Reasons to Join
Top 4 Reasons to Join SACC
By Laura González
Miramar College, San Diego, CA
The Society for Anthropology in Community Colleges is an interest section of the AAA, the largest organization of anthropologists in the United States. It has brought faculty together for nearly 30 years to encourage dialogue and collaboration among teachers of anthropology across sub-disciplines and institutional settings, and to promote excellence in the teaching of anthropology.
As a community-college adjunct instructor for 8 years, I never felt the need to join an interest section. After all, the AAA is an organization of highly specialized academics. What benefit could I get from an interest section? What the official publications don’t tell you is that whether you are full-time or part-time faculty, joining SACC can be the best professional decision you make. It has been for me. Here are some of the reasons why.
Reason #1: Networking
“Networking” has always been a nebulous and somewhat suspect idea to me. What is it exactly? Are there rules? Have I broken any of them? I was relieved to find out that networking comes naturally at conferences in a friendly environment. It is the easy way you chat with your seatmate on the bus traveling to an archeological site. It is learning of a job opening in your district and preparing your résumé in advance. I applied for and was offered a position that I first heard about through SACC in 2006. Now, “networking” very clearly means “How to get a full-time job.”
Reason #2: Conferences
The rumor that SACC has great conferences is true! Unlike larger meetings, where the registration fee only grants access into sessions and the vendor area, these smaller meetings feel like summer camp. Meals are regularly included, as are essentials like snacks and coffee. Tours are planned to locations of anthropological interest, led by local guides. In 2006, we visited Chichén Itzá in the Yucatán. In 2007 our meeting was in Monterey, where we toured California Missions. In 2008, our annual meeting took place in Washington DC, which included a behind-the-scenes tour of the Smithsonian. Tours are included in the cost of registration.
Reason #3: Giving Papers
It is well known that community college teachers don’t experience the same pressure as four-year faculty to present papers. Nevertheless, excellent papers are presented at conferences with immediate application to community college anthropology teaching. While some of the presentations discuss individual or group research, many are geared specifically toward teaching strategies and the ideal role of the college in the community. A surprising number of SACC presenters are authors of our favorite textbooks in all four fields. For those of us just starting to present papers, a SACC conference is an excellent place to begin. The setting is informal, the environment supportive and the audience encouraging.
Reason #4: Resume-Building Opportunities
Many of us teaching in community colleges are in small anthropology departments. Some of us have the distinction of being the only anthropologist at our college. SACC membership provides opportunities for collaboration and professional growth that may be scarce in our own college settings.
Present that first (or twentieth) paper. Collaborate on a project with SACC colleagues. Get involved and take on a board position. Like me, you will be glad you did.