Interns Design Streamlined Paths to Licensure


17 December 2013

Last week, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) welcomed 12 interns from across the country to Washington, DC, for the second annual Intern Think Tank (ITT). Over the course of two days, members analyzed the real-world effectiveness of the current licensure process, shared ideas with NCARB leadership about the future of internship and examination, and proposed “blue-sky” models aimed at achieving licensure upon graduation.

Traditionally, NCARB committees are composed of practicing architects and executives from the jurisdictional boards. But in recent years, the Board has expanded the reach of these committees, inviting fresh perspectives to join the conversation. “We’re at an exciting point in the evolution of the Council,” CEO Michel Armstrong told members. “Our Board recognizes that there’s a need to bring new voices to the table, particularly emerging professionals.”

Intern Record holders were invited to participate in the think tank in October. During the meeting, members were asked to address the following charges:

  1. PROS: Identify the most successful elements of the current licensure process and suggest opportunities or related concepts that could enhance its effectiveness, implementation, usability, or value.
  2. CONS: Identify the most challenging elements of the current licensure process and suggest options that could alleviate the problem while ensuring equivalent or better results.
  3. EDUCATION: Propose new "blue-sky" concepts aimed at achieving licensure upon graduation.
  4. INTERNSHIP: If requested, may review reports and recommendations from Internship + Education related special project teams and task forces. Provide feedback from the perspective of the intern community regarding the feasibility, acceptance, and application of any proposed initiatives.
  5. EXAMINATION: If requested, may review reports, recommendations, and proposals regarding the upcoming development, transition, and rollout of ARE 5.0. Provide feedback from the perspective of the intern community regarding the feasibility, acceptance, and usability of any proposed elements of the upcoming evolution.

Led by Think Tank Chair Susanne Tarovella, AIA, NCARB, LEED APBD+C, interns generated ideas related to the charges, gave individual presentations, and then broke into teams to do further research. The resulting proposals will be shared with the NCARB Board of Directors, Licensure Task Force, and Internship Advisory Committee. By pinpointing overlaps between education, experience, and examination, the Council can begin to move toward a more efficient pathway to licensure.

“It’s important to give people the opportunity to speak up and have a say in the profession,” said Tarovella. “So having a group of 12 interns come together to brainstorm the pros and cons of the current system is exciting.”

The Intern Think Tank will meet again in January via conference call to review draft proposals. To view photos of the meeting, click here.

2013 Intern Think Tank Members:
Chair: Susanne Tarovella, AIA, NCARB, LEED APBD+C, Knoxville, TN
Will Adams, Duluth, MN
Eli Allen, LEED APBD+C, Philadelphia, PA
Shannon French, Assoc. AIA, LEED GA, New Orleans, LA
Amanda Green, Sacramento, CA
Tom Klaber, Assoc. AIA, LEED APBD+C, Brooklyn, NY
Elizabeth Main, Assoc. AIA, Kansas City, KS
Lauren Miller, Assoc. AIA, Columbus, OH
Lauren Reichenbach, LEED APBD+C, San Francisco, CA
Madeleine Sara, Assoc. AIA, LEED GA, El Paso, TX
Daniel Splaingard, LEED APBD+C, Chicago, IL
Aaron Trahan, Assoc. AIA, LEED GA, New London, CT
Kathryn Wetherbee, EI, Assoc. AIA, LEED GA, Freeport, ME



The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards' membership is made up of the architectural registration boards of all 50 states as well as those of the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. NCARB assists its member registration boards in carrying out their duties and provides a certification program for individual architects.

NCARB protects the public health, safety, and welfare by leading the regulation of the practice of architecture through the development and application of standards for licensure and credentialing of architects. In order to achieve these goals, the Council develops and recommends standards to be required of an applicant for architectural registration; develops and recommends standards regulating the practice of architecture; provides to Member Boards a process for certifying the qualifications of an architect for registration; and represents the interests of Member Boards before public and private agencies. NCARB has established reciprocal registration for architects in the United States and Canada.


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