Californians are Advocating for Change in AIA

in: Advocacy Issues / 3 Comments


During the upcoming AIA Convention (May 17-19, 2012 in Washington D.C.) several resolutions will be offered for consideration by the AIA membership. Californians have been leading the efforts in developing resolutions which if passed, will ask the AIA Board to take action on the following issues:

  • AIA Resources: study AIA’s revenue streams at the National, State and local levels, the impact such sources have on the services and delivery, membership recruitment and retention, and the future health of the organization (sponsored by AIA California Council). Click here to read the resolution.
  • AIA Allied Membership: to change AIA Bylaws to allow state and local AIA chapters’ local affiliate/professional members to use the title “allied member” (sponsored by AIA Redwood Empire). Click here to read the resolution.
  • Special Recognition: to publically acknowledge AIA Members who have been members of the organization for 50 years or more (sponsored by John Grounds, AIA, California Regional Director from AIA San Fernando Valley). Click here to read the resolution.

While resolutions do not obligate the AIA to a specific course of action, they are often used as a means to start a national dialogue about important issues facing the organization. The AIA California Council has been working with local components to develop these resolutions and forward them to the Institute Secretary for presentation to Convention delegates.

Weigh in on these issues and help shape the discussion.

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Nicki Dennis Stephens

Nicki Dennis Stephens is the Senior Director for The American Institute of Architects, California Council. Focusing on expanding the value of architects and architecture, Nicki is dedicated to serving the needs of members and AIA components throughout California.

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  1. avatar
    Robert Ira Schwartz AIA

    Dear Ms. Stephens:

    The AIA convention resolution regarding the need for a general study leading to recalibration of AIA dues is very welcome and appropriate, and long overdue in my humble estimation. Might I helpfully suggest that a useful comparison would be for AIA to look at the national American Bar Association (ABA) national dues structure and the annual fees charged by the various State Bar Associations. I believe it will be found that AIA’s current dues are, on average, more than twice those total fees charged to attorneys in the same localities, although (on average) attorneys make more than double the annual income of architects; a four-fold disproportion of professional-association-fees-to-income.

    I regret to say that since first joining the AIA in 1984, as benefits have disappeared and collateral costs have increased being an AIA member has become (on balance) increasingly less-than-worthwhile. At some near-future point it will become a generally unaffordable hollow honorific for other than large corporate-subsidized staff unless the AIA’s national leadership finally decides to do less with less and reduce its membership fee structure to something commonly sustainable by the average small practitioner.

    AIA/CC would also do well to refocus away from emphasizing public works payment issues (which concern only a very narrow segment of the entire profession) and the advertisement of revolving “design awards” issued by a cadre of alternating jurors and recipients (which are something of an inside professional joke). Consider how many clients or end-user occupants or local neighbors normally wind up on those juries.

    As an experienced design/construction legal expert, I also hope that AIA/CC should become more properly focused upon issues of (1) professional liability-reduction legislation, and (2) correction of the current paradigm by which new California architectural graduates (having (mis)spent their entire academic careers playing abstract design games on computers\) enter the real world bereft of an essential background in construction, detailing, specification, scheduling, consultant coordination, project administration, real estate finance, cost estimating, professional ethics or the legal & accounting aspects of professional practice. Lacking that information they have a very small real future chance at becoming successful professional practitioners.

    Rob Schwartz AIA

  2. avatar
    Jack E. Andersen, AIA

    Finally someone is speaking up for the little (non-corporate interest) guy or gal in our profession. This year I almost dropped my membership in the AIA; after reading the proposed resolutions by the AIACC, I am glad I continued my membership. Thank you AIACC.

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  5. avatar
    Intern Architect

    Let’s face it without the AIA, the architecture profession has very little to stand on. The public knows an architect by the AIA, sole practitioners rely on the AIA designation for credibility and status as a registered architect. We as a community rely on the AIA for political lobbying, CEU accreditation, and conferences. In a sense, the AIA is like the church in which architects belong.
    We may be categorized among such semi-professions as graphic design if we didn’t prescribe to such organizations like the AIA and registration through a state board of licensing.
    If a solution were, as a community, to distinct our name with NCARB or Registered apart from AIA, or with Licensed Architect and/or License # after our name like Real Estate agents or Brokers we can bridge ourselves away from dependance on the AIA as distinct professionals.

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