NCARB’s Commitment to Diversity

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer endorse a sustained commitment to improving diversity among NCARB staff, volunteer committees, and the 54 licensing boards.

The path to NCARB leadership starts when a governor or other appointing authority selects an individual to serve on a jurisdictional licensing board. Licensing board service is a prerequisite for election to NCARB leadership, while service on NCARB committees draws from a broader pool at the discretion of the incoming NCARB president.

In recent years, NCARB has worked to diversify its volunteer pool to emphasize diversity of gender, race, geography, age, perspective (architect vs. non-architect), and physical ability. To do this, the volunteer pool beyond those serving on licensing boards has been enlisted to provide an expanded population with more diversity potential. This effort has also been accompanied by a more focused inclusion of public members and Member Board Executives. The expanded population includes recently certified architects, alumni from NCARB Think Tanks composed of licensure candidates and recently licensed architects, and outreach to the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA). We hope that many in this larger pool might be appointed to their respective jurisdictional boards. The comments in this statement are designed to reinforce and amplify the NCARB Board of Directors’ Policy on Diversity.

Because of the above efforts, our committee composition today is more diverse with a continued focus on preserving our momentum. Similarly, the composition of NCARB staff departments benefits from a diverse talent pool in the greater Washington, DC, area. NCARB can directly control these two areas of volunteer and staff composition.

While diversity at the licensing board level is largely controlled by governors or other appointing authorities, more can be done to influence the appointment process. We renew our request to the profession at-large, including existing licensing board members and AIA state components, to recruit and promote for consideration a more diverse pool of future licensing board members who can then run for NCARB leadership positions. And internally, we will strive to more fully utilize existing licensing board members who bring the perspective of under-represented groups.

We believe a commitment to diversity is also a commitment to access. Accordingly, our key programs have all undergone significant transformation to create a more credible licensure path that includes alternatives for meeting experience requirements and post-licensure certification. Perhaps most significantly, the Council’s Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure, known as IPAL, creates an opportunity in over two dozen programs in 21 schools to complete experience and examination requirements before graduation. Access to licensure early in one’s career provides a financial head start and maximizes flexibility and practice options.

There is more to be done. NCARB is justifiably proud of being the first U.S. professional architectural organization to elect a woman, and the first to elect an African American, as its presidents. Our culture is ready to embrace and encourage a refreshed pool of talent for its next century, from all places and perspectives. We encourage everyone to seek opportunities to promote the selection of diverse voices to fulfill the mission of protecting the public.

David L. Hoffman, FAIA, NCARB, Hon. FCARM
President/Chair of the Board

Michael J. Armstrong
Chief Executive Officer