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President's Report - 2016




I have enjoyed my first year serving as the President of the Register, and greatly appreciate all of the hard work of the Register’s Board of Directors, committee chairs, committee members, and President-Elect Christopher Dore. Thank you all!


So, where do we stand as of the end of 2016? There are 2,964 Registered Professional Archaeologists (RPAs). Not surprisingly, most new RPAs are young archaeologists who just received their Master’s degree. The Register is also in a very good financial position, and this will continue in 2017.


Here are some of the highlights of the Register’s 2016 activities:


  • In late October, we held our 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 (SHA) could not attend given last minute commitments. Lynne Sebastian, also a past-President of the Register, facilitated the workshop. I will report on the results of the 2016 strategic planning workshop in the near future; but, I will say that the workshop participants identified several action items that will greatly improve the Register and the benefits of registration.
  • The Register wrote a letter to the Acting Director of the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) on their mandate to revise qualification standards for the disciplines of archaeology, conservation, history and others. OPM was required to revise these standard 24 years ago and has done nothing on this issue. The Register, along with the SAA, recommended that OPM work with the Park Service to align OPM’s standards with those of the Secretary of the Interior’s Historic Preservation Qualifications Standards and Guidelines.
  • There were seven (7) grievances filed in 2016. Three of these filings did not warrant any investigation. Grievance committees were formed for two cases and one resulted in an admonishment. The other did not require any disciplinary action. We also had two cases that involved extensive consultation with the Register’s attorney. Neither, however, was finally found to have merit, and both were dismissed without forming a grievance committee. Compared to 2015, 2016 was a bit quieter. In 2015 there were ten (10) cases, one of which resulted in an admonishment and one a termination of registration. Going forward in 2017, we plan to report regularly on the work of our Grievance Coordinator.
  • In April, the Register participated in a session on archaeological ethics and professionalism, at the annual conference of the SAA in Orlando, Florida. We co-sponsored the session with our counterparts across the pond – the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) ( CIfA’s offices are located in Reading, England. The American Cultural Resource Association (ACRA) also participated in the SAA session, represented by Michael Polk.
  • Later in April, I traveled to England to participate in CIfA’s annual conference in Leicester. I participated in a session similar to the one held at the SAA conference, but with a stronger focus on how the Register and CIfA might partner to promote archaeological professionalism and ethics. Michael Polk, representing ACRA, also participated in the session. The session at the CIfA conference was well attended and very well received. My time with senior CIfA staff, while in England, was also very productive. There is much we can learn from CIfA in terms of enhancing the benefits of professional registration, and helping young archaeologists to become professional archaeologists. I will be sharing more on these topics with you over the coming months.
  • We co-sponsored the first national event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act and 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. This event was a reception at the Kennedy Caucus room on Capitol Hill, held during the annual conference of the SHA in early January. During the reception, I was honored to present the Register’s Seiberling Award to Congressman Christopher Gibson of New York and Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico. Reception attendees included members of Congress and their staff, SHA members, RPAs, and representatives from national historic preservation agencies and organizations.
  • During a ceremony at the SHA’s annual conference, Dr. William Lees, Director of the Florida Public Archaeology Network, was awarded the Register’s 2015 Charles R. McGimsey III – Hester A. Davis Distinguished Service Award.

So what is planned for 2017? Soon after the New Year, the Register will begin to use Facebook and Twitter to more fully engage with RPAs and our sponsoring and affiliated societies. We will also use social media and other tools to reach out to university students who plan to become professional archaeologists. In addition, we will be implementing some of the action items identified during our 2016 strategic planning workshop. More on this later, so, stay tuned!


In closing, I want to wish everyone a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!


Terry H. Klein, RPA







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