2013 IDP Coordinators Conference:
Investing in the Profession’s Future


27 July 2013

Miami, FL—Day two of the Intern Development Program (IDP) Coordinators Conference included presentations from the presidents of three architectural collateral organizations, as well as exciting updates about the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®), improvements to the Emerging Professional’s Companion (EPC), best practices for social media, and break out sessions where coordinators exchanged tools and ideas.

AIA and NCARB Leadership Offer Vision for Future and Call to Action
“NCARB and AIA are committed to working together to make the next generation of professionals as strong as it can possibly be,” said National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) President Blakely C. Dunn, AIA, NCARB, who shared the stage with American Institute of Architects (AIA) President Mickey Jacob, FAIA. Dunn is the first NCARB president to have completed the IDP, and he highlighted a few key initiatives for his year in office, with the goal of “ensuring the next generation of architects possesses the competency and skills they need.” These initiatives include a special task force looking at short-term opportunities to streamline the IDP and explore future models; continuing development of the next generation of the exam, ARE 5.0; and a new licensure task force, comprised of leaders in the education community, private practice, and collateral and NCARB leaders. Dunn said the committee will “examine licensure in a more holistic way and explore what’s feasible for creating new alternative paths to licensure.”

Jacobs also emphasized the need to look forward, noting, “As IDP coordinators, you are investing in the future of the profession, and that is a critical investment right now.” He discussed AIA’s repositioning effort, which seeks to increase public awareness for the important role architects play in our communities while demonstrating the value they provide. “We need to look at the way we educate, the way we practice, the way we talk about the knowledge we bring,” Jacobs urged. “If we don’t do that, we’ll get bypassed.” Jacobs and Dunn closed by reiterating the necessity for investing in the emerging professionals who are the future of the profession. “It’s a new era of practice, and it’s changing daily,” Dunn said.

My Examination Coming Soon, Future Direction for the ARE
Assistant Director, IDP, Nick Serfass, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, PMP, noted that candidates will have access to the new My Examination service after the ARE blackout. Located within My NCARB, Record holders will be able to schedule exams, view score reports, see their rolling clock details, and more. He also reminded attendees that international delivery of the ARE is coming this fall, and about the new cloud-based service for accessing the ARE practice programs.

Also, Serfass offered a sneak preview of the exciting changes to come in late 2016, when the next version of the exam is slated to launch. ARE 5.0 will incorporate dramatic new breakthroughs in graphical testing while new case studies and “performance item type” questions will allow for elimination of the current outdated CAD software system. The division and exam structure are expected to be finalized by mid-2014, at which time information about the transition from ARE 4.0 to ARE 5.0 will be announced. More details, including the proposed structure and some answers to frequently asked questions, are on NCARB.org.

Emerging Professional's Companion (EPC) Reboot
Over the last several years, the Emerging Professional's Companion (EPC), an IDP enrichment program that provides free, web-based supplemental experience opportunities for IDP credit, has undergone several modifications. “As the IDP changed overtime, we asked how we could keep this resource up-to-date,” explained AIA Director, Center for Emerging Professionals Kevin Fitzgerald, AIA, PMP.

The updated, downloadable PDF features streamlined navigation, additional resources, an extended bibliography, and much more. Be sure to visit the program’s redesigned website for more information.

Best Practices for Communicating Through Social Media
“Since April, we’ve gained more than 2,000 new followers across our platforms, which include Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube,” said NCARB Social Media Writer Samantha Miller. “We are bringing a human element to NCARB and making our social media platforms a safe destination for concerns and conversation.” Miller offered several examples of ways to actively listen and engage through social media, and urged IDP coordinators to take advantage of these tools to engage with their constituents and the larger professional community.

IDP State Coordinator Sean Sheffler, AIA, described how social media tools like LinkedIn and Twitter have helped him address the challenge of engaging and connecting with emerging professionals in a geographically diverse and dispersed state. “Engagement and interaction is what matters,” Sheffler said. He has successfully used LinkedIn to connect with architecture students, establishing himself as a resource for them before they even graduate. Using LinkedIn, Twitter, and a blog, he continually shares a wide range of information on topics that are most relevant to emerging professionals.

Bridging Gaps and Serving the Needs of Emerging Professionals
Three workshops focused on sharing best practices for connecting students to the profession, creating an internship positive firm culture, and responding to licensure questions.

While in school, students are deeply immersed in studio and design culture. The trick is getting them to leave this comfort zone to engage with others in the profession. Attendees heard how some schools are helping to bridge this gap through examples shared by Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) President and Dean of Woodbury University Norman Millar, AIA; Assistant Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) Tristan Sterk, AIA, NCARB; and University of South Florida Master’s student, intern, and IDP Student Coordinator, Linaea Floden. “There are a lot of students who are moving through their education without getting exposure to the profession,” said Floden, emphasizing the need to more seamlessly integrate the IDP with education. By partnering with AIAS and other collateral organizations, Sterk’s school has created several new initiatives ranging from an internship panel to a portfolio round table. Millar added that humanitarian efforts such as volunteer and research programs are a great way to connect students with the profession.

“Investing in our interns is an investment in our firm,” said IDP auxiliary coordinator and Project Manager Angela Van Do, AIA, of Boulder Associates Architects. She serves as a resource for interns and architects by sharing key updates on licensure and CE requirements, holding quarterly check-ins with interns, tracking intern progress, and ensuring interns are getting the experience they need. IDP state coordinator for Virginia and Project Manager Corey Clayborne, AIA, NCARB, of Wiley|Wilson, described several ways his IDP Outstanding Firm Award-winning firm supports interns and creates synergies among its local and distributed staff—such as mentoring teams, regular training opportunities, and community involvement. “Our firm has always celebrated licensure. In 10 years, only one intern hasn’t stayed with the firm,” he said, noting that his firm “expects incoming interns to want to get licensed.”

Innovative Idea Exchange
IDP coordinators from across the country led an engaging series of presentations about their own licensure-related initiatives. Several shared ways they leverage their networks and create unique and regular opportunities to connect with emerging professionals. For example, Academic Counselor and IDP Educator Coordinator Peter Dung, from Southern California Institute of Architecture, makes it a point to “engage students very early, face to face,” beginning with orientation and continuing through graduation.

The conference closed with an “Ask, Tell, Comment” session that invited the audience to ask their most pressing questions of NCARB and the AIA. Many questions inspired suggestions for new tools and ways to better support the important roles coordinators play in the profession.

“Your ongoing engagement is really critical,” said NCARB CEO Michael J. Armstrong. He thanked coordinators for attending and acknowledged that they are “part of an important pipeline,” inviting their thoughts, critiques, and input as the Council looks to the future. 

More IDPCC News
2013 IDP Coordinators Conference Preview
NCARB Delivers Licensure Presentation to Packed House in Miami
Day 1: Exploring Future Paths to Licensure

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