Note: This report is adapted from First Vice President Kristine Harding’s 2016 Annual Business Meeting speech.
Thank you for this opportunity to lead the Council in the coming year. I truly appreciate all of your support, encouragement, and hard work. Being here today only confirms how incredibly fortunate I am to have so many people in my life and career who have supported and believed in me.
I would like to take you back 12 years ago, when I first came on my Alabama licensing board. I remember sitting in my first few Annual Meetings and witnessing, what I would call, a very laborious and ineffective process. The Meeting was fraught with singular and personal agendas rather than being strategic and considering the organization as a whole. Issues went around in circles. Good ideas and work completed by committees over the year seemed to die or never see the light of day. There had to be a better way. I feel that our past presidents would wholeheartedly agree and were exploring ways to change the process.
I am referencing that past state of NCARB because I want everyone to understand how we have changed, to celebrate how much we have improved and how collaborative today's NCARB really is. We are pushing forward, striving for excellence, and still learning. Today we can all take ownership for a series of successes that show how our work and our mission can evolve as it remains focused on protecting the public and facilitating licensure.
We need to look no further than the exciting moment awaiting us this fall, when the new ARE 5.0 makes its debut. Back when our committees first revealed their research discussions and our Board went through a series of deliberations to simplify the choices, there was skepticism. But we provided data, and utilized our staff and volunteers to review and provide feedback. And then the Board did its job—showing courage, leadership, and faith in the process.
This role we all play, which involves both the creation of ideas and critiquing of concepts, has been expanded in new and exciting directions. New charges have focused on streamlining. New task forces have focused on reinventing programs and charting new paths. And through all of this, we have increased our communications, provided more time for feedback, and proactively brought our membership deeper into the discussion through outreach efforts big and small. Member Boards are represented at campus outreach events, visited by NCARB staff, and being given new support for services and navigating regulatory change.
This new normal relies on you as a community. This community is composed of many facets. As I worked on committee appointments this past March, I was thrilled at how much interest we had in volunteering, impressed by each of your resumes of committee work, and challenged to find the right mix and place for each of you in the coming year. We worked hard to populate the committees with more diverse participants, to empower public members and Member Board Executives with seats on our national Board. We must celebrate our inclusiveness in how decisions are made and the value of the process.
We are turning up the volume as a national leader in making the case for why licensure matters and regulation is essential. Our efforts are guiding the national community of regulatory organizations. The media now comes to us for commentary and data. We find a new respect by the community of emerging professionals who are experiencing an NCARB that is more accessible and more relevant to the world they are helping create.
Why does all this matter? It matters because there is still more to be done.
We need to keep on working, continue to be agile, seek progress, and go further. We cannot focus on the future if we are still bogged down in the processes of the past. In June 1940, Winston Churchill delivered a speech to the British House of Commons and stated, "If we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find that we have lost the future." I implore you to value the process that we have achieved through mindful strategic measures—one that has afforded us the vehicle in which we can remain agile and make substantive change for the good of the Council, the membership, our customers, and the public.
There is so much to be positive about. If we are truly to go further, we will need to seize the possible—not focus on the negatives of "what could go wrong" or "why I don't trust." We are regulators, certainly. But we are also facilitators. I'm looking forward to some strategic initiatives in the coming year.
Our NCARB Certificate is emerging as something more than a passport to reciprocal licensure, as important as that is. It helps you renew your license with free continuing education in HSW through our online Monograph Series. And soon it will offer additional services to help you manage your license and save you time.
Because we have re-set the table regarding our programs, it is now a good time to move to a higher plane and take a fresh look at our Model Law from a global and aspirational perspective. What should it stand for, how should it be presented? How can it be useful to our Member Boards and also as a statement of our aspirations regardless of current political impediments? I am standing up a new Model Law Task Force to ask those questions and take us on a journey of discovery that will engage all of us.
In the coming year, I am also looking forward to a rebirth in our relationship to education. Our Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure initiative now represents nearly 15 percent of all schools with accredited programs. I have been honored to be placed on an International Task Force by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), and facilitated a session in Chile in June at their international conference. We will be participating in a new collaboration with all five architectural collaterals, hosted by the ACSA, called the Education Coordinating Council (ECC). The ECC will act as an idea exchange regarding all aspects of the education continuum from K through 12 into college, experience, and continuing education.
And I am thrilled to preside over our first year of sponsoring the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) and their Freedom by Design initiative and to have our own Dennis Ward serve as the first NCARB liaison to the AIAS Board. Add in the ARE 5.0 launch and it promises to be quite a year.
As the first woman president of NCARB since 1999, I am keenly aware of my responsibility as a mentor and role model. I have had very affirming and motivating conversations with women at all phases in their careers as I have moved up the NCARB leadership ladder, and I look forward to continuing the dialogue. I am thrilled our first woman president, Ann Chaintreuil (1998), was able to attend the Annual Business Meeting this year. But even more importantly, I am humbled by the opportunity to serve—and to lead all of you—regardless of your background or perspective. Our diverse portfolio of NCARB programs is bringing in a more diverse generation of licensure candidates, and eventually architects. We know this from our data, and we see it as we meet with your successors around the country.
We are delivering to that next generation not only a more agile, accessible, and open NCARB, but a more financially stable one. We can make changes that reduce revenue while we effectively calibrate our investments and efficiencies. It is a sign of a healthy NCARB that there is such a good partnership between our excellent staff and our dedicated volunteers. Together we are going further.
So let's lean into this next phase together. And as Winston Churchill declared in 1940, "Let us brace ourselves to our duties." So that for years to come, people will say, "This was their finest hour!" I look forward to leading this community effort. Thank you!
1801 K Street NW Suite 700K | Washington, DC 20006
Phone: 202/879-0520 | Fax: 202/783-0290 | www.ncarb.org
© 2015 National Council of Architectural Registration Boards