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New AIA Board Structure Approved at AIA Convention 2014

A key step in the Repositioning the AIA initiative, convention delegates gave final approval to a plan that restructures the Institute’s governance on Saturday, the last day of AIA Convention 2014 in Chicago. Bylaw amendments adopted by them will reduce the size of the Institute’s Board of Directors and augment the AIA’s governance structure by adding a new body, the Strategic Council, which will inform the Board and other Institute bodies of important professional issues.

These changes are designed to make the AIA’s leadership structure more nimble and better able to respond to the Institute’s challenges and opportunities. “This new governance structure will make sure the AIA can speak with a clearer voice, move quicker to address its members’ concerns, and better represent its membership,” said 2014 AIA President Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA. “It paves the way for more Repositioning the AIA efforts to take root, helping us better serve all AIA members.”

The AIA National Board will retain its current role: providing operational and fiduciary management of the Institute. However, its composition will be different. These changes will reduce the size of the Board from more than 50 to 16 or fewer members. It will be made up of:

  • Four Elected Officers (elected by the delegates at the annual convention)

    o AIA President (one-year term)

    o First Vice President/President-Elect (one-year term, then automatically succeeding to the Presidency)

    o Secretary (two-year term)

    o Treasurer (two-year term)

  • Six to Eight At-Large Directors

    o Three At-Large Directors elected by the delegates at the annual convention (three-year term)

    o Three At-Large Directors elected by the Strategic Council (three-year term)

    o As many as two At-Large Directors selected by the President but subject to Board approval (terms no longer than the selecting President’s term)

  • Associate Director (two-year term)
  • A CACE Director (one-year term)
  • A Student Director
  • The AIA’s EVP/Chief Executive Officer (a non-voting member)

All current AIA National Board members will be entitled to serve the entirety of their terms, but once their term has expired, or a member resigns, this position will be eliminated. This process could take as much as three years, but with early resignations, it may happen sooner. Any Board member resigning early will be offered a seat on the Strategic Council. Although the Board may include non-AIA members, at least five of the nine At-Large Directors will be Architect members. In addition, Architect members will always comprise a majority of all Board members.

The majority of positions eliminated from the Board will be the 35 current Regional Directors and four Vice Presidents. Likewise, the 11-member Executive Committee will eventually be phased out as total Board membership declines to fewer than 20, or as Executive Committee membership drops to fewer than seven. The Regional Directors, and certain other current Board positions, will migrate to the Strategic Council over the course of the transition.

The new AIA Strategic Council’s role will be to advise (but not bind) the Board, assembling goals and objectives, recommending public policy, reviewing operation plans and budgets, and disseminating information and insights. It can form committees and ad hoc work groups (subject to Board approval), and will determine its own leadership structure. The Strategic Council will be composed of:

  • Current and Former AIA Officers:

    o AIA President (one-year term)

    o AIA First Vice President/President-elect (one-year term, then automatically succeeding to the Presidency)

    o AIA Secretary (two-year term)

    o AIA Treasurer (two-year term)

    o AIA Immediate Past President (one-year term)

    o AIA EVP/Chief Executive Officer (a non-voting member)

  • Approximately 35 regional representatives (staggered three-year term). These representatives will be apportioned to the regions and selected by them much as Regional Directors are now selected for service on the Board.
  • An International Region Representative (three-year term)
  • An Associate Representative (term to be determined by the Board)
  • A Student Representative (term to be determined by the Board)
  • A CACE Representative (term to be determined by the Board)
  • 10 At-Large Representatives (staggered two-year term) chosen by the Council. Like At-Large Directors on the Board, At-Large Representatives to the council could be Architect members, Associate members, students, CACE representatives, or members of the public.

The Strategic Council will have no more than 60 members; the largest contingent will be composed of regional representatives who will represent their geographic areas proportionally. The AIA Board will determine the manner of selecting Council representatives for students, CACE, and Associates, and will have discretion to decide the length and structure of their terms.

“The Strategic Council will give us new ways to confront the future of the profession proactively, not reactively,” said AIA EVP/Chief Executive Officer Robert Ivy, FAIA. “It will look forward to investigate emerging issues in business, practice, and design that our members will be asking about in the months and years ahead. Cooperatively with the Board of Directors, it will promote a relevant strategic plan for our present and future needs.”

The AIA National Board began the process of governance change at its meeting in September 2013, and advanced it at its December meeting in Washington, D.C. This plan was also presented to AIA component leadership at the 2014 Grassroots Leadership and Legislative Conference in March. In April, the Board voted to present this proposal at the AIA Convention 2014. Now approved, these changes will install the new Strategic Council by 2015, when designated current and former AIA officers, as well as regional representatives, take their place on the Council. Associate, student, and CACE representatives are expected to join after that, and At-Large Strategic Council members will be named later in 2015, after the Council is largely intact.

 

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