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2013 AIA Repositioning Innovation Fund

Summaries of all proposals (by category)


1. Advocacy and Education Agenda

With our organizational partners, and through the combined efforts of several committees, including our Committee on the Environment, Women in Architecture, and Emerging Professionals Committee, we propose to develop an advocacy and education agenda on K-12 learning environments for outreach to diverse constituencies of school communities: parents, educators, administrators and stakeholders, and surrounding community members, as well as design professionals and the general public.

16. Critical Thinking Skill Development

At a time when public school education in the U.S. is in transition, and challenged to meet education goals set forth in Common Core State Standards, architects will find gratifying the prospect of positive intervention by their local AIA Chapter by offering schoolchildren the opportunity to enhance their higher order thinking skills through exposure to the design process. This program will facilitate the learning of critical-thinking skills of students (grades 4-12) by demonstrating how the design process works. Of the 231 members of the chapter, 52 are Associates, and their active participation will be a high priority in the implementation of the project.

17. K-6 Outreach and Exhibit

Do we perhaps wait too long to capture the attention and interest of “emerging architects?” In the past, our component chapter has discussed adoption of a K-12 program as developed by our public advocacy group hoping to inspire future architects. Our repositioning proposal expands on that sort of program and is designed as a two-pronged initiative involving two different age groups: K-6 school children via a design and build interactive exhibit and architecture students at a nearby university via expanding our relationship with AIAS.

27. K-12 Digital Curriculum

We propose to develop an online training and curriculum resource that helps architects work in service to their communities by teaching and inspiring K-12 students to develop design thinking as path for gaining 21st century skills. The website will offer two elements: a self-directed training for architects to gain pedagogical principles and strategies for teaching school-aged children and complete curriculum resources that include a lesson and all other digital materials, e.g., slides, streaming videos, and PDF homework projects. This initiative builds upon thirty years of work since the Learning By Design program was initiated by the AIA in 1980.

62. Youth Engagement

This program will use community outreach to train, engage, and mentor our membership through a project that supports involvement, outreach, collaboration, and positive public relations for the profession. The project in mind centers on a local Title One school within the local youth enrichment zone—an area designated as high crime with a high dropout rate. The plan is to engage middle school children to architecture and the architecture profession, train emerging professionals in community outreach techniques, and provide a platform for emerging professionals to mentor local students.

Member Experience

9. Advancing the Architect

We are focusing programmatically on the themes of Designing for Safety and Disaster for its 2013 Annual Conference. The main purpose of this program for which we seek funding, in addition to providing those tools, however, is to advance the role of the architect in the community, specifically encouraging inclusion in significant planning initiatives dictated by the recent circumstances. By targeting an audience of public officials, local and statewide, both decision makers, such as mayors, first selectmen, legislators, and those charged with responding to disaster, we hope to achieve our goal: the recognition by the public sector that architects are a critical resource for intelligent, effective planning and response to disasters.

12. Architect-Leaders

In the current social and industrial environment, the need for architect-leaders has become paramount and increasing important. Professional education is too tightly leveraged to provide this type of non technical soft skills development amidst an already difficult and robust program of work and study, leaving professional to learn, and succeed or fail on their own. This is a design problem that can and should be addressed through the advocacy and guidance of the professional society. Our chapter has already embraced this challenge and been recognized nationally for our innovation and leadership in this area. The chapter has already been recognized for initiating an emerging leadership program now in its fifth successful year with over 110 graduates.

14. AIA Social Magazine App

The AIA Social Magazine App (the app) would be a localized news aggregator akin to Flipboard. This app would pull news from National AIA, our chapter, or appropriate other state and local chapters. In addition to news populated from AIA social media, chapters could manually input articles/content. Once other chapters throughout the nation are using the app, upgrades would include a GPS and/or member login for the app to provide localized content.

18. Codes Council

Architects are at the mercy of building codes to get the projects approved and completed. All too often, architects are not at the table when these codes are being formulated. Our component proposes to implement our codes standards council in other state components. Building codes are often influenced by local needs such as humidity and high velocity wind mitigation in our state. Familiarity with the locale is a necessity for the model for our codes council, which has representatives from multiple local chapters. In addition to architects, local building officials, engineers and other professionals are also invited to serve on the council.

19. Digital Integration

Currently an AIA member in our state has three different websites with three different usernames and three different passwords to use if they wish to find information, register for an event or pay dues. There is a lack of cohesion and uniformity there is a lack of cohesion. It is even difficult to identify that this is the same organization and members find it difficult to navigate to the information needed in a timely manner. Our chapter, in conjunction with our state component, proposes developing a unified online platform and presence for state and local components.

20. Webinar Series

Our chapter would like to develop an "AIA Global Connection" Series. This series will benefit not only all AIA members around the world tangibly with insight, knowledge and network, but will help elevate and reposition the Institute as the inclusive gold standard, leadership platform that it is. The Global Connections Series will use technology and multi-location venues to bring together experts from all over to discuss issues of relevance critical to building a better world. AIA Global Connections would become a branded series of interactive conversations sharing best practices on numerous issues of relevance. An AIA Global Connection event will be live in two or more cities with presentation and discussion with experts, members, allied professionals, government officials, emerging professionals, students and community members.

21. Digital CE Portal

Our metropolitan area covers just over 10,000 square miles. Recognizing our need to serve members in all parts of that area, we developed “Thinking Outside the Loop” as a theme for 2013. By concentrating on offering programs through the local architecture center, we have been offering scant benefits to members who live and work in areas far from downtown—many of them are unable to attend programs downtown. But, we can fix this by offering CE courses through our own digital portal.

22. Leadership Training

The Leadership Institute is a one-day training session with a successful track record in our region. Each program is designed to serve 40 members and advances architecture by helping each member proceed with confidence to the next step in their leadership journey. Our role in sharing its success would be to meet in person with every region and let them know how to stage their own leadership institute, providing support materials at the initial meeting and ongoing contact to answer follow-up questions.

23. Business Development

The program will provide participants real-world examples of what it takes to start, run, and sustain the various aspects of an architectural firm. The focus of the program will not be on design but the day-to-day issues that confront firm leaders including: legal; accounting; human resources; technology; public relations; technology; and business development. Most emerging professionals have never been exposed to the everyday practical architectural firm business issues. This program’s focus is on those issues. Our professional practice certificate program will provide AIA members, potential members, and emerging professionals the opportunity to expand their knowledge of the professional aspects of the architectural industry.

29. Leadership Event

Our component’s Emerging Professional Leadership Day will provide emerging professionals with the knowledge and tools they need to be successful leaders both within the AIA and in their individual professional careers. Leadership Day will gather leadership professionals from across the state to demystify important leadership topics for those just starting out in their careers and will reinvigorate industry veterans with a fresh perspective on new, effective leadership techniques.

31. Commerce and Practice Template

Our proposed template serves as a valuable resource to the majority of AIA members by providing new insights into the “voice of the client” and by providing AIA members with new tools and resources leading to greater influence and success in the practice of architecture. Our component commissioned a survey of clients that resulted in important information for the profession. It has the potential to benefit all component members and their firms through addressing the findings in the survey. In addition, through a step-by-step template, components will find this to be a straight-forward program easily adaptable to their individual component. All-volunteer components may use the findings of our component’s survey and tailor forums to their own membership.

36. Web-Based Education

We are proposing a significant service that a state component can offer to local chapters and ultimately members that is distinct from what is presently in place. It provides web-based education programs offered within a structure of collaborative coordination and defined roles for two tiers of AIA. The initiative provides an income stream for both tiers and utilizes programs in place at the chapter as well as those from universities, firms and other sources. The project is not designed to take the place of educational programming presently being offered but as an enhancement and extension of those offerings. The proposal calls for four sessions in the first year.

48. High-Performance Design Sessions

Building on the success of the AIA+2030 Series we propose to create, document and share Getting to Zero, a comprehensive, cutting-edge curriculum, developed as a 4-part education series, to lead members through the next target of the 2030 Challenge (70% reduction) and beyond. This new series, responding to the expressed needs of members, seeks to help our members move to the next level of delivering very high performing buildings. It includes four half-day education sessions, 16 learning hours in total, organized around technical presentations, case studies, and interactive exercises to reach all adult learning types.

52. Stages-of-Practice Help

Our chapter area is centered in a city that’s home to a major state university school of architecture. We see more than our share of young people moving in and up the professional ranks. Half of this program celebrates those initial steps. The second half marks significant anniversaries for those who are in the profession. “Ten Steps” marks and celebrates those key moments for all who are moving through the profession.

53. Grassroots Legislative Education

This fellowship would create a funded seasonal position at our component’s headquarters in conjunction with a local chapter to allow an architect member to develop and coordinate grassroots legislative efforts. The fellow would develop legislative advocacy tools for use at the state level (legislative policies & priorities, legislation, white papers, leave behind materials and position statements) and a legislative tool kit for leadership by the chapters in our state to use to prepare local members for grassroots advocacy at the local level in preparation for that year’s legislative session. The fellowship would also provide architect members who are considering running for state office the opportunity to gain legislative lobbying experience.

59. Allied Professional Support

In order to cultivate stronger alliances with allied professional organizations, our chapter proposes to organize and lead a series of facilitated workshops to understand at a deeper, more fundamental level how we can develop a resilient network of allied professional organizations that can support each other and be poised to act quickly to address specific issues as well as to capitalize on unique opportunities as they arise.

Public Engagement

2. Digital Tool

We propose an interactive, online tool to draw people’s attention to buildings and to prompt a conversation, at first casual, then progressively instructive—a tool that is contemporary in content generation, technology and audience. Drawing original content on buildings and places from AIA members, this tool will stimulate the public to exchange thoughts and images with architects, building common ground for discussion and appreciation. It will organize this collectively assembled material geographically and will layer onto it “teaching moments”—opportunities for AIA members to highlight and explain how the architecture of a particular place shapes our experience.

5. Spanish-Language Outreach Program

We will collaborate with a local professional organization of Latino architects in the development of a Spanish language Working with an Architect (WWAA) and Ask an Architect (AAA) outreach programs. In addition, this program will cultivate mentorship opportunities with young Spanish-speaking architects. Working with an Architect (WWAA) and Ask an Architect (AAA) are free programs open to the public that are designed to raise awareness of the role of architects in residential projects, to prepare attendees for a possible project, and to make the public aware of AIA’s mission and impact in the profession and industry.

3. How-To Guide

Funding for this campaign will be used to create a “how-to guide” and process for AIA members to produce approximately 15 brief (approximately 100-second) videos illustrating the “building blocks” of the AIA story as identified by LaPlaca Cohen / Pentagram. The videos will feature AIA members and firms engaged in interesting activities, projects and initiatives that visually underscore how AIA members: see the bigger picture; know what’s good for business; fuse practice with passion; demonstrate relevance; and focus on connectivity. Potential video subjects may be inspiring (like our sample video) or concrete, such as a local park design benefiting a community or following an architect on a post-disaster "inspection" service.

7. Public Outreach

The main project goal is to increase public awareness of our buildings and promote proactive preservation of our state’s architectural heritage utilizing filmed oral interviews that will be developed into a series of public education pieces to be disseminated in a variety of venues and media formats. Work for this project will begin with the refinement of a recognizable message that will be utilized throughout each of the subsequent project phases. The "Create the Future, Honor the Past" message embodies the goal of preserving our collective history in the built environment and conveys a sense of joint responsibility among professionals and the public to protect our significant resources in the future.

10. Mobile Architecture Center

Our membership is spread throughout a large region and over the last 20 years, our chapter has evolved a unique model to respond to our geographical challenges: A Mobile Architecture Center. While we have an administrative center, we have no true center of power or activity the way many chapters do. Since our first conference in 1994, this decentralized power structure has proven highly successful for our needs, but we’ve recently begun to see its next stage of development and potential: the member-­driven Mobile Architecture Center. In our chapter, we are seeing a growing desire by members, spread throughout the chapter, to organize additional, lighter, “pop­up” events that directly engage the general public.

15. Community Intervention

Five teams of 2-3 AIA members each will descend upon a community with the support of our chapter to design a particular brown-field or other important site in one hour. At the end of the hour, each team is given 6 minutes to present their designs to the audience. Raffle tickets will be sold for various amounts that the audience can purchase to vote on their favorite team. The team with the most tickets wins, with all proceeds going towards local charities. Our chapter originally held the event earlier this summer, with local co-sponsors. Approximately 200-300 people attended, and nearly $8000 was raised for the participating organizations.

28. Mobile Guide

The Siteseekr initiative will be a vehicle to bring positive exposure of architects and architecture to the community. The initial material for the database will come from the two local architecture guides published in 2010. The application will be co-branded as Siteseekr through our chapter. We see our chapter as the generator for other components to model their applications. Siteseekr is a mobile-based initiative with the ability to enhance unity and collaboration throughout AIA. It also serves as a key engagement point between members, enthusiasts and lay people who love design and the built environment. Siteseekr does all of this in a way that is more relevant to a world where people are increasingly consuming content on mobile devices and where content is increasingly immersive, interactive and connected to the world around them.

32. Collaboration Initiative

Our chapter’s Community Partners in Design Initiative aims to create and perpetuate a collaborative effort between our member community and the community within our chapter’s geographical boundaries. These goals will be achieved by connecting with and engaging emerging professionals and students in community based pro-bono design consultations for non-profit groups and documenting the process in a documentary style video to be used to raise awareness with the public and as a guide for future initiatives. These goals dovetail with the goals of AIA’s Repositioning Initiative and demonstrate to AIA members and the community how well thought out design and creative solutions can benefit the environment.

35. Cultural Mapping Initiative

This proposal is submitted by two, non-contiguous chapters and seeks an AIA Innovation Grant in support of a cultural mapping initiative to identify and document architectural and cultural assets in communities across America. The grant would fund the creation of a toolkit to assist AIA chapters in mapping the assets in their communities. Local architecture students and emerging professionals will immerse themselves in a nine-week summer program during which they will research and document local architecture, art and its history. Their investigations will actively engage them with local architects and planners, historians and teachers, artists and civic leaders. The cultural assets they document will be mapped onto the city grid and uploaded to a virtual exhibition. The project will culminate in a free community symposium and reception at one chapter’s center for architecture where architects, civic leaders and citizens can engage.

38. Collaborative Studio

Our proposal is for a collaborative studio, which is a rhetorical response to AIA Repositioning that reaches beyond AIA members to serve the broader public interest. It is a new cooperative design studio formed by emerging professionals comprised of representatives from each local chapter. The objective of this studio is to provide pro bono and reduced fee services that connect local communities and further the missions of local non-profits. Registered mentors will provide guidance and address liability issues. This studio formalizes relationships that are already in place, but it also provides a new vehicle to engage communities.

41. Disaster Assistance Tool

This proposal is for a step-by-step tool to create a disaster assistance program before trouble hits, so organizations can be prepared and respond swiftly and effectively. The tool aids with tier coordination, engages emerging professionals by giving them a meaningful way to serve the AIA and their local communities, and helps chapters determine if and how disaster assistance should be prioritized within their operations.

45. Videos, Seminars, and Exhibitions

We see our members as the greatest asset and also the best promoters. This proposal is for them—it’s a series of informative videos (focused on a younger audience), seminars (focused on local community and professional organizations), and open exhibitions (showcasing the best local architecture). The program’s success is lies in creating member value, since we tailor each event to specific professionals as a way of exposing their work, but also as a way of being relevant for their needs. We would study each one of the events individually to provide resources that could relate to the audience easily and also present specific examples to engage the audience.

55. Public Service Announcements

The project would create a series of public service announcements (PSAs) to educate local government officials, building officials, commercial property owners, and real estate agents and developers in the value of hiring an architect. These PSAs would be delivered via E-mail and targeted to decision-makers who live in this region of our state.

56. Public Outreach

Staging several interactive events at existing public gathering spots, such as local cultural/street festivals or farmers market/flea market type settings, we feel it is best to reach out to the general public at places and events where there will be large crowds of people to contribute, which will lead to increased participation. It is our goal to document our efforts at these initial events so that they can be shared with other local AIA components. We would also develop general marketing material that promotes the architectural profession and educates the public on the positive difference that architects make in the design of local communities. These digital files could be shared with any component that wished to replicate the activities we develop.

58. Mobile Education and Outreach

Our component seeks to create a mobile design exhibition and education gallery that is able to “travel” the length of our state, “visiting” suburban and rural towns and providing a hub for hosting educational events and outreach opportunities. This concept is based on other mobile units operating in rural areas, such as bookmobiles and traveling cancer screening units. Our center will house both a gallery to showcase our annual design awards entries and the work of local architects as well as an education center that will include literature about the architectural profession and rural infrastructure design, and provide a space to host design charrettes and children’s programs about the built environment.

Component Relationships

6. Five-Step Reorganization

Our proposed initiative is really quite simple; reorganize everything that we do around the primary purpose of the Institute: advocate, lead, and innovate. This will not only align current programs and initiatives with our primary purpose, it will also refocus our efforts on why they matter. At the same time, it will bring more clarity to the overall organization and allow our chapter’s members to more clearly communicate our primary purpose and value to our members. The proposal includes five stages for planning, town hall meetings, integration of feedback, communication strategies, and packaging with a one year timeline for implementation.

8. Chapter Realignment

This initiative starts with a one-and-a-half day retreat facilitated by an association management expert to help our state and local components streamline their focus and governance structure to best serve all AIA members in our state. The relationship between our chapters and state component has not been reexamined since 1997, when we went from five separate chapters, three of which were unstaffed, with separate offices, to our current structure (one staff and office provides support for one state chapter and four local chapters). The state focuses on statewide issues and services and the local chapters focus on local issues and programs.

30. Tier Coordination

Our component serves 1199 members with two AIA chapters. But, in order to connect and serve these members, we have a critical need for tier coordination within our state. This re-evaluation activity will signal accountability to each of our members. It will also foster a promotion of trust with a high degree of member engagement and participation, which in turn will bolster membership recruitment and convention participation. The proposal will include three face-to-face meetings over the next 18 months providing a needed connectivity for the AIA employees in our state regardless the employment contract. Also, I am requesting a Voluntary Component Assistance Team or a peer review for our component.

34. Regional Meetings

Our region consists of nine chapters and represents approximately 5,500 members (or, 6.5% of total AIA membership). Our region would like to build upon the benefits we gain from attending national meetings by facilitating quarterly meetings of all the chapter executives in our region. This regional meeting concept was tested in 2013 and the group found that for those who were able to attend, the experience was valuable. However, our group has not been able to achieve full attendance due to the significant budgetary impact of travel and staff time; most of us are from small chapters and work part-time.

37. Evaluation Protocol

Our chapter is initiating a broad review of our priorities and activities, and is developing a replicable protocol for evaluating the effectiveness and accountability of its committee-based program delivery. By regularly assessing its committee structure against its core mission and essential tasks, the chapter will use that information to allocate resources more effectively and determine a program of critical spaces required to position the chapter house as a productive tool for member service and community outreach.

39. Chapter Template

Many chapters struggle to communicate at the chapter level for various reasons. Geography and time are significant ones. Chapters that cover large distances and have few members are challenged even to meet on any regular basis with most of their members. This alone contributes to an inability to “connect” especially at the local level. Using online meeting technology will solve distant related connections. This proposal calls for a template to guide chapters in their efforts to connect at the local level and beyond.

42. Tier Coordination

Over the next year, the chapters in our state will collaborate together on the development of an organizational structure that preserves the unique character of the local chapters, while providing a more consistent level of resources, and bringing clarity for member access. By identifying redundancy, implementing streamlined processes and clarifying roles, we intend to eliminate the confusion that currently exists within the AIA tiers. Most importantly, we’ll share our strengths, collaborate together on new programming, and provide an adaptable model for chapters around the country.

60. Listening Tour

Our goal is to use the “old fashioned” model of the listening tour to invite meaningful engagement and participation from the membership in the future of our chapter. We have a twofold purpose: to invite increased or new participation in chapter activities; and to gather feedback that will help us shape the future allocation of limited chapter resources. We will build on the work begun by AIA National and the repositioning effort by engaging directly and personally the constituency of our local chapter, and adding detail and depth to the information gathered by AIA National. We will also to build on the work already begun by our own chapter during our board of directors retreat of October 2012 (partially funded by AIA National) where we identified a need for repositioning on a local level.

61. Meetings Support

The CACE Executives of our region, which includes several states, meet annually to share knowledge, experiences, ideas and to determine ways in which to work collaboratively on behalf of all the AIA members in the region. This meeting generates a closer communication and partnership between all of the state and local components in the region, strengthening the communal bond and allowing each component to support the others in their efforts to increase the value of member services and benefits. A Repositioning Innovation Grant would allow our region to continue this program and expand its effectiveness.

Emerging Professionals

11. Memorial Leadership Program

This year-long memorial leadership program is named for a member who was very active in programs and initiatives for emerging professionals. It prepares our chapter’s emerging professionals for future leadership role and consists of nine indvidual half-day sessions attended by approximlately 15 participants. Its curriculum focuses on core skills such as marketing and business development, office and firm management, presentation and public speaking, professional ethics, as well as the law, philanthropy, and board invovemnt, community service, and industry trends that affect firms.

13. ARE Study Stations

The initiative would create two dedicated work stations related to ARE study. Our chapter provides a basic in-person ARE Review Seminar Series and access to physical study materials, but feedback from participants in that series has indicated that access to online vignettes from Kaplan and NCARB would be an extremely beneficial study tool to helping our members prepare for the exams. To respond to this feedback, the initiative would provide two computer stations that would be fully equipped with all the online Kaplan vignettes for review by members completing the ARE exam process. Our chapter would allow test-taking members to sign up for times to come in and use the Kaplan ARE online supplemental study programs.

24. Engaging Emerging Professionals

The Emerging Professionals Engagement Plan is intended to engage emerging professionals through adding value to AIA membership, thus, further establishing AIA as an essential professional resource at all career stages. The plan includes methods of communication and education designed to enhance the role of AIA in assisting members along their chosen career path. Our goal is to initiate the program in phases at the state level prior to launching a model program at the national level in order to evaluate and revise the format and content as deemed necessary by the programs volunteer advisory committee.

40. Educational Series

With a focus on the object of leadership, the essence of the program is provided in a 10-month educational series to prepare emerging architects to become the leaders of their firms, the AIA and their communities. By our component’s participation and collaboration with the program’s founders from one of our local chapters, a prototype for rolling out this outstanding series will be produced. The process to generate the prototype will be created by adapting and imbedding it in local chapters. Then, using the lessons learned through this endeavor to formulate a manual that can be used by other components to repeat the successes the Program has achieved.

46. IDP Assistance

The precipitous decline in architectural licensure is due to a variety of factors, including the complexity of the licensure process. Currently, interns need 5,600 hours to satisfy IDP. Our chapter proposes the development of a program that can be adapted by AIA chapters throughout the U.S. to assist interns in receiving IDP hours through the AIA, as well as through their firms. After surveying local interns about the IDP process, it became clear that, for a large number of interns, there were significant impediments to completing required hours. Obstacles included: working for a firm without a licensed architect willing to serve as a mentor and/or working for a firm whose work is not conducive to meeting IDP requirements (i.e. a firm whose work is international in scope offers fewer chances for site visits.)

47. Competition Planning

This application includes a two‐part proposal to hold a design competition open to local and national emerging professionals, in conjunction with our local city government. This competition will directly engage with and assist the city in its vision for a target neighborhood. Phase 1 is a design charrette where teams of emerging professionals would engage the public to brainstorm ideas for transforming an existing suburban‐style neighborhood center, into a more vibrant, walkable, sustainable, live/work future, in support of their long-term plan. Phase 2 is a national design competition based on a focus topic drawn from the charette.

57. Mentor Program

In 2011, AIAS member and a local university student started a mentoring program with M.Arch.-level students that wanted to develop relationships with potential professional mentors. The program had only 12 participants in its first year, but had kindled an idea with a local associate AIA member, who set about adding AIA’s support and volunteer structure to the mentoring concept. This program connects all levels of membership in a pipeline development process that, if successful, will help diversify and engage students and connect them to a network of professionals.


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