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Report from the SAA Executive Board: Fall 1995

Keith W. Kintigh

The SAA Executive Board's fall meeting was held in Santa Fe November 3-5. It preceded a conference on the Public Benefits of Archaeology, organized by the National Register staff and cosponsored by a number of organizations including SAA. This article reports only the major issues considered and actions taken at the fall board meeting.

SAA Board and Committees--As the activities of SAA have expanded, it has become impossible for the Executive Board to deal adequately with all of the issues before it in its two- or three-day semiannual meetings. To address this problem the board established an Executive Committee consisting of the president, president-elect, treasurer, treasurer-elect, secretary, and executive director (ex-officio). The Executive Committee supervises the society's finances and prepares budgets for board consideration, assists in preparing the agenda for board meetings, recommends to the board the disposition of selected agenda items, and acts on behalf of the board between regular board meetings on noncontroversial issues.

Thus, the Executive Committee takes over most duties of the Budget and Planning Committee, which was eliminated. The responsibilities of the Finance Committee were expanded to include broad oversight of the society's fiscal affairs, previously carried out by the Budget and Planning Committee. The Fundraising Committee was also eliminated and the SAA Foundation has been asked to take over its functions. The Professional Relations Committee was eliminated, although the liaisons with other professional organizations will continue. The Task Force on Repatriation was changed into an advisory committee.

The board established a policy that codifies the committee appointments process. The goals of this policy are to make the appointments process work better and to encourage broader participation in SAA committees. This policy establishes three-year terms for chairs and members of committees and limits committee members (other than ex-officio members) and chairs to simultaneous service on two committees. Committee chairs will be provided with detailed information on these changes. The board also developed a policy for the approval of the design and implementation of surveys done by units of SAA and the use of the resulting data.

Government Affairs--The board heard reports from Government Affairs Committee Chair Judy Bense and Government Affairs Manager Donald Craib. They described SAA's extensive government affairs efforts in response to the initiatives of the new Congress, including ongoing use of the Government Affairs Network (GAN). Bense also outlined the revised structure for the Government Affairs Committee and plans for a group of state representatives that will work to make GAN more effective. On a related topic, President Lipe noted that a new Task Force on Renewing our National Archaeology Program, with Charles Redman as chair, will meet early this spring to recommend ways to improve the national archaeological program and ways to effect those recommendations.

Publications--The board discussed concerns raised by members about delays and lack of communication regarding manuscripts submitted to American Antiquity. The president reported that he and the SAA central office staff have been working with Editor Michael Graves to identify and attempt to resolve these problems. The president and the chair of the Publications Committee, Tim Kohler, have asked several members experienced in editorial matters to advise the Publications Committee on guidelines for operation of the editors' offices and on the process of transition between journal editors.

The editors-designate (Lynne Goldstein for American Antiquity and Gary Feinman and Linda Manzanilla for Latin American Antiquity) are now accepting new submissions to the journals. A program was approved to promote institutional subscriptions to AA and LAA in Latin America. New institutional subscribers to one journal in discount rate countries will get the other journal free for one year.

Meetings--The program chairs report a substantial increase in presenter submissions over the Minneapolis meeting (38%). However, by increasing the number of simultaneous sessions it will be possible to keep the rejection rate very low.

The board established policies on two meeting-related issues: exemptions associated with sponsored or invited sessions to the three-role rule (which limits the participation of an individual to three different roles in a meeting) and waivers of meeting registration fees. It was decided that all sponsored and invited sessions are subject to review by the Program Committee and are subject to the three-role rule. The only exceptions to the review process and three-role rule are the opening and plenary sessions, and, in special circumstances, "SAA Sessions" that are mandated by the board in furtherance of key society goals.

Under limited circumstances, the Executive Board will consider written requests by symposium organizers to waive annual meeting registration fees. Exceptions will be considered only for individuals who are not archaeologists or professionals in related fields who are invited to participate in a session in order to present information for the benefit of SAA members. (This would not include, for example, geologists participating in a scientific session.) Non-SAA members who participate only in plenary and opening sessions, or the specifically designated "SAA Sessions," may have the registration fee waived by the board.

Information Technology--The SAA Executive Office is now on the Internet. By the time this Bulletin reaches the readers, a World Wide Web site should be on-line (http://www.saa.org). A prototype is already operational and development of the site will be ongoing. The board established policy guidelines for what information would eventually be publicly accessible and what would be restricted to members. As the site develops, the public will have access to general information about archaeology and SAA, extensive public education materials, the tables of contents of the journals, and listings of academic programs and consulting archaeology organizations from Archaeologists of the Americas. In addition, SAA members will have access to the text of the SAA Bulletin, the remainder of Archaeologists of the Americas, and job listings.

Ethics--The board affirmed an earlier recommendation for a bylaws change that would make the Ethics Committee a standing committee. The board asked the committee: to continue to accept member comments on the draft Principles of Archaeological Ethics; to reconsider the wording of the principle concerned with commercialization; and to propose a revised draft of the principles for consideration at the New Orleans board meeting.

Register of Professional Archaeologists--The board reviewed the draft proposal for the establishment of ROPA. Discussion was devoted to the issues of qualifications, finances, and ways to stimulate archaeologists to register. The board approved continued negotiation on the proposal. At the annual meeting in New Orleans, the board will consider a revised proposal and will sponsor an open forum on ROPA. Final approval of SAA sponsorship of ROPA will be by a mail vote of the membership.

Public Education--Upon recommendation of the Public Education Committee, the board established a Public Education Recognition Award. SAA is undertaking a pilot project in public education, substantially funded by U. S. government agencies, that will grant one or more states funding for an Archaeology Education Coordinator. This one-year pilot project will assess the potential activities and costs of a nationwide network of Archaeology Education Coordinators focusing on pre-collegiate archaeology public education. In addition, the board decided to fill, for one year using outside funding, a position of manager, public education, in the central office. The manager will serve as staff liaison to the Public Education Committee, administer the interagency pilot project, and prepare grant proposals to fund the society's public education program. A subcommittee of the board is following up on the recommendations of the Save the Past for the Future II conference.

The board discussed the poor response to the solicitation for subscriptions to Archaeology and Public Education that was offered to non-members at a very modest cost. In order to understand the reasons for the low response rate and to determine how public education information can be disseminated effectively, the board asked that the committee formally survey a sample of individuals on the A&PE mailing list who failed to subscribe.

Budget--The SAA finished the 1995 fiscal year with an $8,000 deficit due primarily to unanticipated increases in paper and postage costs incurred by the society's publications, additional government affairs expenditures necessitated by the new Congress, and a meeting of the ROPA Task Force. The 1996 fiscal year budget adopted in Minneapolis was reduced to retain an anticipated surplus of $13,000 despite increased expenses in a number of areas and lowered expectations for revenue from Archaeology and Public Education subscriptions. While member services will not suffer, the budget under which SAA is now operating is quite tight, with little room for new initiatives or discretionary spending. However, Treasurer Fred Limp reports that SAA remains in good financial condition, with reserves at 36% of the annual operating budget.

Keith W. Kintigh is secretary of SAA.


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