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Report from the SAA Executive Board: Spring 1996

Keith Kintigh

The SAA Executive Board met Wednesday and Saturday during the annual meeting in New Orleans. Completing their terms were board members John Rick and Julie Stein and editors David Pendergast and Michael Graves. Joining the board were President-elect Vincas Steponaitis, Secretary-elect Lynne Sebastian, board members Melvin Aikens and Donna Seifert, American Antiquity editor Lynne Goldstein, and Latin American Antiquity Coeditors Gary Feinman and Linda Manzanilla.

Ethics--The board approved revised Principles of Archaeological Ethics, as proposed by the Ethics in Archaeology Committee, and asked that they be published in the SAA Bulletin, American Antiquity and Latin American Antiquity, and that a copy be sent to new members when they join SAA. The principles also appear on SAAweb. The board thanks the committee for an important and difficult job well done. The bylaws change voted by the members transformed the Ethics in Archaeology Committee into a standing committee, the Committee on Ethics.

Register of Professional Archaeologists--The board approved the proposal for the Register of Professional Archaeologists submitted by the ROPA Task Force (composed of two members each from SAA, the Society for Historical Archaeology, the Society of Professional Archeologists, and the Archaeological Institute of America). Operating as a register, not a professional society, ROPA would assume many of the functions of SOPA and would be independent from but sponsored by SAA, SHA, and AIA. To be registered, an archaeologist would have to apply and agree to abide by and be held accountable to ROPA's code of ethics and standards of research performance. The proposal was distributed and discussed at an open forum on ROPA in New Orleans. Background on ROPA is provided in SAA Bulletin 13(3): 6-9; more information will appear in future issues of the Bulletin.

The boards of SAA, SHA, and SOPA have now approved the proposal and it is soon to be considered by the AIA board. If the proposal is accepted by a vote of the SOPA membership this fall, votes of the SAA and SHA membership will follow. ROPA would be established only if there are positive votes of the memberships of all three organizations. With the incorporation of ROPA, SOPA members would become Registered Professional Archaeologists (RPAs), SOPA would become dormant, and ROPA would initiate a major campaign, supported by the sponsoring organizations, to encourage archaeologists to register. The board considers the establishment of ROPA an important step in enhancing ethics and professionalism in archaeology.

Government Affairs--The board heard a report from Government Affairs Committee chair, Judy Bense and Government Affairs Manager, Donald Craib. They described the issue-oriented teamwork approach they have developed for working on government affairs. This includes appointment of state representatives for the Government Affairs Network (GANSRs) that will enhance the network's effectiveness in transmitting information both from Washington out to the states and from the states to the Washington office.

The board had a lengthy meeting with Roger Kennedy, Director of the National Park Service. He exhorted archaeologists to work with NPS in the common enterprise of developing a public appreciation of what he called "the efficacy of place." He also encouraged archaeologists to capitalize on opportunities for publicity and to write more for the public.

Renewing our National Archaeology Program--The Task Force on Renewing our National Archaeology Program, co-chaired by Bill Lipe and Charles Redman, presented a draft report to the board outlining five major objectives: 1) improve implementation of the National Historic Preservation Act; 2) increase professional knowledge and expertise at all levels of archaeological resource management; 3) make better use of existing information in decision-making about archaeological resources; 4) improve dissemination of information from publicly mandated archaeology; and 5) recognize multiple interests in archaeology and archaeological resources. The task force sponsored an open forum at the New Orleans meeting and invites further comments on the draft report, which is posted on SAAweb. Lipe reported that the task force will issue a longer report that can be used both to raise the consciousness of members and as a springboard for appropriate lobbying action.

Publications--The board accepted the report of the Advisory Group on Editorial Procedures that was formed to suggest guidelines for the operation of the editors' offices and on the process of transition between journal editors. This report, written by Christopher Chippindale, Prudence Rice, and Patty Jo Watson contained many thoughtful recommendations, a number of which have already been recommended by the Publications Committee and approved by the board. In particular, the FY 1997 budget includes an additional $20,000 allocated to the publications program to assist the managing editor in getting both journals back on schedule and to fund additional pages for American Antiquity in order to reduce the backlog of accepted articles that have not been published.

The SAA Executive Office in now on the Internet and SAAweb, our World Wide Web site, is on-line at http://www.saa.org. A considerable amount of information, including SAA Bulletin is available and development of the site is ongoing. The board approved a proposal from Jonathan Lizee for an on-line publication, Archaeology on the Web, that would provide reviews of archaeology-related web sites and lists of relevant bookmarks. A number of issues regarding the missions of SAA publications, electronic publishing, SAAweb, and SAA data were referred jointly to the Publications Committee, the Task Force on Information Technology, and the Survey Project Oversight Subcommittee for further consideration.

Meetings--1996 Annual Meeting Program Co-chairs Paul Fish and Suzanne Fish made a number of recommendations to help deal with problems resulting from the growing size of the annual meeting. The Board considered adjusting the length of all presented papers to equal 15-minute lengths. This would substantially reduce the number of simultaneous and evening sessions needed to accommodate a program of a given size without increasing the overall length of the meeting. It was noted that AAA and AAPA already have implemented 15 minute papers without apparent problems.

The Executive Director was authorized to sign contracts for the 1999 annual meeting in Chicago and the 2000 annual meeting in Philadelphia. It was decided that annual meeting events (such as tours) without both a strong professional component and limited space should be open to member companions, at some surcharge. Discussion was also devoted to increasing the number of student-rate rooms at the meeting hotels.

Public Education--The Public Education Committee remains active in many areas. The board met with committee chair Ed Friedman and members Phyllis Messenger, Susan Bender, Margaret Heath, and Dorothy Krass. Board discussion focused on the committee's ongoing efforts to assess educator interest in Archaeology and Public Education, to refine the subscription database, and to develop additional sources of external funding.

Governance--The Task Force on Archaeological Law Enforcement was established and charged with developing an action plan based on the recommendations of the law enforcement workshops at the Taos and Breckenridge Save the Past for the Future conferences. The task force will be chaired by Martin McAllister. The board approved an application to establish the Rock Art Interest Group, which held an organizational meeting in New Orleans. This is the first SAA interest group to be established. Guidelines for SAA interest groups are provided in SAA Bulletin 13(3): 17.

The board approved the FY 1997 budget with total revenues of $1,073,736, total expenses of $1,053,523, and a surplus to reserves of $20,213. The committee appointments policy developed last year was revised so that awards committee chairs have a term of one rather than three years like other committee chairs. The survey oversight policy was also revised to enhance coverage of confidentiality issues.

Executive Director Search--President Lipe reported on the search for a successor for Executive Director Ralph Johnson, who has served the society so well for the last three years. About 175 applications were received and, from a short list of 33, the committee interviewed nine candidates. Through these interviews, Tobi Brimsek emerged as the unanimous top candidate and has accepted the position. The board was pleased that she was able to attend the annual meeting and contribute to the board meetings. The Search Committee was composed of Bill Lipe, Bob Bettinger, Lynne Goldstein, Keith Kintigh, Dan Roberts, Bruce Smith, and Barbara Stark. Ralph Johnson acted as an advisor to the committee throughout the search.

Keith W. Kintigh is at Arizona State University and is secretary of SAA.


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