Strategic Plan


STRATEGIC PLAN 2010 - 2016

John F. Doershuk, Director and State Archaeologist



The Office of the State Archaeologist aspires to be a nationally recognized archaeological research center emphasizing interdisciplinary excellence.


In addition to supporting the core values stated in Renewing The Iowa Promise: “Great Opportunities—Bold Expectations” The Strategic Plan for The University of Iowa 2010–2016, the Office of the State Archaeologist is guided by the Society for American Archaeology’s Principles of Archeological Ethics. These principles are embodied in seven commitments: stewardship, outreach, publication, preservation, training, accountability, and professionalism. As a nationally recognized research center, the Office of the State Archaeologist promotes a dynamic intellectual environment, energetic student and public engagement, and advanced research. We actively contribute to the University’s mission and goals. Intellectual and cultural vitality is the foundation of a healthy research organization, and the Office of the State Archaeologist is dedicated to engaging multiple constituencies. Our mission fosters a diverse and vibrant learning environment, enhancing research, teaching, and public service.


The mission of the Office of the State Archaeologist is to develop, disseminate, and preserve knowledge of Iowa’s human past through archaeological research, scientific discovery, public stewardship, service, and education.

Goal 1

Create a learning experience about the human past that enriches the lives of undergraduates and helps them to become well-informed individuals, lifelong learners, engaged citizens, and productive employees and employers.
(Strategic Priority: Undergraduate student success)

  • Increase the visibility and awareness of educational opportunities offered by the Office of the State Archaeologist (OSA) among the University student population.
  • Attract a student population to the University and OSA through outreach and mentoring programs for high school students.
  • Enhance affordability and promote effective year-round learning opportunities by offering student internships, work-study positions, and summer work opportunities.
  • Provide undergraduates with high-quality learning experiences through independent study opportunities at introductory and specialized levels leading to honors theses.
  • Provide field schools and laboratory research projects that incorporate interdisciplinary studies and/or international collaborations.

Goal 2

Promote graduate and professional student participation in OSA research through cooperation with University graduate and professional programs.
(Strategic Priority: Graduate and professional student success)

  • Explore and develop major interdisciplinary research topics related to archaeology domestically and internationally.
  • Participate in cross-disciplinary graduate degree programs with other University departments and programs.
  • Recruit graduate students from University departments and programs to work on OSA projects.
  • Provide research opportunities for graduate students through access to OSA’s extensive document and material collections.
  • Conduct long-term archaeological projects with funded research opportunities for graduate and post-graduate scholars.

Goal 3

Strengthen and expand OSA partnerships with public constituencies to advance understanding and appreciation about the human past and stewardship of archaeological resources and showcase the societal benefits of archaeological research and teaching for the citizens of Iowa.
(Strategic Priority: Better futures for Iowans; Strategic initiative: Public outreach and civic engagement)

  • Expand partnerships with K–12 educators to promote diversity learning in Iowa history.
  • Enhance lifelong learning opportunities and professional development on campus and via distance learning through partnerships between the OSA and other University departments.
  • Sponsor public field schools in conjunction with OSA research or projects conducted by other partners.
  • Promote OSA’s public engagement programs and educational opportunities through television, radio, Internet, and print media.
  • Produce and distribute self-guided tour brochures and regional guidebooks to publicly-accessible sites and facilities.
  • Engage external partners to enhance archaeological stewardship and foster economic development and heritage tourism.
  • Organize occasional conferences on archaeological and native studies topics, invite public and tribal participation, and prepare conference proceedings for peer-reviewed publication.

Goal 4

Recognize and illuminate the human diversity inherent in the past as manifested in the archaeological record and use that record for greater inclusion and participation of professionals and the public.
(Strategic Priorities: Knowledge and practice, Student success; Strategic Initiatives: Internationalization and diversity, Public outreach and civic engagement)

  • Encourage new and highlight existing research that illustrates the diverse peoples in Iowa’s archaeological record.
  • Continue OSA’s national leadership role in the respectful treatment of ancient human remains.
  • Encourage the Regents’ institutions and statewide college communities to use OSA resources in faculty and student research.
  • Contribute to developing a network of university-based partners supporting cultural heritage research endeavors, especially with the American Indian and Native Studies Program and Museum Studies Program.
  • Involve interested American Indians in Iowa archaeological investigations.
  • Fulfill statutory obligations in maintaining the Burials Program, the State Archaeological Repository, and the State Archaeological Site File on behalf of the public interest.

Goal 5

Strengthen the OSA’s intellectual and cultural vitality within the University, Iowa, and nationally.
(Strategic Priority: Knowledge and practice, Better futures for Iowans; Strategic Initiatives: Efficiency and effectiveness, Scholarly inquiry and creative work, Internationalization and diversity)

  • Attract and retain exceptional staff through competitive compensation and professional development support.
  • Maintain and enhance gender and ethnic diversity opportunities.
  • Provide an environment where innovation, flexibility, and collaboration are encouraged and rewarded.
  • Market the OSA’s excellence through peer-reviewed publications, large research projects, high-quality cultural resource management, and excellent customer service.
  • Direct resources to existing and emerging programs based on their centrality to the OSA’s mission and potential for sustained excellence.
  • Secure new resources and financial support through philanthropic venues and enhance support for staff in securing internal and external grant funding.
  • Maintain and extend stewardship of OSA collections through continued participation within the University of Iowa Collections Coalition initiative, especially as it vitally intersects with campus-wide disaster response procedures.