Crew Chief Selection Policy

Program in Maritime Studies, Department of History
Adopted 3 March 2008; Revised 27 August 2018

Each year, the Program in Maritime Studies holds its annual field schools. In most years, the Program tries to grant two summer assistantships for students to gain leadership experience as crew chiefs.
To become eligible for crew chief, students are expected to have (as a minimum) fulfilled the following requirements

  • Completion of HIST 6805: History and Theory of Nautical Archaeology
  • Completion of HIST 6820: Research Methods in Maritime Archaeology
  • Completion of HIST 5530: Field School in Maritime History and Underwater Research
  • Completion of HIST 6850: Field Research in Maritime History
  • Is an AAUS Scientific Diver (Diving and Water Safety)
  • Has completed the MOCC Vessel Operators Course (Diving and Water Safety)
  • Has current CPR, first aid and O2 certifications
  • Is certified to drive ECU vehicles
  • Has completed their thesis prospectus (final copy signed by all members of committee).

Fulfillment of the above, however, is no guarantee of conferral of crew chief status. The Program considers appointment from a financial perspective (i.e. availability of funds), and the characteristics of available students. Regarding characteristics, a rough set of subjective criteria is outlined below to indicate those qualities Program Faculty look for when selecting crew chiefs. The final decision lies with the field school Primary Investigator who normally confers with the field school Co‐Primary Investigator and other members of PMS faculty and staff. Desired qualities include, but are not limited solely to, demonstrated professionalism and good teaching/communications skills:

  • Is a responsible, mature individual;
  • Has field experience pertinent to the project;
  • Has a track record of excellence in field work;
  • Has an ability to lead, and be a part of a group of people;
  • Has good communication skills;
  • Has good conflict resolution skills;
  • Has demonstrated respect for the chain of command;
  • Has proven diving proficiency;
  • Takes responsibility for their actions;

In some cases, project PIs may also consider the completion of other history, ship construction, or methods classes in the decision-making process. Other considerations include whether the student has expertise in the site types or actual site being investigated (including potential inclusion in their own thesis research).

The crew chief position is not considered a fundamental position within any given field school and there is no guarantee of its conferral.  It is an earned position, conferred as an honor, on those students who have proven themselves in field‐related areas of their studies. Students should note that a crew chief position is not dependent upon grades, and students with the correct attitudes, appropriate personalities, and field‐ related aptitudes tend to be given priority over those who have not demonstrated the above qualities.  No student should ever consider that they are certain of being crew‐ chief in any given year until officially contacted about their eligibility.

Fieldwork Expectations Agreement

Fieldwork experiences are meant to be fun, engaging, positive learning experiences. By their very nature they involve working together as a team with many different people and stakeholders. For those reasons they also can be challenging in ways most do not expect, yet equally rewarding when those challenges are overcome.

Our priority is to maintain a safe, healthy, and respectful environment for faculty, staff, student, trainees, partners, stakeholders, and the public. This is why we have a zero-tolerance policy for disrespectful, aggressive, threatening, malicious, discriminatory, or harassing behavior on site, after hours, and online through social media.

As such, we therefore agree to be equal partners in creating a positive learning environment free from negative and damaging behavior by sharing a few simple and considerate expectations.

We commit to working as a team. We will be supportive of the team endeavor, working together, respecting each other and the interests of each team member, understanding and supporting leadership, providing leadership when necessary, and agreeing to the greater cause of fieldwork for research and learning through teamwork.

We commit to the greater cause defined by the project director(s). Whether the greater cause is for research or learning or both, fieldwork includes professional expectations and responsibilities that include but are not limited to: attendance, working hours, diligence, attention to detail and task, care and protection of heritage, safeguarding research and intellectual property, and awareness and compliance with all permits, protocols, documentation, and instructions given by the director(s). We will respect all team members’ rights to Intellectual Property (IP) and agree to cooperate and share freely in the spirit and intent of research and knowledge for the greater good of advancing science and humanity.

We commit to the respect and understanding of the people and communities that partner or host us. Fieldwork does not occur without public, community, and stakeholder support. From the permitting process through to fieldwork, there are many who assist us. We are always guests on someone else’s land/water and we are often studying someone else’s culture. We will respect the physical environment. We will respect local needs, interests, and customs and develop meaningful relationships with our partners and hosts that reach beyond our permitted time. We will endeavor to be inclusive and collaborative in all aspects of our work with the community and partners.

We commit to the right to a safe, respectful, non-threatening working and field camp environment. We commit to appropriate relations with all participants including written, face-to-face (verbal and non-verbal), and social media communication. We do not tolerate disrespectful, aggressive, threatening, harassing, discriminatory, and all other harmful behaviors that compromise individual participants and the team, regardless of role. With this zero-tolerance policy we will report any of the above behavior we witness to the project director(s).

We commit to representing the University, Department and Program in a respectful and professional way. Our behavior reflects on the institution at all levels and we recognize that our project director(s), staff, and students are bound by the ethical and professional codes of institutional affiliations (UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage, Register of Professional Archaeologists, Advisory Council for Underwater Archaeology, Society for Historical Archaeology). We recognize that the University holds codes and policies that govern our behavior both on and off-campus (Student Code of Conduct and Regulation on Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment and Other Forms of Interpersonal Violence). As such we commit to abiding by these ethics and behavior standards.

We commit to enjoying our experience and embrace the intensity, emotion, and exhaustion that comes with fieldwork. We understand that fieldwork is challenging and that equipment breaks, people get tired, stress levels elevate, and things happen that are out of our control. We endeavor to compromise, exercise patience and understanding, and be solutions to the problem when necessary. We commit to negotiating these challenges in a respectful and caring way, responding rather than reacting, and resolving that which can be resolved and accepting that which cannot.

Created by Jennifer McKinnon, East Carolina University, Program in Maritime Studies (May 2018)

Adopted from Dig Ventures’ Learning Agreement  and Dr. Sara Perry’s Six Fieldwork Expectations

Download Fieldwork Agreement pdf

Student jumps into the water during field school in Cooper River, SC.