President’s First Quarter Report
I hope you all had a nice winter and are ready for what promises to be a busy year for all of us. It certainly is busy here at the Register, so I’ll get right to it!
The President of any organization is responsible for ensuring and facilitating the implementation of the organization’s Strategic Plan. Our Board approved the 2022-2027 Strategic Plan early last year.
2022 Strategic Plan Activities. The Board prioritized auditing our administrative and governance components and restructuring and revising them to ensure that the Register was functioning properly to support our programs. The audit also served to ensure that there is adequate documentation to provide consistency through leadership transitions. Having set those components on the right path, I am now able to focus on the program aspects of our Strategic Plan: credentialing and accountability, which translate to the registration and grievance processes. One of the guiding tenets of our reorganization has been to focus on credentialing and accountability, which is what the Register was created to do by our Founding Organizations.
As a result, we have stripped ourselves of activities that other professional organizations do on a much grander scale in the belief that our energy and funds will better serve our archaeological community in the long run by doing so. To help guide this effort, one of my priorities as President has been to reach out to our fellow organizations to build community (also part of the Strategic Plan) and my request has been that we all figure out:
- what the community’s priorities are
- what each organization does best, and
- how we can all work together toward our common goals while staying in our own lane.
This effort seems to be working but it takes constant communication and recalibrating when we get distracted off the path.
So, what does that mean for you, the Registrants, and the rest of the archaeological community?
We hear you. We know that addressing the issues of adequate training, proper pay, respectful recognition of our various roles--respectful treatment throughout the community for all of us—is so overdue. Our Strategic Plan helps us here, and this is what we have in store for 2023:
Diversity. First, I am seeking diverse representation in all of our committees, task forces, and advisory groups. And our new Nominating Committee is tasked to do the same for our elected positions (President, President-Elect, Secretary-Treasurer, Registrar, Grievance Coordinator Elect, and Standards Board). You should be seeing a voluntary survey soon asking for you to help us in this effort by telling us how you identify.
Registration Categories. To focus on credentialing, we are reviewing our current requirements through our newly developed Registration Categories Task Force, comprised of a representative of a large CRM company (SEARCH), a small DBE CRM company (Dovetail Consulting), academia (Edward Gonzalez-Tennant, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley), a Registered Archaeologist (Jesica Huddleston), and a tribal representative (Wendy Ferris, Hoopa). Their tasks are to determine how we can broaden our categories to include all working archaeologists and to raise our highest level of qualifications to exceed the Secretary of Interior standards. This may require a change in acronyms.
Professional Pathway. To assist archaeologists gain entry-level positions and advance in their career, we are developing a Professional Pathways program under the umbrella of our Professional Development Committee (which now encompasses the Continuing Education and Field Schools Certification programs). This is a major effort, the vision of which is for the Register to serve as a hub for the vast and growing network of grassroots and institutional training venues available to us. The Register will first have to create a core curriculum (in consultation with our community representatives), then we can certify even the smallest training event or on-the-job activity for Register credit. We would then track training through a sort of Passport program. Our hope is that training for our student members would be free or low-cost.
Partners. Of course, we need help from our community, so our Outreach Committee will be focusing on strengthening our existing relationships with Founding Organizations and Affiliated Societies, and expanding our partnership program to include other like organizations (such as ACRA, National Association of Environmental Planners, the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists, and the European Association of Archaeologists) and to educational partners that would include universities (through the ACRA Academic Collaboration program), CRM companies (for on-the-job training or specific training courses), existing partners (Founding Organizations and Affiliated Societies) and other non-profits such as:
Our goal is for registration and partnership funding and pro-bono education services to sustain our overall funding needs. Please send us names of other organizations we should be reaching out to; we know there are so many out there and need your help.
Financial Health. We also are auditing our financial policies (through the help of our new Financial Plan Task Force) to ensure we are not only running efficiently, but that we are also clear about what our needs are for operations and program expenses, that we ensure our liability insurance covers us in the event of the unfortunate, and that our investment account is appropriately funded. We hope this effort will identify where we may find additional savings and where we may see surpluses to put back into our programs.
Grievance. We also hear you on the Grievance process and are working to review it to ensure it remains fair, swift, and anonymous. We also want to help archaeologists and other stakeholders understand their role in bringing grievances to us. Finally, we want to ensure the repercussions for breaching our Code are adequate.
We will have more information updating you on our progress on these fronts throughout the year. Overall, we hope that these efforts continue the vision of the Register to increase professionalism in our industry by setting the standard and holding us all accountable.
In your service,
Trish Fernandez, M.A., RPA 12198