When AAPG was formed in 1917 the founders included a Code of Ethics at the head of the Constitution (Article IV). In 1965, the Association formed a Division of Professional Affairs to uphold that code and to promote professional development by launching a program to certify petroleum geologists.
Today, the DPA includes some 3,100 certified members. Most of them are certified petroleum geologists, but a few are coal geologists and a growing number are certified petroleum geophysicists.
We are found worldwide, although some 85 percent of our membership is in the United States.
How do we define ourselves?
As part of my preparation for becoming president, I sat down to define my vision, at least, for DPA. This is what I came up with:
♦ We are the community within AAPG that focuses on the professional practice of energy resource geoscience (aka “petroleum geology”) and upholds the AAPG Code of Ethics. As such we form the “inner core” of AAPG that makes it a professional society and not just a scientific society.
We are proud to form that “core” -- 3,100 strong -- and invite all AAPG members to join with us.
♦ We are geoscientists who are committed to standards of competence, to ethical behavior and to professionalism -- a commitment best expressed through certification. We come together to improve our knowledge of issues affecting the practice of our profession. And we come together to guide all AAPG members to improve their knowledge and practice as well.
♦ We actively inform ourselves and all AAPG members about the externalities that impact our profession -- particularly government legislation and regulatory policy.
We represent our profession in engaging with lawmakers and regulators regarding matters of professional practices and professional concern.
Put another way, DPA is the group for “networkers and shapers” within AAPG.
As networkers, we hold to high standards of practice, and want to meet and do business with people with a similar commitment.
As shapers, we want to build the profession into a better place, to improve the overall standards of professional competence and ethical behavior, and to represent our community in government affairs.
The large number of AAPG presidents and executive committee members over the years that previously has served in DPA leadership is ample evidence for DPA’s importance in shaping the Association.
To fulfill its vision, DPA continues to certify petroleum geologists, petroleum geophysicists and coal geologists. We want every AAPG member who qualifies for certification to apply!
In particular, we are looking to AAPG’s increasing international membership, and want to develop ways and means to certify geoscientists and provide services worldwide.
- Introduced a program of "Board Certification" to recognize members’ commitment to continuing training and education.
- Offers short courses at sectional and national AAPG meetings.
- Has offered several luncheon courses on ethics and workshops on professional career development have been offered in recent years.
- Sponsors forums on topics of professional interest, such as land access, balancing environmental and business concerns and career development. We will look to develop additional opportunities for DPA members to meet and network.
- Publishes a newsletter, the Correlator, three or four times a year, available on the Web and in hard copy. This newsletter includes articles, columns and letters on all topics related to professional affairs.
- Publishes career guides and other materials that can help all AAPG members in developing their professional practice.
- Has a very active Government Affairs Committee, which works with the GEO-DC office to represent U.S. energy geoscientists in Washington, D.C. This committee drafts position statements that are approved by both the DPA and AAPG and guide the DC office. The GAC also sponsors “instant response e-mails” to let members provide their own input into proposed regulation or legislation.
Along with our incoming executive committee, including Valary Schulz, vice president; Rick Ericksen, president-elect; Mike Canich, treasurer; and Debra Rutan, secretary, I invite you to look into and join the DPA, and help us be of better service in promoting the interests of professional energy resource geoscientists, both in the United States and globally.