2013 IDP Coordinators Conference: Exploring Future Paths to Licensure


26 July 2013

Miami, FL—Nearly 200 state, educator, auxiliary, and student coordinators from across the country came together for the 2013 Intern Development Program (IDP) Coordinators Conference in Miami, FL. Jointly hosted by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the conference kicked off with engaging sessions about the latest licensure requirements, best practices for supporting emerging professionals, future versions of the IDP, and more.

NCARB Award: Sneak Peek of NCARB Award-funded Architecture Educational Game
Professor of Architecture Dr. Hsu-Jen Huang, Assoc. AIA, Ph.D., from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), along with a current architecture student and former game design student, gave attendees an inside look at their 2012 NCARB Award-funded project, Disentanglement and Gates: An Interactive Game of Architecture Practice.

SCAD architecture and game design students are developing interactive games that simulate practice environments, placing students in architects’ roles to face critical issues and make real-time judgment calls. Game design graduate Hannah Wood said games are ideal for today’s generation because they are fun to play; provide repeated action, which increases learning retention; and offer simulation, putting students in previously inaccessible situations.

Applications are now available for the 2013 NCARB Award, which will again award up to $75,000 for up to three awards.

Overview of Licensure Requirements and Updates on NCARB programs
NCARB Director, Internship + Education Harry M. Falconer Jr., AIA, NCARB; Assistant Director, Intern Development Program (IDP) Nick Serfass, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, PMP; and Manager, IDP Martin Smith, AIA, NCARB, LEED GA, gave an overview of licensure requirements, provided key program updates, and shared tips on how to respond to common questions that coordinators field on a daily basis.

Best Practices for Supporting Emerging Professionals
“How we can support emerging professionals on the path to licensure is being explored at AIA components across the country,” said AIA Director, Center for Emerging Professionals Kevin Fitzgerald, AIA, PMP. He introduced a panel of three Council of Architectural Component Executives (CACE) leaders who shared a range of innovative practices designed to help interns progress toward licensure. Executive Director of AIA South Carolina Adrienne Montare, AIA, NCARB, described the success of her state component’s Intern Friendly Firm program that helps bridge the gap between IDP and practice by creating standards for firms to support the professional development and licensure path of their interns.

AIA San Francisco Program and Membership Manager Michelle Railsback described her component’s ARE Pact program that asks participants to pay a fee upfront and commit to taking the exam within one year. If students take all seven divisions of the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) in a one-year period, AIA reimburses their program fee and offers complimentary AIA/Assoc. AIA membership. The program includes a peer study group, with a team leader and mentor assigned to help coach the group, and an end-of-year recognition event.

A Structured Approach to Licensure
Educator Coordinator for the University of Minnesota Jim Lutz, AIA, described how his school spent three years developing an educational program that would “allow recent grads to have a focused, structured path to licensure through research-based internships—which for some qualified students, may lead to licensure upon graduation.” The result is the school’s Master of Science in Research Practices (MS-RP), which creates a synergistic network between the school’s architecture faculty, students, and firms who are part of its consortium for research practices. “Research and ideas flow from one to another in a continuous knowledge loop,” said Lutz, noting that the MS-RP conforms to IDP and licensure requirements. “Successful completion of the program will ideally result in licensure upon graduation.”

Round Robin Discussions and Knowledge Sharing
Coordinators spent time networking in regional groupings before taking part in round robin breakout discussions that covered a wide array of topics. AIA Director, Component Development Ann Dorough and Director, Emerging Professionals Erin Murphy, AIA, NCARB, facilitated a lively exchange among coordinators about ways to partner with local AIA components. Member Board Executives offered tips to coordinators on how to partner with their state licensing boards, noting that “by encouraging students to start IDP while they're still in school, we get them on the path to licensure sooner."

NCARB CEO Michael J. Armstrong offered a glimpse into several Council changes and initiatives, describing the work of volunteer committees and special task forces that are developing the next generation of the ARE, reimagining the IDP, and exploring ways to streamline the Broadly Experienced Architect (BEA) and Broadly Experienced Foreign Architect (BEFA) Programs. He noted that “the Council’s goal is to facilitate licensure, not to prevent it,” while still ensuring the protection of the public. Additional breakouts explored IDP supplemental experience opportunities and offered a demo of the IDP online reporting system.

Intern Think Tank Shares Innovative Proposals for Changing the Licensure Process
Traditionally, NCARB committees are made up of practicing architects and executives from the jurisdictional boards. Last December, however, NCARB welcomed 12 interns from across the country to Washington, DC, for the first Intern Think Tank (ITT). The committee was charged with analyzing the IDP’s real-world implementation and effectiveness, exploring blue-sky ideas related to internship, and sharing their ideas with the Council's leadership.

ITT Chair R. Corey Clayborne, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, and eight committee members shared their proposals for future paths to licensure. “After all of the discussions we had, we agreed that the existing internship program is a successful model,” Clayborne said. “But we wanted to look at how we could make the program stay relevant in a continually evolving profession.” While each proposal retained elements of the current IDP, members envisioned a program that facilitates greater overlap among education, examination, and experience requirements—reducing the overall time to earn licensure.

When asked to describe the most surprising aspect of the experience, several participants pointed to NCARB’s commitment to transparency. “There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes that we don’t always learn about as interns,” said Megan Schoch, Assoc. AIA of Seattle, WA. “And it was rewarding to hear more about NCARB’s initiatives.” Added Michael Daly, AIA, NCIDQ, LEED APBD+C, of Fuquay-Varina, NC, “They gave interns a voice and were very open with us, showing a level of transparency.”

More IDPCC News
2013 IDP Coordinators Conference Preview

NCARB Delivers Licensure Presentation to Packed House in Miami


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NCARB will be posting regularly on its website and social media pages throughout the week. We will be using the hashtag #IDPCC. Be sure to join the conversation!