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Summary of Board of Directors' Meeting

The SAA Board of Directors met in Washington, D.C., the weekend of November 6-8, 1998. In addition to the other work accomplished, this meeting gave Board members an opportunity to visit the Washington office, meet the staff, and learn more about the work that they do. We all came away with a renewed appreciation for the huge volume of work that the executive director and her small staff manage to accomplish each year.

The main focus of the fall Board meeting is on financial matters, including approval of the budget for the next fiscal year. The FY1999 budget is a very conservative one that projects a modest surplus. The Board is continuing to focus on rebuilding the Society's financial reserves and approved a new, simple but conservative definition of reserves that will make it easy to monitor the Society's financial health at all times. The target for reserves is 30 percent of the annual budget, with a minimum annual contribution of 2 percent. In terms of our current budget, this means that the target for reserves is approximately $300,000; our current reserves are $127,200; our minimum yearly contribution will be $20,000.

Although strongly committed to rebuilding the Society's reserves, the Board recognizes that there is a growing backlog of unmet needs for increased member services. For that reason, the Board did approve one new initiative this year--an increase in the number of pages allotted to Latin American Antiquity. The Board also approved a request from the Publications Committee to allow author-reimbursed use of color illustrations in the journals on a limited basis.

In other news from the Publications program, Katharina Schreiber has been appointed as editor of Latin American Antiquity and the search process for selecting a new American Antiquity editor has begun. The Board also approved funding for a theme-oriented monograph to be prepared by the Public Education Committee, and authorized the executive director to work with the Publications Committee to prepare a proposal for a revived SAA publishing program. The first product of this program would be "readers," compilations of reprinted articles from the journals; the possibility of reinstituting the publication of SAA monographs will be considered as well.

The Society has received a small grant from NSF to fund three additional field training scholarships for Native American students. The Board authorized the Native American Scholarships Committee to broaden eligibility for the scholarship program to include Native peoples in the U.S. Trust Territories and Canada. The Board received a proposal from the Native American Relations Committee for a pilot workshop to convene Native Americans, the Committee, and the SAA Board to discuss SAA policy and Native American concerns. The Board has encouraged the committee to pursue this initiative and bring a plan to the Board for approval as soon as possible.

The Board approved increasing registration fees for the 2000 Annual Meeting by $2 (except for student member registrations) and increasing the cost of abstracts by $1. The Board also selected Milwaukee as the meeting site for the 2003 Annual Meeting. For the Chicago meeting, sponsorships have been found for the Field Museum reception, the COSWA breakfast, and the roundtable lunches to make those events more affordable for the membership. The Board approved in concept an SAA Student Paper Award to be given no earlier than the 2000 Annual Meeting.

In its discussions of long-range planning issues, the Board considered the following:

  • Repatriation Policy: The sense of the Board was that the current SAA repatriation policy is still sound and can serve as the basis for providing SAA input on topics such as unaffiliated remains and amendments to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

  • Strategic Plan: The Board reviewed the SAA's Draft Strategic Plan, created in 1995, and discussed strategies for ensuring that the plan is reviewed and updated on a regular basis and that the activities of the Society are directed by the plan. The Board instructed the Executive Committee to prepare a more focused draft of the plan prior to the Chicago meeting. At that time, the Board will consider ways of integrating the Strategic Plan into the functioning of the SAA's committee system.

  • Annual Meetings: The Board discussed ways that the Society might continue to serve the traditional papers-and-symposia constituency of our meetings while diversifying the kinds of offerings to serve other constituencies as well. Suggestions included encouraging more extensive use of posters; offering workshops tailored to the training and professional development needs of today's archaeological professionals; multiple tracks and a variable pricing structure for different levels of meeting participation; and scheduling one major event at each meeting involving senior scholars presenting important papers or conducting debates or roundtable presentations. The president will ask the Meetings Development, Consulting Archaeology, and Government Archaeology committees to devise a plan for implementing these suggestions and report back to the Board at the Chicago meeting.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Lynne Sebastian, Secretary

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