2019 Centennial Annual Business Meeting: Designing the Future, Celebrating the Past

From June 20-22, members of the U.S. architectural licensing boards gathered in Washington, DC, for NCARB’s 2019 Centennial Annual Business Meeting. Throughout the three-day conference, delegates learned about NCARB’s evolving programs and services, helped set the agenda for the coming years, celebrated the organization’s history, and elected new officers. Through various sessions and workshops, board members also brainstormed new ideas to advance architectural regulation, explored how advances in technology might impact the licensure process, and prepared for NCARB’s participation in the upcoming National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) 2019 Accreditation Review Forum (ARForum19).

Positioning for the Future

The Centennial meeting kicked off with a focus on the future of architectural regulation. To help set the stage, award-winning journalist Thomas L. Friedman delivered a keynote presentation addressing how digital globalization, climate change, and technology are reshaping the world’s politics, economics, and ethics—and how regulators can adapt to the pace of change.

“Technology is evolving faster than the average human being or regulator can keep up with,” said Friedman. “To understand the world today, the communities you’re working in, the business you’re working in, you have to understand it’s the integration of all three of these accelerations [the market, Mother Nature, and technology] at once.” 

NCARB also released an updated mission statement and new Strategic Plan during the meeting. The 2019 Strategic Plan launches NCARB into its second century and provides a framework for organizational initiatives over the next three to five years. It retains successful elements of the former plan and introduces opportunities for continuous quality improvement, growth, and transformation. Explore the new Strategic Plan.

NCARB Looks Forward

As the organization launches into its second century, NCARB has begun exploring what the role of architects will look like in 25 years. As part of a multi-year effort to ensure licensure programs and standards keep pace with an evolving profession, NCARB previewed initial insights from its Futures Collaborative during the Annual Business Meeting. Established in 2017 to explore challenges and opportunities facing the profession, the collaborative is composed of leading architects, experts in artificial intelligence, and licensing board members.

Attendees also participated in a strategic planning training activity that included an opportunity to brainstorm new ideas for focusing on the future. Additionally, licensing board members had the opportunity to participate in workshops reviewing the basics of NCARB’s experience, examination, and certification programs; reviewing potential upcoming changes to NCARB Model Law; and preparing for the July ARForum19.

The Future of Education

In addition to the ARForum19 workshop, attendees engaged in several activities related to the future of architectural education. Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) Executive Director Michael Monti and NCARB Experience + Education Vice President Harry M. Falconer, Jr., FAIA, NCARB, Hon. FCARM, Hon. Ph.D., shared the results of the second phase of the joint NCARB/ACSA Professional Practice Survey, which will be used to inform decisions at the ARForum19.

Attendees also heard an update on NCARB’s national partnership with the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) Freedom by Design™ Program. By providing grants to local AIAS chapters and encouraging members of licensing boards to serve as mentors on Freedom by Design projects, NCARB continues to help the AIAS promote accessible communities while also supporting students along the path to licensure.

Celebrating NCARB’s Centennial

On Friday, 2018-2019 NCARB President David L. Hoffman, FAIA, NCARB, Hon. FCARM, opened the meeting by reflecting on the organization’s 100-year history.

“The ‘idea’ that gave birth to NCARB is resilient; it is resilient because the need for a uniform approach to qualifying architects for reciprocal licensure that was seen as necessary in 1919 is still valid today,” said Hoffman. “A rigorous, focused evaluation of practitioner’s education, experience, and examination history, deemed essential then, remains the route to post-licensure mobility through certification now.”

Hoffman celebrated NCARB’s continuous evolution over the past century, including the ongoing development and evaluation of the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®), improvements to the Architectural Experience Program® (AXP®), and the introduction of the Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure (IPAL). 

Enhancing Programs and Services

During his address at the 2019 Centennial Annual Business Meeting, CEO Armstrong outlined how the organization will enhance a number of tools for its 55 members and community of 115,000 architects and licensure candidates.  “Strategic planning isn’t just an exercise—we are in a new era where we use and implement our Strategic Plan on a daily basis,” Armstrong said. “We want to be resilient as an organization, and we’ve set a high bar for what you expect of us.”

In addition to highlighting several areas of focus that will benefit both licensing boards and architects, Armstrong also previewed the upcoming edition of NCARB by the Numbers, which will be released in July. According to the publication, there are over 115,000 architects in the United States, and nearly 41,000 candidates pursuing an architecture license. These statistics, which suggest the profession is healthy and growing, emphasize the growing need among licensing boards to manage license applications and audit continuing education compliance. 

Supervisor Training

On Saturday, incoming FY20 NCARB President Terry L. Allers, FAIA, NCARB, Hon. FCARM, will lead efforts to develop new training materials for supervisors and mentors. Allers, a small-firm owner and supervisor from Fort Dodge, Iowa, announced plans to provide architects with a suite of tools to help guide candidates through the AXP.  Meet FY20 President Allers. 

 “At the top of my list is a robust effort to train AXP supervisors to be mentors and coaches,” said Allers during the meeting. “I believe this is fundamental to the ethics of practicing architecture and vital to positioning the next generation to be best prepared for the challenges of the future.” Learn more about supervisor training resources.

Future Leadership

Delegates voted on candidates running for national office and director positions. Newly elected members of the FY20 NCARB Board of Directors include:

  • President Terry L. Allers, FAIA, NCARB, Hon. FCARM
  • First Vice President/President-elect Robert M. Calvani, FAIA, NCARB
  • Second Vice President Alfred Vidaurri Jr., FAIA, NCARB, AICP
  • Treasurer Bayliss Ward, NCARB, AIA
  • Secretary Jon Alan Baker, FAIA, NCARB
  • Region 3 Director Robert W. McKinney, Ed.D., NCARB
  • Region 6 Director Edward T. Marley, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP