NCARB President Tackles Intern Title Debate

In June, Dale McKinney, FAIA, of Sioux City, IA, was installed as NCARB president. Throughout his distinguished career, President McKinney has volunteered countless hours to the profession—serving as the president of AIA Iowa in 1989; sitting on the Iowa Architecture Examiners Board from 2000-2010 and later becoming the board’s president; holding numerous positions on the NCARB Board of Directors; and lending his expertise to several Council committees. As chair of the Internship Committee, he played an integral role in linking data from the 2007 Practice Analysis of Architecture to IDP requirements for the first time.

Below, he answers questions about the future of licensure and his plans to tackle the intern title debate.

Why did you want to become an architect?

I had the opportunity to take mechanical drafting classes in high school but never connected to architecture. Between combat missions in Vietnam in 1970, I began a dialog with a fellow recon platoon member who was a graduate of a landscape program. It got me thinking about getting a college education and exploring a degree in architecture. I wrote home to my wife and asked her to enroll me in school. Two days after returning home, I started classes.

How has volunteering for the Iowa State Board and various NCARB committees prepared you for your role as president?

I have made a life commitment to give back whenever possible. Every experience has been a two-way learning opportunity. You can give of yourself or your specific talents, but open the door for so much in return. I have continued to learn and grow to a point where I knew I was ready to serve as NCARB president.

 

At the Annual Meeting, you announced you’ll be forming a Future Title Task Force. What influenced your decision to take on this controversial topic?

The debate over the title “intern” has been kicked around for decades. The issue has two sides. One: What should a graduate of architecture be referred to out of respect for his or her hard work and dedication? And two: How confused is the public on what is a licensed architect, a graduate, or someone just working in an architect’s office without professional education?

What will the Future Title Task Force’s charges be?

I have charged this group with clearing the slate and starting fresh with no preconceived ideas. They will explore the potential titling of the full continuum from students to registered architects. They will research other professions to see how titles are similar and different.

Tell us about some of the other initiatives you will focus on over the next year.

We are in the center of redefining the IDP and implementing the next phase of the exam. Our state boards are reviewing and commenting on a two-phased approach to streamline and overhaul the IDP. After the Board of Directors receives these comments, we will determine the next steps for the program. Work will also continue on the development of ARE 5.0. This year, volunteers will begin developing the new question types, and NCARB staff will work on tools to help candidates manage the transition.

What advice do you have for emerging professionals?

I have witnessed significant changes in the practice of architecture in my career and expect each and every emerging professional to witness a similar evolution of architectural practice. Stay connected, be aware of changing trends, and stay prepared to respond proactively.

Have a question for the president? Ask him July 24 during NCARB Live or submit a question below!