Login Join | Donate | Annual Meeting | Career Center | SAA News | Marketplace | Contact   Search
 Award for Excellence in Public Education Minimize

— Award for Excellence in Public Education —

Current Committee Charge:
The committee solicits nominations and selects recipients for the Award for Excellence in Public Education. This award is designed to recognize and encourage outstanding achievements by individuals or institutions in the sharing of archaeological knowledge and issues with the public. The award rotates among three categories: curriculum, community, and media and information technology.

Committee Composition: Committee composition is one chair and at least four members.

Term Length: Term length is three years. Individuals ending their terms cycle off the committee at the close of the Business Meeting held during the annual SAA Meeting, and new appointees begin their terms at this time.

Award Cycle: The award cycles through three categories (curriculum [2014], community [2015], and media and information technology [2016]… ).

Committee Chair and End of Term:
Lynn Alex [2015]

*Committee Chair Contact Information:
Lynn M. Alex, 5 The Woods NE, Iowa City, IA 52240, Tel: 319-338-3770, Email: lynn-alex@uiowa.edu

Committee Members and Ends of Terms:
Nancy Hawkins [2015], Gwynn Henderson [2015], Jayur M. Mehta [2017]

Committee on Awards Chair:
Heather A. Lapham [2015]

Board Liaison to Award Committees:
Suzanne K. Fish [2015]

*Award Description:
This award is designed to recognize and encourage outstanding programs or products that share archaeological knowledge and issues with the public. The award is conferred on a rotating, 3-year cycle of categories among curriculum, community, and media and information technology. Priority for the 2015 Award for Excellence in Public Education will be presented in the COMMUNITY category.

*Who Is Eligible to Submit Nominations or Apply for the Award: Any member of SAA may submit a nomination file, although awardees are not required to be members of the SAA.

*Nomination/Submission Materials Required: Nominators will work with the Chair prior to submission to assemble a nomination file that will include 1) the nomination form, forthcoming, 2) a letter of nomination that identifies the outstanding program or product being nominated and summarizes the accomplishments, 3) supporting evidence of the accomplishments, and 4) endorsements (no more than three).

The nomination letter and narrative should address the following topics:

  • Overview: Describe the program/product being nominated, including its goals and how it is made available to the public.
  • Creativity: Discuss the innovative aspects of the program/product.
  • Leadership: Explain how the program/product serves as an exemplary model of public education related to archaeology.
  • Public Impact: Document the impact of the program/product on relevant publics beyond the discipline of archaeology (general public, special interest groups, pre-collegiate or non-traditional students, others).
  • Ethics: Mention ways in which the program/product promotes an understanding of ethical archaeology, such as appropriate presentation of archaeological methods, encouragement of site stewardship, connection and consultation with descendants, and other public involvement.

The nomination file should include details (including photos or samples, if possible) of the specific program/product and supporting materials that document results. This material should clearly demonstrate the case being made in the nomination narrative. For example, supporting evidence might document the impact of a specific program in terms of the numbers of the public involved, personnel qualification, the frequency or longevity of programs offered, formal evaluation results, and/or feedback from the audience. Endorsements from secondary nominators are welcomed (please, no more than three). Prior nomination does not exclude consideration of a nominee in subsequent years. Designers of programs or products may nominate their own work. Nominations may include programs or products conducted or created within the last five years. Electronic submissions are encouraged. If a nomination package is mailed, six (6) copies of the nomination package (including supporting materials) must be submitted.

*Nomination/Submission Deadline: January 10, 2015

Other Special Requirements: The Committee Chair of the committee will work with nominators to ensure a complete nomination. Nominators are encouraged to contact the Chair by November 1, 2014 to begin this process.
Selection or Evaluation Criteria: Nominations are reviewed individually by members of the SAA Excellence in Public Education Award Committee who select a recipient based on the following criteria: public impact, creativity in programming, leadership, and promotion of archaeological ethics.

Committee Deliberation Process (e.g. dates, venue): After reviewing all nominations individually, committee members meet electronically and/or via telephone conference after the submission deadline has passed to select the winner.

Nature of Award (e.g. monetary, medal, symposium): The awardee is recognized by the SAA through a plaque presented during the business meeting held at the Annual Meeting, a citation in The SAA Archaeological Record, and acknowledgment on the awards page of the SAA Website.


2014    Abby the ArchaeoBus: Society for Georgia Archaeology, New South Associates, Georgia Transmission Corporation, and Georgia State University

Abby the ArchaeoBus, is a mobile archaeological classroom that has reached 1000s of educators, students, and families since it was created in 2009 by the Georgia Society for Archaeology (SGA) and its volunteers. It is a creative and innovative means to foster public understanding of archaeology and appreciation for site stewardship. It provides flexible, informal programs for large public events and formal classroom resources emphasizing standards-based analytical skills. In 2013, New South Associates’ staff and Georgia State Anthropology graduate students, guided by the SGA, served as ArchaeoBus' educators targeting schools, libraries, museums, and events in metropolitan Atlanta and reaching 6000 youngsters, many in economically challenged school districts. As a “magic school bus” full of archaeology fun and knowledge; a collaborative partnership among the avocational, academic, business, and CRM communities; an opportunity for public archaeology training of college students; and in the educational experience it provides to visitors, it deserves the SAA’s Excellence in Public Archaeology award.

2013    None (Media and Information Technology)

2012    The Education Outreach Program of the Office of Archaeological Studies (Community)

For its leadership in archaeology education, including its interactive programs for sharing archaeology throughout  the state and engaging New Mexicans in protecting the archaeological record, we proudly present this award to the Education Outreach Program of the Office of Archaeological Studies.

2011    None (Media and Information Technology)

2010    Project Archaeology: Investigating Shelter (Curriculum)

2009    Center for American Archaeology, Kampsville, Illinois (Institution)

2008    Texas Beyond History: The Virtual Museum of Texas' Cultural Heritage (Media and Information Technology)

2007    The 5th Street Cemetery Necrogeographical Study (Curriculum)

2006    Richard E. Pettegrew (Archaeologist)

2005    Office of Archaeological Studies, Museum of New Mexico (Institution)

2004    Patricia Wheat-Stranahan (Educator)

2003    Jeanne Moe (Archaeologist)

2002    AnthroNotes (Institution)

2001    George Brauer (Educator)

2000    George Stuart (Archaeologist)

1999    Crow Canyon Archaeological Center (Institution)

1998    Jan Coleman-Knight (Educator)

1997    Brian Fagan (Archaeologist)