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Report from the SAA Board of Directors

Barbara J. Little

The SAA Board of Directors meets twice a year: at the Annual Meeting and during the fall. The board met on Wednesday, March 24 and Saturday, March 27, 1999 in Chicago in a room with comfortable chairs but, alas, no windows. President Vin Steponaitis, Secretary Lynne Sebastian and board members Donna Seifert and Mel Aikens completed their terms. Paul Minnis joined the board as treasurer-elect, Janet Levy and Kenneth Ames began their terms as new board members, and I began my term as secretary.

Strategic Planning -- The Society needs to regularly review and update our strategic plan and use it to direct SAA activities. At the fall meeting, the board had directed the executive committee to revisit the plan drafted in 1995. The board discussed the proposed revision and approved the Mission Statement and Vision that follow. We hope that SAA members find them compelling. In a future summary from the board, I will report on the goals, which are currently provisional.

SAA's Mission Statement -- The mission of the Society for American Archaeology is to increase understanding and appreciation of humanity's past as achieved through systematic investigation of the archaeological record. The Society leads the archaeological community by promoting research, stewardship of archaeological resources, public and professional education, and the dissemination of knowledge. To serve the public interest, SAA seeks the widest possible engagement with all segments of society, including governments, educators, and indigenous peoples, in advancing knowledge and enhancing awareness of the past.

SAA's Vision -- SAA will be the leading organization in Americanist archaeology by serving as the bond among archaeologists across national boundaries and in all segments of the archaeological community.

Institutional Memory -- The board approved the SAA Policy Compilation prepared by the Executive Committee. This compilation is a list of all the current Society policies. This list will be available in the Board and Committee Handbook and on the SAA website. Summaries of board minutes will soon be available to the membership. The board discussed the issue of access to the electronic summary of the compiled minutes of the SAA Board and decided that these minutes will be available only to members on the SAA website.

Committee on Curation -- The board discussed the recent National Archaeological Collections Management Conference and established an Advisory Committee on Curation. The committee is charged to promote awareness, concern, and support for the proper curation of archaeological collections and records among the SAA membership, the archaeological community, funding agencies, other relevant parties, and the public. It also advises the board on issues and policies relating to the management of archaeological collections, and is composed of a chair and five members.

Annual Meeting Scheduling and Site Selection -- Site selection is becoming more and more difficult as the size of the Annual Meeting and cost of many meeting venues increase. Our new policy replaces the existing policy that stipulates a fixed east/west/central rotation and gives the executive director additional flexibility to negotiate advantageous contracts. The board approved the following: The Annual Meeting will normally take place in March or April and will be scheduled so as not to conflict with either Easter or Passover. Criteria for site selection include: (1) geographical diversity from year to year, (2) reasonable cost to members, and (3) local interest. The board will consider issues of human rights in selecting cities and states for meeting locations.

Dienje Kenyon Memorial Fellowship -- The board established the Dienje Kenyon Memorial Fellowship and created an award committee composed of a chair and four members to administer this program. The Dienje Kenyon Memorial Fellowship Committee solicits proposals and selects recipients for the fellowship, which is presented in support of research by women students in the early stages of their archaeological training.

Committees -- The board met with the chairs of several committees: Public Education Committee; Public Relations Committee; Government Affairs Committee; Committee on Repatriation; Publications Committee including the editors of American Antiquity, Latin American Antiquity, and SAA Bulletin; and Annual Meeting Program Committee. The board also met with the meeting workshop coordinators and representatives from the committees on consulting and government archaeology to discuss professional development workshop planning. The board discussed ways to increase value of the meetings to members by offering more workshops so that the Society might better serve members and increase membership and meeting attendance.

Committee Organization -- The board discussed possible restructuring of the SAA committee system. One possible approach is integrating sets of committees with related charges and functions into large committees with the existing committees becoming subcommittees. This would facilitate communication and coordination among committees with shared or similar interests and streamline the functioning of the Society. The committee liaisons were asked to address these ideas with their committees.

Barbara J. Little
Secretary

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