Issues & AdvocacyIssues & Advocacy
Architects as Leaders: AIA Western Massachusetts Pilots a Successful New Graduate Course
AIA Western Massachusetts partnered with the University of Massachusetts – Amherst to help fill a gap in graduate architecture training. The Chapter used AIA National’s Component Assistance Leadership Grant to help support a semester-long course that covered theoretical and practical frameworks of civic and professional leadership.
Kerry L. Dietz, AIA – a citizen architect, taught the course. Dietz is the owner of one of the most successful firms in the region, and a long-term leader within the AIA. She was supported by Steve Schreiber, FAIA, Professor and Director of the U.MA Architecture+Design program, also a civically engaged WMAIA board member. Highly respected special guests included citizen architects Margo Jones, AIA – current secretary of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards – and Greg Neffinger, who is now Mayor of West Springfield.
“This was one of the best classes I took as a student,” says Jason Newman, now Architectural Associate with Dietz & Company Architects, Inc. “In addition to the topics covered by the curriculum, the course increased my confidence as a young professional and provided a great transition from the classroom to the office.”
“Architects as Leaders” supported 12 graduate students and two experienced members of AIAWM who offered a unique perspective. Participants learned about local government, assessed their strengths and weaknesses, and refined their public speaking skills.
“As an architect who has practiced 20 years, I found the experience rewarding, challenging, and a great place to expand my leadership skills,” commented Blake Williams, AIA on his experience as a student in the class. “This course should be required in architecture schools across the country.”
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