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President's Report 2017




My tenure as President of the Register of Professional Archaeologists (Register) ends on December 31st of this year. It has been a real honor to serve as President for the past two years.  Being President of the Register was an enriching experience, and I come away with a fuller understanding of our profession and the contributions we can make to society. In particular, I want to acknowledge and thank all of the students and young professionals that I have met and talked to over these past two years. Your interests and enthusiasm demonstrate the vitality of the archaeological profession.  I also want to thank the Register’s Board of Directors, committee chairs, committee members, our sponsoring and affiliated societies, and President-Elect Christopher Dore for all of their support and hard work.  Thank you all! And I am confident that the Register will continue to grow and move to the next level as a professional organization under Christopher’s leadership.


The Register’s primary focus in 2017 was implementation of our new five-year strategic plan (2017-2021). Here are some of the plan’s action items that were completed this year:


1. Provide Registered Professional Archaeologists (RPAs) with recommendations for showcasing their registration. We sent an email to all RPAs on how they can showcase their registration, and also how to use their registration in professional communications. These recommendations are also posted on the Register’s website and Facebook page, and are included in the packets sent to new RPAs.


2. Continue to build relationships with international organizations. Christopher Dore and I participated in the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists’ (CIfA) annual meeting in Newcastle, England in April. During the conference, we met with CIfA’s Board of Directors and worked to formalize the working relationship between the Register and CIfA, and co-organized a session on promoting archaeological ethics and professionalism worldwide.  This summer, the Register and CIfA signed a Memorandum of Understanding, whereby the two organizations will:


·         encourage all archaeologists to become accredited/registered by an appropriate professional association

·         seek to cooperate with the other on advocating for the benefits accredited/registered archaeologists offer to industry, agencies, and to society

·         share each other’s publications and resources on archaeological professionalism and ethics

·         explore recognition of each other’s accreditations for the purposes of certifying or endorsing continuing professional education courses and field schools

·         explore how being a RPA might contribute to the evidence base for accreditation by CIfA (including potentially for Chartered Archaeologist) and vice versa

·         promoting ethical training to universities and to practicing archaeologists


3. Create a listing of resources on archaeological ethics and professionalism.  This past summer, we hired an Ethics Intern, Patricia Markert, a Ph.D. student at Binghamton University, to research and compile resources on archaeological ethics as related to the practice of archaeology. These resources include publications on archaeological ethics, courses on archaeological ethics taught at universities, case studies, archaeological codes of ethics from professional organizations, and web sites with information on archaeological ethics. These resources were compiled into a database and attributed in a way that will allow users to easily search and find materials. The results of Trish’s research will be available on a dedicated website. Once the website is up and running at the end of this year, the Register will send out a notice to all RPAs and our sponsoring and affiliated societies.  Trish did an incredible job and I want to thank her for all her hard work!  This will be an invaluable resource to all professional archaeologists and students who want to become professional archaeologists. And rest assured that the database will be kept up to date annually.


4. Create a task for to determine how the Register can best address sexual harassment and consider reviewing the Code of Conduct for potential changes.  Under the leadership of Mike Polk, Grievance Coordinator, a task force examined the Register’s current sexual harassment statement and conducted research on statements and policies of more than 60 regional, national, and international organizations. The task force was made up of members of the Register’s Standards Board (including Alternate Members).  The task force has submitted their report to the Register’s Board of Directors. The Board will discuss the report during their next meeting, to be held during the annual conference of the Society for Historical Archaeology, on January 3, 2018, in New Orleans. The Board will consider changing the Register’s harassment statement and/or make changes to the Register’s Code of Conduct, based on the task force’s recommendations.  The Board’s decision will be posted on the Register’s website and Facebook page, and sent via email to all RPAs.


Also during this year, I had the pleasure of presenting the Register’s annual Charles R. McGimsey III – Hester A. Davis Distinguished Service Award. This year’s award went to Charles Niquette, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cultural Resource Analysts, Inc., for his long years of service to the Register and the profession. The Presidential Recognition Award went to Garland F. Niquette for taking on the herculean task of reading, organizing, and digitizing all of the paper records of the Society of Professional Archaeologists and the Register of Professional Archaeologists. The second Presidential Recognition Award was presented to Nathaniel Sack for his years of invaluable service and legal guidance in the development and improvement of the grievance procedures and policies of the Society of Professional Archaeologists and the Register of Professional Archaeologists.


One can take a look at the Register’s Facebook page and website to see all of the other things the Register has done and has been involved in over the past year, so there is no need for me to ramble on about this year’s activities. It has been an exciting year, and there is so much more to come in the future. In fact, through the implementation of the new Strategic Plan, the Register will move to the next level as a professional organization.  Registered Professional Archaeologists (there are now over 3,000 of you) will see new benefits to registration, especially those who are just starting out their careers in archaeology.  There will be more continuing education opportunities for all RPAs. And you will be seeing an increased effort in promoting the value of hiring and using the services of archaeologists who are RPAs.


But let’s not forget that being registered is not just about what you are getting or will get for your registration in the future.  The true importance of being a RPA is your public declaration that you abide by a strict Code of Conduct and Standards of Research Performance, and that you can be held accountable if you violate this Code or these Standards; and, knowing that the Register has your back if you are falsely accused of violating this Code or these Standards. You cannot say these things as a member of any other archaeological organization in the United States.  This is the core of what the Register of Professional Archaeologists is all about. 


Again, it has been an honor serving as President of the Register of Professional Archaeologists. I wish you all the best in your future professional endeavors!


Thank you!


Terry H. Klein, RPA


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