Finances--The good news is that the society is in much better financial shape than it has been for several years. Our budgets are now yielding modest surpluses, which we are largely devoting to rebuilding our depleted reserves, and all our fiscal controls are much more detailed and carefully scrutinized to ensure that the deficits of a few years ago are not repeated. The bad news is that we still are not rich, and the board is going to be working very hard to contain costs and to ensure that all decisions involving money are made as part of the annual budget development cycle rather than on an ad hoc basis.
Committee Matters--The board reviewed and approved activity reports from most of the society's 40+ committees and acted on requests from many of them. The Public Education Committee and the Student Affairs Committee received special commendation for the large number of projects carried out over the past year, but once again we were amazed by the remarkable amount of work that is completed by the volunteers on all the committees. Much of the society's work is done by the committees, and they deserve the appreciation of all our members. The committee chairs are being encouraged to contribute information about the committees' activities to the SAA Bulletin during the next year so that the membership can be more aware of the important work done by the committees.
ROPA--Bill Lipe, the society's representative on the ROPA Board, met with the SAA board to update us about the Register of Professional Archaeologists (ROPA). The articles of incorporation for ROPA have been signed and the ROPA board has held its first organizational meeting. The structure of ROPA, the nature of its relationship with the sponsor organizations, and the registration process are currently under discussion. The board recommended that ROPA not make any major changes until later this year when the membership of Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) has the opportunity to decide whether AIA will join in sponsoring ROPA.
Government Affairs and Legal Issues--Manager of Government Affairs Donald Craib met with the board and provided updates on current legislation of interest to the society's membership, including the proposed amendments to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the Section 106 regulations, the ISTEA and Historic Preservation Fund reauthorizations, and the legislation to redraw the boundaries of Petroglyph National Monument. Government Affairs Committee (GAC) Chair Judy Bense informed the board that the GAC is planning a forum on sources of government funding for archaeology for next year's annual meeting and will be reorganizing the GAC state representatives network. The board met with a representative from AIA who provided information about a case of international trafficking in antiquities in which AIA is filing an amicus brief. This case involves a gold platter exported illegally from Italy and imported illegally into the United States. The board voted to join AIA in this brief.
Public Education--The Public Education Committee plans to discontinue paper publication of the full Archaeology and Public Education newsletter and replace it with a brief, web-based information newsletter and a series of information kits on archaeological topics. These information kits will include lesson plans and will be available for sale. The committee is also working on a "careers in archaeology" brochure and is negotiating with Haskell Indian Nations University to continue and expand the archaeology and Native American Educators workshop program. The board approved the formation of a Task Force on Curriculum charged with identifying the intellectual and ethical principles and technical skills needed to practice archaeology in all its applications. The task force has been asked to make recommendations on how undergraduate, graduate and continuing education could better prepare archaeologists for our changing profession.
Publications--The board met with the editors of American Antiquity, Latin American Antiquity (LAA), and the SAA Bulletin and with Chris Chippindale, chair of the Publications Committee. A number of important suggestions for the future were discussed, including increasing the society's presence and reliance on the web as a means of disseminating information, the possibility of publishing back issues of the journals on CD, and the use of color illustrations in the journals. The Publications Committee is working to identify candidates to become the new editor or coeditors of LAA.
Annual Meetings--The board spent some time with Paul Minnis, the chair of the Meetings Development Committee, discussing possible changes in the format or contents of the annual meeting. We talked about the missions of the annual meeting and possible means of achieving those missions:
Mission 2. Continuing Professional Education
Mission 3. Business Opportunities for Consulting Firms and Agencies
Mission 4. Student Orientation Opportunities
Membership Issues--The board also spent some time discussing the issue of who our members should be and how the society can attract those practicing archaeologists who are not members. It was the consensus of the board that we should be reaching out to those people whose profession is archaeology and who have a scholarly orientation, whatever their educational level and their work setting. To do that, we will need to take a census of the whole profession, not just our members, and then identify what the society can offer to make membership attractive to archaeologists who are not members.