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New Five-Year Startegic Plan, 2017-2021




In late October 2016, the Register of Professional Archaeologists (Register) held its five-year strategic planning workshop in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Participants included the Register’s Board of Directors, past-Register Presidents Ian Burrow and Patrick Garrow, and the Presidents/Presidents-Elect of our sponsoring societies: the Society for American Archaeology (SAA), the American Anthropological Association, and the Archaeological Institute of America. The President of the Society for Historical Archaeology could not attend given last minute commitments. Lynne Sebastian, also a past-President of the Register, facilitated the workshop.


The workshop participants identified several action items that will greatly improve the Register and the benefits of registration. The draft strategic plan developed during the workshop was reviewed by the Register’s Board of Directors during a Board meeting held at the SAA conference in Vancouver, British Columbia at the end of March 2017. The Board made modifications and additions to the draft plan during the Board meeting. The plan was then revised and the Board voted on and approved the revised plan on May 17th.


Here is a sample of some of the action items from the 2017-2021Strategic Plan:


1. Design and Carry Out a Needs Assessment with all RPAs


2. Create a Task Force to Determine How the Register Can Best Address Sexual Harassment Issues and Consider Reviewing the Code of Conduct for Potential Changes


3. Create an Expanded Charge for the Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Committee, and Grow the CPE Program


4.  Explore Developing Different Registration Tracks

Create a working group to prepare a white paper for the Board on the pros and cons and issues involved in having registration include multiple tracks (e.g., a junior/associate and senior/master track; tracks for different types of archaeological sub-disciplines, etc.). This includes considering registration tracks for archaeologists without advanced degrees and those with advanced degrees.


5. Defining Paths to Professionalism: Develop a Program for Assisting Students and Young Professionals to Advance Their Careers as Professional Archaeologists

·         Create a resource page on the Register website with information about how to become a professional archaeologist; coordinate this effort with sponsor/affiliate societies.

·         Reach out to the core curriculum committees of various archaeological organizations; offer ideas from the Register’s perspective and offer to serve as a bridge integrating these currently independent efforts.

·         Reach out to the student committees of the sponsoring/affiliated societies and ask what the Register might do to be of assistance to students.

·         Create a task force to study appropriate models and design a mentoring program; identify mid- and late-career RPAs willing to serve as mentors; advertise the availability of this service to students and young professionals.


6. Create a Listing of Resources on the Register Website for Information on Archaeological Ethics and Professionalism

·         Gather ethics codes from sponsor/affiliate societies and international archaeological organizations.

·         Include scenarios from previous and future Ethics Bowls.

·         Include articles from society newsletters and similar sources.

·         Secure syllabi and reading lists on ethics and professionalism from college and university courses.

·         Resource listing must be continuously updated and kept current.


7. Establish a Communications Committee and/or Hire a Public Relations/Communication Manager.

The committee or public relations/communication manager will do the following:

·         Send out quarterly and annual updates to registrants and sponsor/affiliated societies.

·         Improve the usability of the website.

·         Maintain the Register’s social media platforms.

·         Ensure that Register information and news are a regular feature of the sponsoring/affiliated society newsletters.

·         Carry out a regular exchange of information with the sponsoring/affiliated societies’ committees on ethics issues and topics.


8. Develop and Disseminate Business Cases

Create a task force to look at existing models, and prepare and disseminate business cases on the value of RPA registration. Business cases to focus on the following audiences:

·         Industry

·         Federal and state agencies

·         CRM firms

·         Non-RPA archaeologists

·         Educational institutions

·         The public




This is clearly an ambitious five-year plan, but very necessary in order for the Register to move to the next level as a professional registration organization, and in order to meet the needs of current and future Registered Professional Archaeologists.


We have already begun to implement some of these action times. And we will keep you informed on the progress we make in carrying out this strategic plan over the next several years.


Terry H. Klein, RPA



Christopher Dore, RPA

President- Elect


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