The Archaeology Graduate Student Association (AGSA) encourages increased cooperation and communication between various BYU and non-BYU groups. These groups include, but are not limited to: the BYU Anthropology faculty, undergraduate students majoring or minoring in anthropology, archaeology graduate students attending other universities, and the public. We suggest that increased cooperation and communication will benefit all of these parties in the following ways.
Faculty: The Archaeology Graduate Student Association will make communication with the faculty more efficient. This association will provide a forum for archaeology graduate students to meet, discuss their needs and concerns, address and resolve those issues, and finally approach the faculty with only the most pressing and important matters. This will allow graduate students and faculty to work together enhance communication in our department.
Anthropology Undergraduate Students: We want to be more invested in the education of undergraduates. One of the aims of creating AGSA is to better serve our undergraduate community by arranging more mentoring opportunities and providing help to students (see mentoring section).
Archaeology Graduate Students attending other Universities: The number of archaeology graduate students in the state of Utah is very small, yet few students from different programs across the state communicate. We want to find innovate ways to increase this communication and encourage cooperation among students with similar research interests from universities across Utah and even the nation (see enhancing educational opportunities section).
Public outreach: As the next generation of archaeologists it is our responsibility to educate the public. It is important to share our research with everyone that is interested in order to promote archaeological awareness and preservation. We want to become more involved with organizations such as the Utah Statewide Archaeological Society (USAS). We also want to encourage the BYU student body in general to learn more about archaeology. We hope to accomplish this by providing opportunities such as presentations, lectures, and symposiums that will provide faculty, staff, and students opportunities to present research and increase public awareness of archaeology.
Mentoring others is one of AGSA’s primary goals. This includes undergraduate and first year graduate students in the Anthropology Department, as well as people in surrounding communities. We believe the experience of our senior graduate students is a valuable resource for the community, as well as an important outlet for students to discuss any number of academic topics, concerns, or questions.
Undergraduate students: AGSA will mentor undergraduate students in a variety of ways. First, we will assign a representative to the Anthropology Club to facilitate communication between the two groups. Second, we will assign several graduate students to help with the Anthropology booth at the undergraduate fair held on campus every year.
Graduate Students: The goal for mentoring new graduate students is to help them have a successful first year of graduate school and to facilitate their timely graduation. AGSA will pair each first-year graduate student with a graduate student mentor. These mentors will provide guidance to help the first-year students with course selection, thesis committee choices, thesis topics, and any number of other questions or concerns. The AGSA presidency will assign mentors based on similarities in research interests, although the presidency may make these assignments based on other criteria. Mentors will be assigned at the beginning of each school year during our fall social event. AGSA will also offer to assist with the Anthropology Department booth at the graduate student fair held on campus each year.
Community: Our goal is to not only to mentor students at BYU, but to also help others in the surrounding communities learn about local archaeology. Ways we can achieve this goal including helping the Boy Scouts with the archaeology merit badge, volunteer to give presentations to elementary, middle school, and high school students, and present research at the local Utah Statewide Archaeology Society (USAS) chapter monthly meetings. We feel AGSA can play a pivotal role in supporting this important community group.
One of the aims of AGSA is to enhance graduate education. We want students to take advantage of the many opportunities to expand their education and share their work with others. Not all students are aware of the number of archaeological conferences held each year. These conferences encourage graduate students to present their research. We would like to not only inform students of conferences held in their field of interest, but also to inform them of funding options.
We have discovered that sharing research with our peers is a valuable method of learning. We would like to provide students with a chance to do this at a yearly student research conference. At this conference, students would be able to present research they are working on to their peers and receive feedback on their work. In conjunction with this conference, we would like to publish our own peer-reviewed journal.
AGSA also wants to encourage students to join local, national, and international archaeological organizations including: Utah Professional Archaeological Council, Utah Statewide Archaeological Society, Society for American Archaeology, Archaeological Institute of America, American Association of Museums and more.