Interest groups bring together AIA members with shared interests in specific topics, usually regional or scholarly areas of study. Structurally, these groups operate more autonomously than AIA committees by allowing members to self-identify instead of being appointed by the AIA President. In fact, the first IGs were previously committees:
Membership in IGs is open to all AIA members. New IGs may be formed by a group of 8 or more AIA members, with one person taking responsibility as Chair. The Chair of a new IG is required to submit the following materials to the Vice-President for Research and Academic Affairs: 1) a “Charge” describing the IG (see below); 2) a one-page long proposal providing the rationale for the formation of the new IG; 3) a list of the names and contact information of the members. The Vice President for Research and Academic Affairs will bring these materials to the Research and Academic Affairs Committee for consideration. The formation of a new IG must be approved by a majority vote of the Research and Academic Affairs Committee.
As part of the application process for the formation of a new IG, the Chair must draft a Charge (a document describing the charge of the new IG). The Charge should be a brief statement that conforms to the following language:
“The XYZ Interest Group consists of AIA members with an interest in [the archaeology of] XYZ, and in promoting its understanding to members of the AIA through its various programs and publications.”
IGs are expected to meet at least once a year at the Annual Meeting, where they may request assigned meeting room space. The members of the IG are responsible for choosing and electing their own Chair. IG Chairs must agree to abide by the AIA Code of Ethics and Code of Professional Standards. Chairs serve a three-year term with the possibility of reelection for a second term. Chairs are responsible for maintaining an up-to-date list of members of the IG. AIA members in good standing may join an IG by indicating their interest to the Chair. Any member of an IG who has been inactive for three or more years (by not attending meetings, not participating in email discussions, etc.) may be dropped as a member of the IG at the discretion of the Chair. Members may belong to an IG indefinitely, as long as they remain active.
IG Chairs are required to submit an annual activity report or minutes of their annual meeting in March to the Vice-President for Research and Academic Affairs. This report must be submitted in writing and should be at least one page long. It should include a list of the current IG members. Any activities or recommendations promoted or sponsored by the IG must conform to the AIA’s Code of Ethics and Code of Professional Standards.
Members or Chairs of IGs who are dissatisfied with the governance of an IG should contact the Vice-President for Research and Academic Affairs.
IGs may be dissolved by a majority vote of the Research and Academic Affairs Committee if: 1) no annual report has been submitted for more than two consecutive years; or 2) the membership drops to fewer than 8; or 3) the group is unable to select a Chair; or 4) there is an unacceptably low level of activity, or activity that does not conform to the AIA’s Code of Ethics and Code of Professional Standards.
IG activities may include (but are not limited to) the following:
The AIA will post on the AIA website a list of IGs with the Chairs’ contact information. The IG list may be accessed by clicking on the “About the AIA” bar on the left side of the AIA home page, where it will then appear below the link for “committees.” IGs may post announcements in the e-Update and on the AIA website (such as lectures, excavations, and members’ activities), subject to the availability and resources of the office staff. It may be possible for IGs to operate discussion boards on the AIA website, also subject to the availability of office staff assistance and resources. In this case, the IG Chair will be responsible for ensuring that the discussion board is properly monitored and moderated.
AIA Members can join Interest Groups by simply emailing the chair of the group.