I recently attended our second funded round of the Archives Leadership Institute (ALI), now based at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky. Funded by the National Historical Publications & Records Commission (NHPRC), the goal for the Institute is to “bring to tomorrow’s leaders the insights and understanding necessary for increasing public use and appreciation of archives.” I am a member of the Steering Committee: (Rachel Vagts, ALI Director) is now at Berea College as well as representatives from New York (Geof Huth), Massachusetts (Beth Myers), Ohio (Dan Noonan), Oregon (Terry Baxter), Texas (Brenda Gunn), and of course, North Carolina (Tanya).
For our first year at Berea, we worked with the faculty to revise the schedule and again reviewed applications (there were nearly 100 submissions for 25 slots). The Committee conducted daily evaluations of the curriculum, and monitored the overall process by serving as facilitators for small groups in the cohort.
We also had a new curriculum coordinator, Mark Nigro of Berea College’s Brushy Fork Institute. We started our week with Christopher Barth, from West Point, who spoke on Strategic Visioning and Team Development. Chris also incorporated a small group ethics discussion, focusing on an incredibly thought-provoking case study authored by our ZSR Dean Tim Pyatt. The CoHort held many opinions about various aspects of the case and there was lively discussion.
Sharon Leon (Director of Public Projects, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and Media, George Mason) who oversees OMEKA and Scripto, focused on project management for day two; our Coordinator, Mark Nigro presented on StrengthsFinder for Day 3; Barbara Teague (Library of Virginia) presented on Advocacy (Day 4); and we concluded with Dr. David Gracy (retired from the archives faculty at UT-Austin) Skyping in to have a discussion with us and answer questions. In between, there were team puzzles, energizers involving rubber chickens and creativity, broom making, diversity presentations, and lots of candy. One of the week’s highlights was visiting the bell hooks Institute, and listening to bell speak and answer questions.