Berea College Archives Receives $243,954 Grant to Host Archives Leadership Institute

The Berea College Archives has been selected to develop and host the Archives Leadership Institute for three years, 2016 – 2018. In support of the project, Berea College Archives has been awarded $243,954 by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

The Archives Leadership Institute (ALI) will provide advanced training for 25 emerging and innovative leaders each year, giving them the knowledge and tools to transform the archival profession in practice, theory and attitude. Beginning with a weeklong residential Leadership Intensive held on Berea College’s campus each June; participants will also complete a focused practicum project that will connect leadership skills with action.

“The Archives Leadership Institute brings archivists together from across the country to think together, to learn together, and to tackle big ideas,” Rachel Vagts, Head of Special Collections & Archives at Berea College, says. “Participants leave the institute transformed, empowered, and ready to create change and progress in the world of archives. I’m very excited at the opportunity for the Institute to be presented at my new home institution.”

The weeklong Leadership Intensive includes practical and theoretical workshops taught by David Gracy, Christopher Barth, Sharon Leon, and other national experts. The core approach will intertwine strategic and advanced leadership thinking with a clear and purposeful archival curriculum that includes project management, strategic visioning and human resource development, team-building, and advocacy and outreach. The Institute continues to be led by Rachel Vagts as Director and a steering committee made up of archival leaders including Geof Huth, Brenda Gunn, Terry Baxter, Beth Myers, Daniel Noonan and Tanya Zanish-Belcher. The Institute will be facilitated by staff from the Brushy Fork Institute, an outreach program of Berea College providing community and leadership development.

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the granting agency of the National Archives and Records Administration, supports projects that promote the preservation and use of America’s documentary heritage and the continuing development of professional skills for archivists, records managers and historical editors. First funded in 2008, the Archives Leadership Institute seeks to bring to tomorrow’s leaders the insights and understanding necessary for increasing public use and appreciation of archives.  In 2015, ALI was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the Society of American Archivists for service to the profession.

Serving as an archival leader in the Appalachian region, Berea College Special Collections and Archives document the rich and unique history of Berea College, including its pioneering history of interracial education and social justice, and the people and history of the Southern Appalachian region.  This grant marks a continued partnership between Berea College and the NHPRC, with a previous grant funding the processing of the Council of the Southern Mountains records.

For further information about the Archives Leadership Institute, contact Rachel Vagts at: director@archivesleadershipinstitute.org or visit the Institute’s website at: www.archivesleadershipinstitute.org.  Applications will be available online early this fall.

Berea, the South’s first interracial and coeducational college, focuses on learning, labor, and service. Berea admits academically promising students, primarily from Appalachia, who have limited economic resources. No student is charged tuition. All students must work at least 10 hours weekly, earning money for books, room and board. Graduates from Berea go on to distinguish themselves and the College in many fields, living out the College’s scriptural motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth.” (Acts 17:26).

Previous ALI participants collaborate on a group project.

Previous ALI participants collaborate on a group project.

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