitioners in all career stages must rise to the challenge of preparing the next generation of archivists to address these concerns.

The Master’s degree is the dominant credential by which one enters professional archival practice. It therefore provides the foundation for successful lifelong learning, prepares the next generation of archivists to meet the evolving needs of the profession and of society more broadly, and is the professional seedbed for most archival educators and faculty members. Centered on developing, sharing, and adopting innovative pedagogical practices for lifelong learning, this project aligns with the IMLS’s Strategic Plan (2018-2022).
It will strengthen the capacity of archival programs to improve the training and skills development of their students, making for a better-prepared and more competent workforce. More specifically, it contributes to the capacity of these aspiring archivists for problem-solving, clear communication, informed decision-making, interdisciplinary inquiry, critical thinking, collaboration, and service to and engagement with their communities and constituencies.

This Forum project will first discern the current state of archival education concepts, principles, methods, skills, competencies, and practices based on an extensive, multi-faceted environmental scan. Second, it will develop strategies to address pedagogical gaps and augment current good practices. Third, it will propagate actionable recommendations for practice and produce concrete, generalizable deliverables. More holistically, it will raise awareness, increase understanding, develop and further solidify strategic partnerships, and help forge a sustainable community of practitioners and educators.

Research Team

Alex H. Poole (PI), Drexel University

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Associate Professor at Drexel University’s College of Computing and Informatics, Alex H. Poole studies archives and records management, diversity, equity, and inclusion, digital curation, and digital humanities. Poole has received the Jesse H. Shera Award for Distinguished Published Research from the American Library Association, the Bob Williams History Fund Research Paper Award from the Association for Information Science and Technology, the Arline Custer Memorial Award for Best Article from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference, and the Theodore Calvin Pease Award from the Society of American Archivists.

Jane Zhang (Co-PI), Catholic University of America

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Jane Zhang is an associate professor at the Department of Library and Information Science, Catholic University of America (CUA). She holds a PhD in Library and Information Studies with Archives Concentration from Simmons College, Boston, and a joint Master of Archival Studies and Library and Information Studies from the University of British Columbia, Canada. Before joining the faculty at the Catholic University in 2011, she worked at the Harvard University Archives and the University of Calgary Archives. At CUA, she teaches courses in Archives Management, Electronic Records and Digital Archives, Digital Curation, Metadata, Organization of Information, and History and Theory of Cultural Heritage Institutions. Her research areas cover records and recordkeeping, digital archival representation, and archival education and scholarship and her research papers appeared in key archival journals and other LIS journals. Jane served as chair for Academy of Certified Archivists’ Examination Development Committee (2018-2020), and chair for Society of American Archivists’ Committee on Education’s Graduate Archival Education Subcommittee (2019-2020). She also served as PI for a sponsored research project to build a historical archiving program for Special Olympics International (2017-2019). 

Ashley Todd-Diaz (Co-PI), Towson University

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Ashley Todd-Diaz, Ph.D., is Assistant University Librarian for Special Collections and University Archives at Towson University in Baltimore. Her research interests are libraries and archives as organizations, graduate archival education, and archival literacy. Her dissertation explored the physical and virtual power structures and dynamics surrounding archives and libraries that exist within a parent-child organizational relationship, and how those dynamics are communicated to and perceived by external stakeholders. She teaches as an adjunct in Emporia State University’s School of Library and Information Management and Drexel University’s College of Computing and Informatics. She currently is Chair of the Graduate Archival Education Subcommittee of the Society of American Archivists’ (SAA) Committee on Education and a member of the Committee on Education.

Advisory Board

Jeannette Bastian ​

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Jeannette A. Bastian is a Professor Emerita at the School of Library and Information Science, Simmons College, Boston, Massachusetts, where she directed their Archives Management concentration from 1999- 2019. A former Territorial Librarian of the United States Virgin Islands, Jeannette holds an M.Phil. from the University of the West Indies and a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. She is currently an Honorary Fellow in the Department of Information at the University of the West Indies.

Her books include West Indian Literature, A Critical Index, 1930-1975 (Allis, 1982); Owning Memory, How a Caribbean Community Lost Its Archives and Found Its History (2003); Community Archives, The Shaping of Memory, ed. (2009); Archives in Libraries; What Librarians and Archivists Need to Know to Work Together (2015); Decolonizing the Caribbean Record, An Archives Reader, ed. with John Aarons and Stanley Griffin (2018); and Community Archives, Community Spaces, ed. with Andrew Flinn (2019).

Devan Donaldson ​

Meredith Evans ​

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Meredith Evans is the 74th President of the Society of American Archivists and employed as the director of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum. Formerly an Associate University Librarian at Washington University in St. Louis and UNC Charlotte, she deeply believes in supporting research, scholarship and community collaborations to increase civic engagement. Evans has written on the role and value of libraries, archives and museums as advocacy organizations that support and document social change, people and events that are often used to write history and create documentaries.  She actively formed and integrated social media, digitization, digital scholarship programs at different institutions and believes it is instrumental in the work of cultural institutions. Evans earned a master’s degree in library science from Clark Atlanta University, a master’s degree in public history from North Carolina State University and a doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Anne Gilliland ​

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Anne Gilliland is Associate Dean for Information Studies, School of Education & Information Studies; Professor and Director of the Archival Studies specialization in the Department of Information Studies; and Director of the SE&IS Center for Information as Evidence,  at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). She is a faculty affiliate of UCLA’s Centers for Digital Humanities, European and Russian Studies, and for the Study of International Migration, as well as the Promise Institute for Human Rights in the UCLA School of Law. From 2008 to 2019, she was Director of the Archival Education and Research Initiative (AERI). She is a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists and recipient of numerous awards in archival and information studies.

Her interests relate broadly to the history, nature, human impact, and technologies associated with archives, recordkeeping and memory, particularly in translocal and international contexts. Specifically her work addresses recordkeeping and archival systems and practices in support of human rights and daily life in post-conflict settings, and rights in records for forcibly displaced persons; the role of community memory in promoting reconciliation in the wake of ethnic conflict; digital recordkeeping and computational archival science; and research methods and design in archival studies.

Rebecca Hankins ​

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Rebecca Hankins is the Wendler Endowed Professor and certified archivist/librarian at Texas A&M University. She is an affiliated faculty in the Interdisciplinary Critical Studies Program that includes Africana, Women’s & Gender, and Religious Studies. Her work has appeared in The International Review of African American ArtCritical MuslimFoundationAmerican ArchivistRUSQ, and most recently an essay titled “Practicing Islam in the time of COVID-19” freely available in the eBookReligion in Quarantine: The Future of Religion in a Post-Pandemic World edited by TAMU Communication’s Professor Heidi Campbell.

Petrina Jackson ​

Photo of Petrina Jackon, taken by Kevin Grady
Credit: Kevin Grady

Petrina Jackson began as the Lia Gelin Poorvu Executive Director of the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America and Librarian for the Harvard Radcliffe Institute November 2021. She was the director of the Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) at Syracuse University Libraries where she oversaw the Belfer Audio Laboratory and Archive, University Archives, and all curated collections. Before Syracuse, she served at Iowa State University as the head of Special Collections and University Archives. Prior to that, she served as the head of instruction and outreach at the University of Virginia’s Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, and senior assistant archivist for the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections at Cornell University. 

Jackson received a B.A. in English from the University of Toledo, an M.A. in English from Iowa State University, and a master of library and information science degree from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a widely recognized leader in the field by her active roles within the Society of American Archivists and the American Library Association’s Rare Books and Manuscripts Section.

Aisha Johnson 

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Dr. Aisha Johnson serves as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Outreach at Georgia Tech Lbrary. An educator and scholar experienced in academic program assessment and administration, curriculum development, and outreach, she stands on a soapbox of advocacy for underrepresented communities. Her scholarship focuses on the development of literacy in the African American community through the development of Southern public libraries. Dr. Johnson’s impact has been recognized with honors including Distinguished Alumni Award from Florida State University’s iSchool (2020) and the Freedom Scholar Award from Association for the Study of African American Life and History (2021).

Christopher A. (Cal) Lee ​

Christopher (Cal) Lee is Professor at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He teaches courses and workshops in archives and records management; understanding information technology for managing digital collections; and digital forensics.  His primary research focus is the long-term curation of digital collections.  He is particularly interested in the professionalization of this work and the diffusion of tools and methods into professional practice.  Cal developed “A Framework for Contextual Information in Digital Collections,” and edited and provided several chapters to I, Digital: Personal Collections in the Digital Era.  He has served as Principal Investigator of the Digital Acquisition Learning Laboratory (DALL), BitCurator, BitCurator Access, BitCurator NLP, BitCuratorEdu, and Review, Appraisal and Triage of Mail (RATOM) projects.  He has been Co-PI on OSSArcFlow and several projects focused on digital curation education: DigCCurr, DigCCurr 2, Closing the Digital Curation Gap (CDCG), Educating Stewards of Public Information in the 21st Century (ESOPI-21), and Educating Stewards of Public Information Infrastructure (ESOPI2).  Cal was also Senior Personnel on the DataNet Federation Consortium funded by the National Science Foundation.  He is a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists, and he serves as editor of American Archivist

Nancy McGovern ​

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Nancy Y. McGovern is the Director of Digital Preservation at MIT Libraries and of the Digital Preservation Management Workshops. She has been preserving digital content for more than 30 years. Her interests include sustainable digital preservation and radical collaboration for inclusive communities. She is a past president of the Society of American Archives (SAA) and has a PhD in digital preservation from UCL.

Ricardo L. Punzalan ​

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Ricky Punzalan is an associate professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Information. He teaches in the area of archives and digital curation. He specializes in improving Indigenous communities’ access to their digitized and archived heritage through virtual reunification, improving archival practices, conducting community-based research, and re-establishing more ethical relationships between Indigenous peoples and heritage institutions. He holds a Ph.D. in Information as well as graduate certificates in Science, Technology, and Society (STS) and Museum Studies from the University of Michigan. He previously taught on the faculty of the University of the Philippines School of Library and Information Studies (2000 to 2006) and the University of Maryland College of Information Studies (2013 to 2019). At Maryland, he co-directed the University’s Museum Scholarship and Material Culture graduate program. Prior to pursuing his doctorate, he worked on a variety of archival projects in the Philippines, which include establishing the archives of a former leprosarium and curated a museum exhibit for the centennial of its founding as a segregation facility. Ricky is currently a research associate at the Smithsonian’s National Anthropological Archives and Council member of the Society of American Archivists. 

Kelvin White ​

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After completing his PhD at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2008, Dr. White joined OU as an Assistant Professor. He is currently an Associate Professor of Information Studies in the School of Library and Information Studies and the Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Community in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Using social justice as a framework, his research examines the interconnections between the social, cultural, and historical contexts in which recordkeeping activities exist and the implications they have for marginalized or underrepresented communities; critically interrogates contemporary archival theory and other constructs such as archival education and practice; and develops ways in which education and pedagogy might contribute to cultural relevancy and sensitivity in archival practice and research. His current research includes understanding how tribal culture influences recordkeeping activities in Osage and Comanche nations of Oklahoma, understanding the information needs of historians of women’s history, and assessing archival education in Caribbean communities.

Dr. White served as a co-principal investigator of the Archival Education and Research Institute (AERI), which is a collaboration of archival education programs that aims to educate a new generation of academics in archival education who are versed in contemporary. During his involvement with AERI, he developed the Emerging Archival Education Program (EASP),

which serves a recruitment and outreach program to encourage students at the undergraduate and graduate levels from backgrounds that are underrepresented in the archival field to consider undertaking doctoral education focusing in Archival Studies. He also served as President of the International Council on Archive’s Section of Archival Education and Training (SAE) and served as the Co-Chair of the Society of American Archivists’ Cultural Heritage Working Group (CPWG).

Tanya Zanish-Belcher ​

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Tanya Zanish-Belcher is currently the Director of Special Collections & Archives, and University Archivist (2013-) for Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Previously, she held the position of curator, Archives of Women in Science and Engineering (1995-2013) and department head/associate professor (1998-2013) at Iowa State University. She earned her B.A. from Ohio Wesleyan University (With Honor, history) and an M.A. from Wright State University (historical and archival administration).

Her research interests focus on women’s and gender issues in archives and collections, collections management, and mentoring and leadership in the archives profession. Her most recent publication is Perspectives on Women’s Archives (edited, with Anke Voss) for the Society of American Archivists (SAA 2013). She is a Past President (2009-2011) of the Midwest Archives Conference (MAC) and was a member of the SAA Council (2012-2015). She was named an SAA Fellow in 2011 and served as SAA’s 73rd President (2017-2018).

Forum participants

Sumayya Ahmed

Dr. Sumayya Ahmed joined the Archives faculty of Simmons University’s School of Library and Information Science in 2020 after teaching for several years in the Program in Library and Information Studies at University College London’s global campus in Doha, Qatar.

Her research focuses on archives and documentary heritage in North Africa and the region called the Middle East. It navigates the complexities of private archival collections, societal provenance and public heritage in the region. She was the co-editor of the 2016 De Gruyter publication, Library and Information Science in the Middle East and North Africa and continues to publish on the topic.

Sarah Buchanan

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Sarah A. Buchanan is an Assistant Professor in the iSchool at the University of Missouri; see https://education.missouri.edu/person/sarah-buchanan/ for a faculty profile. She investigates provenance research methods, data storytelling with archives, and preservation of audiovisual collections, and serves as the emphasis leader for Archival Studies. Related publications examine topics in information history as well as collection data quality and graduate education in archival studies. Dr. Buchanan currently convenes the Archival / Preservation Education ALISE SIG, is active in the Society of American Archivists, and serves as Reviews Editor for Digital Humanities Quarterly.

Athena Jackson

Athena Jackson began her role as Dean of Libraries and Elizabeth D. Rockwell Chair at the University of Houston on February 15, 2021. She was most recently the Director of Library Special Collections at the University of California, Los Angeles. Athena has broad experience empowering teams and individuals to engage in contemporary access, authentic inclusion, and transformative learning opportunities and has a passion for working with faculty, staff, students, donors, researchers and communities.

Athena was previously Dorothy Foehr Huck Chair and Head of the Eberly Family Special Collections Library at Penn State. Before that, Athena served as Associate Director of Special Collections at the University of Michigan Special Collections Library. Athena managed Reader Services and Collection Services and participated in the planning, policy development, and priority-setting for the special collections library. Athena has previously served as Special Collections Librarian at the University of Miami, Education and Outreach Librarian and Project Manager/Librarian for the Digitizing Louisiana Newspapers Project at Louisiana State University, and North Carolina Newspaper Digitization Project Coordinator and Archivist at the North Carolina State Archives.

Athena holds a Master of Science degree in Library and Information Science from the University of North Texas, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Houston, and she is a proud junior college graduate of Wharton County Junior College in Wharton, Texas.

Jessica Lacher-Feldman

Jessica Lacher-Feldman is the Exhibitions and Special Projects Manager at the University of Rochester’s River Campus Libraries’ Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. She also serves as the curator of the AIDS Education Collection at the University of Rochester, the largest collection of HIV/AIDS posters in the world, and is curator for several other areas including Theater and Drama collections. She holds an undergraduate degree in French Studies and History and graduate degrees in History and Library and Information Science with a concentration in Archives from the University at Albany, and has been active in the archival profession for over two decades. She is the author of Exhibits in Archives and Special Collections Libraries (SAA, 2013) and most recently co-edited the book, Up Against the Wall: Art, Activism, and the AIDS Poster (RIT Press, 2021). Jessica is an adjunct faculty member at the University at Buffalo’s Department of Information Science.

Zack Lischer-Katz

Zack Lischer-Katz, PhD is Assistant Professor in Digital Curation and Preservation at University of Arizona’s iSchool. He is a multidisciplinary researcher who studies the creation, use, and preservation of visual information formats, including virtual reality, 3D, video, and film. He is currently researching curation tools for 3D data and investigating the accessibility challenges of virtual reality technologies in academic libraries. Dr. Lischer-Katz received his PhD in Communication, Information & Library Studies from Rutgers University and his MA in Cinema Studies from Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. Before joining the University of Arizona, he was a postdoctoral fellow at University of Oklahoma Libraries through the Council on Library & Information Resources (CLIR) fellowship program.

Carli Lowe

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Carli V. Lowe is the University Archivist at San José State University’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library. Her work is focused on studying and developing practices that shift collecting strategies, expand archival audiences, and improve the sustainability of archival institutions, with the goal of ensuring that archives are relevant to present needs and prepared for future challenges.

Nora Mattern

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Eleanor “Nora” Mattern is a faculty member at the School of Computing and Information at the University of Pittsburgh. She is the Director of the Sara Fine Institute at Pitt, which hosts programming that focuses on social justice and technology, critical data studies, and the relationships between people and technology. Her current work focuses on the role of libraries in open civic data work.

Derek Mosley

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Derek T. Mosley is the Archives Division Manager at Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History in Atlanta, Georgia. He has previously worked at the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library and the Ernest J. Gaines Center at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Derek is active in a number of professional organizations including the Society of American Archivists, American Library Association and the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.

Courtney Mumma

Courtney Mumma is the Deputy Director of the Texas Digital Library consortium. In this role, she is the service manager for the Texas Data Repository and Digital Preservation using Chronopolis and DuraCloud@TDL, as well as the service and OSS community lead for Vireo ETD. Prior to her work in Texas, Courtney worked in web archiving at the Internet Archive and was one of the creators of the Archivematica open source digital preservation workflow system.

Robert Riter

Robert B. Riter is a faculty member in The University of Alabama School of Library and Information Studies where he coordinates the School’s archival studies program. His research concerns topics in archival history, book history, and the publication of original sources.

Jen Wachtel

Jen Wachtel

Jen Wachtel is an archivist at History Associates, Inc., where she collaborates with other archivists and collections managers on archival arrangement and description projects for government and private clients. Jen is also the Chair of the Society of American Archivists Committee on Education, assessing the professional’s educational needs, preparing and promoting standards for archival education, preparing and promoting continuing education programs, and advising the SAA Education Office. Previously at the University of Maryland Libraries, she processed mixed-media collections documenting American broadcasting history and facilitated interdepartmental collections-as-data projects. 

Jen earned her Master of Arts (MA) in History and Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from the University of Maryland. Her specializations were Modern Europe and Archives and Digital Curation, respectively. In addition, Jen completed a graduate certificate in Museum Scholarship and Material Culture, where she designed a joint historic preservation and archives practicum with Preservation Maryland and the University of Maryland Libraries. She received her BA in History from UMBC in 2015, graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, with minors in German, Judaic Studies, and Art History.