The New England Archivists (NEA) Mentoring Program is a 2019 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award given by the Society of American Archivists (SAA). The award will be presented at a ceremony during the Joint Annual Meeting of the Council of State Archivists and SAA in Austin, TX, July 31–August 6. The award recognizes an archives institution, education program, nonprofit organization, or government organization that has given outstanding service to its public and has made an exemplary contribution to the archives profession.
Launched in 2013, NEA’s Mentoring Program rethinks traditional one-to-one mentoring models through the creation of Mentoring Circles. The Circles, consisting of four to six mentees and two co-mentors, foster relationships between mentors and mentees and expand mentoring into ongoing peer relationships. The Program has served more than 100 mentees in six years and has increased to include a virtual program connecting those who may otherwise be geographically isolated. The NEA Mentoring Program has been used as a model for other regional archival organizations, such as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC). The Chair of the Membership Committee of MARAC states, “[The NEA Mentoring Program] is truly innovative and incredibly beneficial to participants. As such, where we were initially going to borrow several aspects of many programs for our mentoring enterprise, we are now going [with] the entire NEA model.”
The Mentoring Program not only fulfills an important need by helping its members grow and connect in innovative ways, it also actively and openly shares this model allowing the possibility for expansion beyond its community. During its six-year history, the NEA Mentoring Program has grown steadily and developed into an engaged, enthusiastic community of archivists and record keepers who generously share their insights, advice, and expertise with one other.
SAA’s Distinguished Service Award was established in 1964. Previous recipients include the Society of Southwest Archivists, Council of State Archivists, Georgia Archives Institute, the Archives Leadership Institute, and the Black Metropolis Research Consortium.
- Society of American Archivists press release, May 2019