Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

ALI Information Webinars

In November 2023, the Steering Committee hosted two webinars to present the ALI@Virginia program and answer prospective applicants’ questions. The recording for the November 16th webinar is now available, as are the webinar slides and the November 1st Q&A.

Application Questions

Why is there a maximum number of years of experience (listed as 15)? Will someone with more or less than 15 years of experience not receive consideration?

Anyone who submits an application will receive consideration.

What is the motivation or reasoning behind the audio/visual statement?

Our intention is to reduce barriers to the application process, hence a three-minute video addressing two prompts rather than multiple essays as in the past. We are aware of the bias that can creep into resumes and CVs through educational institutions, which is why we have asked applicants to focus on leadership, not degree-granting institutions.

What was the acceptance rate of the previous cohort?

We do not have statistics for previous Institutes. Anecdotally, the program has received a high of 75 applicants one year, which would have resulted in an acceptance rate of 1/3 (33 percent) of the applicants.

Content Questions

Is this the same ALI program that was held at the University of Wisconsin, Madison; Luther College; Berea College; and Purdue University?

Like these four previous programs, ALI@Virginia is sponsored by the NHPRC and maintains an emphasis on a strong cohort relationship, a residential setting, and the development of leadership skills within the context of the archival profession. We will have some programmatic differences and use UVA’s particular historical context as a backdrop for the Institute. It will have its own flavor and personality, as did all of the preceding instances.

With the themes of “power of place” and being an agent of change for archives leaders and memory workers, will topics like collections development, appraisal, arrangement and description, etc. be addressed?

Those topics may come up in conversation and discussion, but they are not core themes in this leadership institute. Anyone wanting to focus on these fundamental archival activities may be better served with other courses or professional development opportunities.

What are some of the topics covered?

  • Responsible stewardship and partnerships
  • Self-knowledge and individual growth
  • Organizational leadership

We will also incorporate current topics and professional interests, such as:

  • Community archives and collaborations
  • Ethics of care and mutual aid
  • Social justice and intercultural relations

All in all, we believe that part of ALI’s mandate is to incorporate real-world issues and scenarios, weaving leadership topics into those discussions.

What is the desired deliverable for the group project that will take place after the June Institute? Can you provide any examples of projects completed in previous years?

Past projects have centered on strategic planning and visioning, digitization project planning, and assessments of various kinds. The projects tend to be focused on a cohort member’s institution.

Eligibility Questions

Are reference librarians for archives eligible to apply?

Yes, as long as the position is within an archival institution.

Can a candidate apply if their position is not officially one of leadership, but they lead in other ways (i.e., in committees, projects, etc.)?

Yes, a candidate may!

Could you provide some guidance to an archivist who has worked for several years as an Independent Archivist/Archival Consultant?

Think about your leadership experiences and develop your leadership resume to express and promote that experience. Previous cohorts have had consultants as members, so we say, “Go for it!”

Have federal government employees previously participated in the program?

Yes, they have!

If I am not currently an archivist or memory worker, can I still apply for ALI? Especially if I aim to return to the field in the future?

This program is designed for archivists currently working in the field.

Is there a central location on the website where we can view the profiles of past participants?

Unfortunately, we do not have profiles of past participants. Announcements and news releases of previous cohorts can be found through a Google search, but profiles have not been gathered from alumni. However, several alumni testimonials are posted on the homepage.

What factors (other than the video, statement, and resume) go into selecting a cohort?

Our evaluation rubric is built directly from the questions we have asked in the video, statement, and resume.

Who is the ideal candidate?

Archivists and memory workers from museums, libraries, archives, and from a variety of settings and situations. Additionally, we believe it is important to have representation from a wide variety of life experiences and backgrounds, as well as geographical and intergenerational diversity. We do not have formal educational requirements, but do expect that candidates are currently working in the field.

We are looking for archivists who have an appetite for moving the profession forward, who want to refine their social justice lens, who want to be aware of the environment in which they work and be responsive to their communities, who desire to lead their organizations with empathy and compassion, and to be skilled in developing strong relationships as well as repairing fractured and broken ones.

2024 Archive Leadership Institute (ALI) Application

Minimum requirements to apply:

  • A memory worker in any archival setting
  • 5-15 years of management, program, project lead, or team experience OR a combination of these
    • NOTE: Applicants with less experience may also be considered.

Resume Questions

Does leadership experience have to be in archives, or can it derive from previous careers or disciplines?

Your leadership resume should be reflective of any leadership work you have done.

If we received grants and want to put that on the leadership resume, would it behoove us to do abstracts for those grants?

The most important information about the grant would be your leadership role in the grant.

Is it okay to have gaps between roles that required leadership and those that did not (e.g., one job was not a leadership position, but the following was)?

Yes, that is okay!

Travel and Logistical Questions

How long is the program?

ALI is a week-long, in-person, immersive, intensive, and interactive program. The cohort arrives in Charlottesville on Sunday and marks the beginning of the ALI experience with a reception and dinner. The cohort begins their work in earnest on Monday morning. Sessions will continue through Friday night with an end-of-institute capstone event. Cohort members depart Charlottesville on Saturday. It does not end there, though! Following the in-person experience, the cohort will continue to learn together on a quarterly basis until they officially become alumni, when the next cohort is selected.

How many people are in each cohort?

ALI@Virginia aims to have 25 in each cohort over the course of the three-year term grant. At the end of the grant term, ALI@Virginia will add 75 new members to the ALI alumni community.

Where will ALI be located?

ALI will be hosted by the University of Virginia Library in 2024, 2025, and 2026. UVA is located in Charlottesville, in central Virginia. Charlottesville and the University of Virginia are on the ancestral homeland and territory of the Monacan Indian Nation.

What are the dates for ALI@Virginia?

ALI@Virginia 2024 took place from June 16-22, 2024. ALI@Virginia 2025 is scheduled for June 8-14, 2025. Dates are yet to be determined for 2026.

Where will cohort members stay?

The cohort will stay in Bond House on the University of Virginia campus, or “Grounds.” Bond House, named for civil rights leader Julian Bond, features apartment-style housing, with four (single-occupancy) bedrooms per apartment, two bathrooms, a living room, and a full kitchen.

What is the cost of the Institute?

The cost is $500 per individual. Grant funds cover transportation to and from Charlottesville, lodging, breakfast, lunch, and most dinners. The only out-of-pocket expenses for the cohort will be any sundries the cohort member wishes to purchase while at ALI and several evening dinners. Each cohort member will receive a $600 stipend to help defray any costs they accrue while attending the Institute.

Will ALI cover flights to and from Virginia for the conference? Are participants required to fly directly into Charlottesville, or would other transportation (i.e., Dulles and a car rental) be supported?

Grant funds will cover transportation to and from Charlottesville. It is possible to fly into Dulles or Richmond, and in some cases that may be the most cost-effective way to go. If that is the case, then we would work out a way to transport cohort member(s) to Charlottesville. Unfortunately, we cannot support car rentals for cohort members. If individuals are close enough to drive their own cars, then we can reimburse for mileage. Also, Amtrak has a station in Charlottesville and is an option for cohort members.

Other Questions

What makes the UVA Library a good place to host this program?

UVA has a strong commitment to leadership development and training, and the UVA Library has excellent facilities that can be used for in-person portions of the program. These buildings are just across the street from the West Lawn, part of the Academical Village which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The locations will be replete with history and symbolism, supporting the Institute’s concept of power of place. The ALI@Virginia experience will be grounded in place and our landscape, so the cohort will explore leadership through the lens of the unique emotional and historical landscape that UVA offers.

Who is involved in the administration and leadership of ALI@Virginia?

Brenda Gunn will be the administrative director at UVA. Steering Committee members include Steven Booth, Petrina Jackson, and Audra Eagle Yun. Mary Brackett will facilitate the cohort learning experience. Learn more about them and their work on the ALI Faculty and ALI Staff pages.

Whom should I contact for more information?

You can contact any ALI leadership by emailing:

How can ALI alumni be involved?

Stay tuned! We have many ideas for alumni involvement, such as serving as mentors, communications liaisons to regional associations, spreading the word at SAA and other conferences, and sharing your expertise in after-institute virtual meetings. To get involved, email ALI Director Brenda Gunn: