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FAIA FAQ

Updated April 18, 2014

This document contains the most frequently asked questions about the Fellowship submission process. It is intended to serve as a supplement to the submission instructions and will be updated periodically. Additional questions may be directed to honorsawards@aia.org .

Deadline date is October 17, 2014 before 5:00 pm Eastern Time

ELIGIBILITY

Who is eligible?

    • Architect members who are in good standing in the Institute and in their assigned components, and who have been in good standing as an Architect member for not less than ten years (by the Fellowship submission deadline) may be nominated for Fellowship.

    • The ten-year requirement is based on cumulative not consecutive years of membership.

    • Years as an Associate AIA do not count towards the ten year requirement for Fellowship.

    • Members Emeritus are eligible to be nominated for Fellowship.

    • The nominee must have completed 10 cumulative years as an AIA architect member prior to the nomination deadline (i.e., 10 years prior to October 17, 2014). If uncertainties exist about the period of membership, and after consulting with the local chapter, please contact Membership History to verify the nominee’s eligibility before preparing the submission.

What is the definition of "a member in good standing" for Fellowship?

    • Members who have paid all dues and other obligations due to the Institute and to the component organizations to which they are assigned.

    • Members must be current in their Continuing Education (CE) requirements as of December 31 of the previous calendar year. To find your transcript visit https://myces.aia.org/

    • A member Emeritus is not required to pay dues nor meet the CE requirements.

    • Members under suspension for violation of the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct are not in good standing.

What are the roles of a nominator and a sponsor?

    • Each candidate must be nominated by either their assigned component or by a petition signed by any 5 Fellows in good standing or any 10 AIA members in good standing.

    • The component nomination requires only that the component president or secretary signs the nomination statement; no formal letter is required.

    • If nominated by petition, each member in good standing must print and sign their name on the petition form and print their member number. In addition, the nominee's component must be notified of the petition nomination.

    • The nomination provides an indication to the jury that a body or group of members feels confident that the candidate meets the criteria for Fellowship.

    • In addition, each candidate must be sponsored by either an FAIA or AIA member in good standing. Associate members, Honorary members and/or Honorary Fellows cannot serve as a sponsor. The sponsor provides a one-page letter of introduction to the jury that includes specific reasons why the candidate deserves to be a Fellow.

JURY PROCESS

Who are the members serving on this year's jury?


The 2015 Jury of Fellows is comprised of the following Fellows:

John Castellana, FAIA – Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Chair
TMP Architecture, Inc.

Steve Crane, FAIA – Salt Lake City
VCBO

Brian Dougherty, FAIA – Costa Mesa, California
Dougherty + Dougherty Architects, LLP

Diane Georgopulos, FAIA – Cambridge, Massachusetts
Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency

Mary Katherine (Mary Kay) Lanzillotta, FAIA – Washington, DC
Hartman Cox Architects

Kenneth Schwartz, FAIA – New Orleans
Tulane University

Donald T. Yoshino, FAIA – Boca Raton, Florida
Yoshino Architecture, PA

When will the jury meet?

    • The Jury of Fellows will meet at Institute headquarters from January 24 – January 28, 2015.

When will I know the jury's decision?

    • All Fellowship candidates and their sponsors will be notified by email of the jury’s decisions on or before Monday, February 2, 2015. The national AIA Board of Directors, College of Fellows Executive Committee, College of Fellows Regional Representatives, and component executives will be notified after the candidates and sponsors have been notified.

Why does it take so long between the submission deadline and notification date?

    • Once the Fellowship submittals are uploaded on the Web site, the Honors and Awards staff must verify that each candidate, sponsor, and all AIA member reference writers are members in good standing. Staff then must file all of the reference letters into the appropriate candidates' file.

    • Upon completion of the administrative check-in procedures, a list of all of the eligible Fellowship candidates is compiled and distributed to the AIA National Board of Directors and to the College of Fellows Executive Committee. Although these two groups are prohibited from serving as a sponsor or reference for any Fellowship candidate while they are in office, they may, if they wish, write an unsolicited letter of support on behalf of any candidate whose name appears on the candidate list. These letters are usually due back to the Institute in the first week of December. The letters are then filed in the appropriate candidates' file.

    • The list of candidates is then distributed to the jury by mid-December. The jury has from mid-December to mid-January to complete their review just prior to the jury meeting at the end of January/first of February. Notification to sponsors and candidates is emailed no later than one week following the jury deliberations.

How does the jury work?

    • In mid-December, each juror is given a list for one-seventh of the Fellowship candidates to review in-depth in advance of the jury meeting (usually about 33-35 candidates each). In addition, each juror can view the Section 1 Summary in its entirety for each Fellowship candidate (usually about 225-250 candidates each year) which provides a brief overview of every candidate that will be reviewed in January/February.

    • The candidates are divided randomly among the jurors. No juror will review any candidate from their region, whether they know the candidate or not. No juror will review any candidate who is related to them or from their firm (in fact they cannot be in the jury room when the discussion and voting takes place). No juror will review the same candidate more than once. This means that if a candidate is submitting in consecutive years, each year they will be individually reviewed by a different juror.

    • At the jury meeting, each candidate is presented in depth by the juror who reviewed their submittal until all candidates have been reviewed. While the juror is making the presentation, the other jurors are viewing the submittal on their laptops.

    • The presenting juror will draw the jurors' attention to things that either support or do not support the claims of achievement made in the sponsor's letter or in the candidate's Section 1 Summary statement. They will point out if reference letters are exceptionally good, whether they are on point and supportive of the achievements, if they are general and not specific in nature, or if there are any letters missing. Once the presentation is made, the presenting juror will accept questions from the jury, and then make a recommendation to the jury as to whether the candidate should be elevated to Fellow. The jury will then have a discussion and vote on the candidate.

    • Although the jury often agrees with the presenting juror's recommendation, there is no guarantee that the recommendation will be accepted by the jury. There have been instances when a juror recommended elevation and the jury did not agree, and there have been instances when a juror recommended that a candidate not be elevated and the remaining jurors overruled that recommendation.

    • The entire presentation and discussion process usually takes about 10 minutes per candidate. Therefore, it is critical that the candidate's presentation be succinct, clear, and concise and that all claims of achievement made in the sponsor letter and in Section 1 Summary are substantiated somewhere in the submission with supporting documentation, evidence, or letters of reference.

What are the jury’s recommendations for next year’s submissions?

    • Do not use anything smaller than a 10 point font.

    • Do not use a light typeface.

    • The narrative for each of your exhibits should address three things: 1) what was the challenge presented to you; 2) what was your role; and 3) what was the resolution or outcome?

    • Please add page numbers.

    • Submissions should be no more than 40 pages including exhibits.

What does the jury look for when reviewing a candidate?

    • Generally, the jury is looking for acknowledgement that a candidate's achievements have affected or influenced the profession on a broad scale. This form of acknowledgement may be shown in different ways depending on the candidate's category of nomination, including, but not limited to the examples noted below.

    Category One — “To promote the aesthetic, scientific, and practical efficiency of the profession”. Design, Urban Design, or Preservation

    Fellowship in this category is granted to architects who have produced distinguished bodies of work through design, urban design, or preservation. This may be accomplished through individual or organizational effort. Works submitted may be of any size for any client, of any scope and reflecting any type of architectural design service.


    -Documentation that the nominee has been Largely Responsible for Design of the work displayed in the Section 3 Exhibits.
    -Strong support of the nominee's contributions in the sponsor letter.
    -Award recognition of nominee's work—national, regional, state, and local awards. Of particular interest are AIA awards and awards from other design-focus organizations depending on the nominee's design focus (interior design, urban design, preservation) and other industry awards.
    -Publication of nominee's work—of particular interest are architectural journals, related design publications, and recognition beyond nominee's immediate locale.
    -Sharing of nominee's expertise through design juries, teaching, lecturing, speaking, writing, national media coverage.
    -AIA activities—committees chaired and offices held.
    -Civic/community involvement—leadership roles held.
    -Reference letters that are from geographic area beyond nominee's area, speak specifically to nominee's contributions, and are from other recognized design peers/experts in the same field as nominee.

    Category Two — “To advance the science and art of planning and building by advancing the standards of architectural education, training, and practice”. Education, Research, Literature, or Practice (with the option of a subcategory of Management or Technical Advancement)

    Fellowship in this category is granted to architects who have made notable contributions through their work in education, research, literature, or the practice of architecture. Work in education may be teaching, research, administration, or writing and should have a lasting impact, be widely recognized, and provide inspiration to others in the field and the profession. Research areas may include building codes and standards, specifications, new material applications, or inventions. Practice includes firm management, administration, and project management or specialty areas (specific building types, technical expertise).

    -Strong support of the nominee's contributions in the sponsor letter.
    -Appropriate award recognition of nominee's work—national, regional, state, and local awards. Of particular interest are awards related to the candidate's particular focus. For instance, for education the jury would expect to see higher education institution teaching awards; other applicable national awards from AIA, ACSA, AIAS; grants received, etc. For research, national, regional, and local award recognition for research leadership or research awards or grants received would be of interest to the jury. For literature, appropriate literature awards and national, regional, and local awards and recognition of the nominee's literature strengths. For practice, the jury would expect to see national, regional, and local awards and recognition of the nominee's strengths in firm management, specific project type expertise, etc.
    -Publication of nominee's work —of particular interest are architectural journals, publications directly related to their field of expertise, and recognition beyond nominee's immediate locale.
    -Sharing of nominee's expertise through juries, teaching, lecturing, speaking, writing, national media coverage. For practice in particular, jury members are looking for ways in which the nominee has shared his/her expertise beyond the firm and influenced or advanced the profession.
    -AIA activities—committees chaired and offices held.
    -Civic/community involvement —leadership roles held.
    -Reference letters that are from geographic area beyond nominee's area, speak specifically to nominee's contributions, and are from other recognized peers/experts in the same field as nominee. For those in education, letters can be from colleagues who can attest to your work but are at an “arm’s length” relationship. They should not be from architects you have hired.

    Category Three — “To coordinate the building industry, and the profession of architecture”. Led the Institute, Led a Related Organization

    Fellowship in this category is granted to architects who have actively, efficiently, and cooperatively led the Institute or a related professional organization over a sustained period of time and have gained widespread recognition for the results of their work.

    -Strong support of the nominee's contributions in the sponsor letter.
    -AIA activities—committees chaired, offices held, initiatives originated and led by nominee; results of leadership and offices held. Or, if nominee is leading a related organization the jury needs to know not only what the nominee accomplished for the other organization but how their contribution affected the architecture profession and benefited AIA members.
    -Appropriate award recognition of nominee's work —national, regional, state, and local certificates of appreciation, service, and commendation awards. Of particular interest are awards or other documentation that reflect the nominee's leadership skills and widespread results.
    -Publication of nominee's work—of particular interest are national, regional, and local publications of the nominee's efforts/results in leading the Institute or related organization and benefits to AIA members.
    -Sharing of nominee's expertise through teaching, lecturing, speaking (particularly at other AIA components, conventions, or committees), writing, national media coverage.
    -Civic/community involvement—leadership roles held.
    -Reference letters that are from geographic area beyond nominee's area, speak specifically to nominee's contributions, and are from other recognized leaders qualified to verify the nominee's significant contributions in leading the Institute, the related organization and how AIA members benefited.

    Category Four—To ensure the advancement of the living standards of people through their improved environment”. Public Service, Government, Industry or Organization

    Fellowship in this category is granted to architects who have made notable contributions in public service or work in government or industry organizations through leadership in the development of civic improvements and needed governmental projects, including such elements as conservation, beautification, “land-use regulation, transportation, or the removal of blighted areas, or who have clearly raised the standards of professional performance in these areas by advancing the administration of professional affairs in their fields.

    -Strong support of the nominee's contributions in the sponsor letter.
    -National, regional, and local recognition of the nominee's efforts in Public Service or work in Government or Industry Organization through initiatives originated and led by nominee; results of leadership and offices/positions held. The nominee must also demonstrate that their achievements were beyond the normal expectations of their job. The benefit to the AIA must be documented.
    -Appropriate award recognition of nominee's work—national, regional, state, and local certificates of appreciation, service, and commendation awards. Of particular interest are awards or other documentation that reflect the nominee's leadership skills and widespread results.
    -Publication of nominee's work—of particular interest are national, regional, and local publications highlighting the nominee's efforts/results in the public service or government/industry organization and benefits to the profession or AIA members.
    -Sharing of nominee's expertise through teaching, lecturing, speaking, writing, national media coverage.
    -AIA activities—committees chaired and offices held.
    -Civic/community involvement—leadership roles held and results achieved.
    -Reference letters that are from geographic area beyond nominee's area, speak specifically to nominee’s contributions, and are from other recognized leaders qualified to verify the nominee's significant contributions in the public service or government/industry organization. They can be from colleagues who can attest to your work but are at an “arm’s length” relationship.

    Category Five—“To make the profession of ever-increasing service to society”. Alternative Career, Volunteer Work with Organizations Not Directly Connected with the Built Environment, or Service to Society

    Fellowship in this category is granted to architects who have made notable contributions to the public through alternative careers or volunteer work with organizations not directly connected to the built environment. Achievements may also be of a kind that transcends the other categories for advancement to serve society or humanity in a unique and important manner.

    -Strong support of the nominee's contributions in the sponsor letter.
    -Documentation that the nominee is a nationally recognized leader in the alternative career and how the contributions affect or influence the profession. If nominee is contributing through volunteer work, it must be made evident to the jury how the nominee's contributions are important because the nominee is an architect as opposed to a volunteer who's a banker, businessman, etc., and it must be clear that the nominee is truly volunteering architectural expertise and not gaining commissions through the volunteer service. Achievements may also be of a kind that transcends the other categories for advancement by being nominated for achievements in all of the objects.
    -Appropriate award recognition of nominee's work—national, regional, state, and local certificates of appreciation, service, and commendation awards. Of particular interest are awards or other documentation that reflect the nominee's leadership skills and widespread results in the alternative career or volunteer work.
    -Publication of nominee's work—of particular interest are national, regional, and local publications of the nominee's efforts/results in the alternative career or volunteer organization and benefits to the AIA and/or its members.
    -Sharing of nominee's expertise through teaching, lecturing, speaking, writing, national media coverage.
    -AIA activities—committees chaired and offices held.
    -Civic/community involvement—leadership roles held.
    -Reference letters that are from geographic area beyond nominee's area, speak specifically to nominee's contributions, and are from other recognized leaders qualified to verify the nominee's significant contributions in the alternative career or the volunteer organization.

How many votes are required to be elevated to Fellow?

    • It takes a minimum of four positive votes in favor of the candidate to become a Fellow.

    • There are seven jurors but only six jurors vote for each candidate. There is always one juror who sits out on the discussion and voting. This is either the juror from the region or firm of the candidate being reviewed, or it is the juror scheduled to present the next candidate.

    • If there is a tie vote on a candidate, that candidate’s submission is put aside and discussed again at the end of the jury deliberations along with any other tie votes. If after another discussion the vote does not change to at least four positive votes in favor of the candidate, then that candidate is not elevated to Fellowship.

Are there quotas?

    • There are no quotas that must be met.

    • The jury may elevate all, some, or none of the candidates presented in any category, from any component, or from any state or region.

    • There are no limits as to how many Fellows may be elevated in any given year or in any category.

What were the general comments from the jury this year regarding the submissions?

The jury had several comments/suggestions for members submitting in the future:

    • Make your presentation precise, clear, and focused.

    • Keep your submission to 40 pages or less; anything over that usually begins to lose focus.

    • Number your pages and please don’t use anything smaller than 10 point font.

    • DO look at the Best Examples.

    • Please put your most recent projects first.

    • In the exhibit section, get attributions and language correct – don’t use words such as “listed above” - and please DO NOT forget signatures as the submission will be disqualified without them.

    • Concise does not necessarily mean sparse.

    • We are NOT your friend; you must prove your case.

    • List education that’s relevant, not where you went to high school.

    • Make it readable; bullet points help to break up text.

    • Make sure to list your local chapter.

    • Include your sponsor letter as part of your submission. Submissions without a sponsor letter will be disqualified beginning with the 2014 submission cycle.

Things that are problematic

    • Use of acronyms. Write them out with the acronym in parenthesis

    • Overwriting your summary statement with “first” “renaissance”, whatever, You will be measured by this statement.

GENERAL FORMAT

Must a candidate lay out the presentation exactly as provided on the forms?

    • Nominees may reformat the pages but must provide the information requested in the exact order that it is requested in the submission.

    • If nominees want ideas as to different ways to present their credentials, samples of successful submissions (our Best Examples) may be accessed here: Best Examples of Fellowship Nominations.

Can a candidate input documents or information to the submittal as time permits?

    • Yes. Changes can be made up until the deadline as stated on the Fellowship page of our site.

SPONSORS

Who can and cannot serve as a sponsor?

    • Sponsors must be FAIA or AIA members in good standing.

    • Members Emeritus can serve as a sponsor.

    • Current members of the National AIA Board of Directors or the College of Fellows Executive Committee cannot serve as sponsors. Current members of the Jury of Fellows or Honorary Fellows or those who served on the Jury of Fellows within the last three years cannot serve as sponsors nor can national or component staff.

Can the sponsor be from the candidate's firm?

    • Yes, but if you select a sponsor that is from your firm, then it is best if you do not have anyone else from your firm serving as a reference writer.

Is it better if the sponsor is an FAIA member?

    • Fellowship support is important. However, even more important is to select a sponsor that knows you and your accomplishments well. It will do you no good to have an FAIA serve as your sponsor if they cannot speak directly and specifically to your achievements and the impact you have had on the profession.

Does the sponsor have to be from your component?

    • No, but you should select someone who will be able to meet with you and review your submission on a regular basis. The internet does make it possible for sponsors to receive documents and critique submission materials from afar, but if you use this method, please make sure that the sponsor receives a copy of the entire submission for review before you submit it to the jury. At least one cover-to-cover review will make it possible for the sponsor and/or the candidate to notice any discrepancies throughout the submission.

Can a member serve as a sponsor for more than one candidate?

    • Yes, but you should be sure that the sponsor will have the time necessary to devote to assisting you with your submission in addition to any other candidate(s).

    A person may sponsor more than one candidate but make sure they have the necessary time to devote to assisting you with your submission in addition to any others. It is not looked upon negatively but the jury will notice when this is the case and may question the value of the sponsor’s word if they are praising too many people as “the best” or “most qualified” candidate up for elevation.

Does the sponsor have to write a new letter each year?

    • No, the sponsor letter is good for three consecutive submissions. You can certainly change it by changing the name to the current jury chair if you like but that is not necessary. If you do make changes to your submission, however, it is wise to review the sponsor letter to ensure that it still contains accurate statements that support the claims made in the submission.

Can a second or third year candidate change sponsors?

    • Yes, candidates may change sponsors but they would also have to make changes on their Section 1 Summary Page and have it newly signed by the chapter president. If the new sponsor was originally one of the reference writers, second year candidates may secure a different reference writer and on the reference list where the original name was listed, they would insert after the new person's name "replaces (name) who is now serving as sponsor".  This is the ONLY time a reference writer can be replaced. Reference letters from the original letter writer can be updated and substituted in the candidates file for 2nd and 3rd year candidates. (See Reference Section.)

Is there a maximum number of sponsors a candidate may have?

    • Do not confuse a sponsor with a reference writer. You must be sponsored by either an AIA or FAIA member in good standing to assist you as you go through this process.

    First year candidates are required to obtain seven reference letters, five of which must have an AIA designation (AIA, FAIA, Honorary AIA, Honorary FAIA, Associate AIA, or Int’l Assoc. AIA); second and third year candidates are allowed and strongly encouraged to obtain three additional references with no restriction on having an AIA designation.

How do we know that someone we want to select as our sponsor is in good standing?

    • They should know if they are in good standing or you can contact Member Services, 800-AIA-DUES for assistance.

How should a sponsor write their letter? Expanding on how great someone is obviously, but how much detail should they include? Should it be like the summary page?

    • The sponsor letter is the first item in your submission package. It should be an introduction of you to the jury explaining who you are and what your claims are – touching on your Summary of Achievements and reasons why you should be elevated to Fellowship. This will be the first item in your PDF file smaller than 10 MB.

SECTION 3: EXHIBITS

Are original photographs necessary or are digital prints acceptable?

    • Only digital images are acceptable. The image upload information can be found on the submission site.  Unclear images do not help any candidate's case but high resolution photos will not be permitted.

Can more than one photo be shown on a page?

    • Photo collage exhibits are acceptable but it is important that there are not too many images on a page or images that are too small for the jury to discern important details.

Can a multi-page news article or document be submitted as one exhibit?

    • A multi-page document should be summarized (with proper credit) and then uploaded as one exhibit. Candidates must provide a synopsis of the article or document on the descriptive data sheet. Candidates may submit no more than three publications to substantiate claims made in their submittal. These will be uploaded on the submission site as well. No hard copy materials will be accepted.

If a candidate is not submitting in the design category, do they still need to show project images?

    • All candidates are expected to show some project work, whether their own, their firm’s or in the case of educators who do not practice, their students' work. However, the important thing to remember is that most of the exhibits for categories 2-5 should be relevant to the category of nomination and provide supportive documentation of the candidate's achievements as it relates to the category of nomination. All exhibits should substantiate the results that have been claimed in the sponsor letter or in the candidate's Section 1 Summary statements.

I want to submit an article as an exhibit. Do I need to include a Declaration of Responsibility?

    • If the article is clearly identified as being written by a particular individual then no declaration statement is needed as it would already be clear as to the individual's role.

Can a multi-phase project count as two projects in the exhibit section or one?

    • A multi-phase project should only be considered as more than one exhibit if the separate buildings have been recognized separately for their design achievements. However, if the entire project is recognized as one singular project, despite the multiple buildings, then breaking it into more than one exhibit would weaken the submission.

Can I use a project that is still under construction as an exhibit?

    • A candidate must exhibit no fewer than 5 completed projects and may exhibit a project under construction if they have already met the built requirements. However, an unbuilt project as an exhibit would only be recommended if it is illustrating a type of progression/innovation in the candidate’s work.

Can a current member of the AIA National Board of Directors sign off on an exhibit?

    • There is nothing that prohibits Board members, component staff, or College of Fellows Executive Committee members from signing a Declaration of Responsibility. In some instances, they would be the only individual who would have the inside information to verify the candidate’s claims.

Can I use a letter that is not one of my references as part of an exhibit?

    • Candidates should not include letters in the exhibit section.

Can I submit a book or publication as an exhibit?

    • In an effort towards reducing carbon footprints and maintaining environmentally friendly and sustainable methods of sharing resources we will no longer be accepting hard copies of supplemental materials.

    Books and/or written materials (not exceeding three exhibits) in the form of a PDF file may be submitted for nominees whose practice has not involved construction. A one-page project synopsis (Descriptive Data Sheet) must be provided for each written exhibit and the synopsis must be uploaded in the Section 3: Exhibits portion of the submission. Firm brochures are not acceptable. Links to your website containing a publication that may be too large to submit are acceptable as long as they are clearly related to your object of nomination.

How do I sign an exhibit?

Signatures can be scanned and placed with the appropriate exhibit.

SECTION 4: REFERENCES

Who can and cannot serve as a reference?

    • Members Emeritus can serve as a reference.

    • Any AIA, FAIA, Honorary AIA, Honorary FAIA, Associate AIA, or Int’l Assoc. AIA member in good standing can serve as a reference EXCEPT:
    -Current Officers, Officers-elect, and Regional Directors of the National AIA Board of Directors or current members of the College of Fellows Executive Committee cannot serve as references (see information below about unsolicited letters of support). Members of the current Fellows Jury, members of the Honorary Fellows Jury, the Institute Secretary, and Institute Secretary-elect may not be a reference for three years after completion of their terms of service. National or Component staff cannot serve as references even if they are AIA, FAIA, Honorary AIA, Honorary FAIA, Associate AIA, or Int’l Assoc. AIA members.

    • Exactly seven reference letters are required for first-year nominees; three additional references are allowed and strongly encouraged for second- and third-year nominees. These letters must be one-page, written on company letterhead (use personal stationary for retired or Emeritus members), signed, and electronically submitted as a PDF attachment with the candidate’s name in the subject line to honorsawards@aia.org. Hard copy letters WILL NOT be accepted.

    • For first-year candidates, five of the references must be AIA members in good standing. Be sure those five references are identified as " AIA”, “FAIA” , “Honorary AIA”, “Honorary FAIA”, “Associate AIA”, or “Int’l Assoc. AIA” members.

Can an individual be a reference for more than one candidate?

    • Yes, but it is best if they are not already writing for several candidates, especially candidates who are in the same category of nomination. Otherwise, if they write for too many candidates, their word becomes less valued if they are writing to say that everyone is great, or an exceptional leader, etc.

Can you include more than the required number of references on your Section 4 Reference list to ensure that you end up with the required number of letters for your submission?

    • NO. In the first year you must have exactly seven references, no more, no less. If you list eight or nine thinking if one of the first seven does not send a letter you can use one of the others, you will be wrong. The jury will only review the first seven names on the list. The same goes for the second- and third-year candidates. List only the number of references that you are allowed (Total of 7 references for first year; 10 for second year; 13 for third year).

Are additional or unsolicited letters of support allowed?

    Unsolicited letters of support will be accepted only from Current Officers, Officers-elect, and Regional Directors of the National AIA Board of Directors or the College of Fellows Executive Committee. They will receive a list of all Fellowship candidates, which will identify the candidate's component and category of nomination, and they may write on behalf of as many candidates as they choose. These are unsolicited letters. PLEASE DO NOT ask these members to write on your behalf.

    • The Institute Secretary and Secretary-elect are not eligible to write unsolicited letters of support.

    • All other letters received from individuals not listed on the reference list will not be filed in the candidate's nomination materials nor reviewed by the jury.

Will a late, two-page, or missing reference letter automatically disqualify a candidate for Fellowship?

    • A late, two-page, or missing reference letter, in and of itself, will not automatically disqualify or prevent a candidate from receiving a full jury review nor prevent them from being elevated to Fellowship. If, however, the jury has questions about a candidate's qualifications, or a claimed achievement that has not been substantiated, the jury may argue that the missing reference letter might have contained the documentation that the jury needed to complete its evaluation. In that event, the jury could deny someone from being elevated to Fellowship in that year.

In a consecutive resubmission, can a reference writer submit an updated reference letter?

    • A reference may rewrite an original reference letter for 2nd and 3rd year candidates. The reference writer should indicate in the subject line of the email that this is a replacement letter so the staff will know to replace the old letter from the previous year with the new one.

To whom should reference letters be addressed?

This year’s reference letters should be addressed to Craig Rafferty, FAIA, Chair, Jury of Fellows. Letters should be one-page, written on company letterhead, signed, and electronically submitted as a PDF attachment with the candidate’s name in the subject line to honorsawards@aia.org no later than October 18, 2013 before 5:00 pm Eastern Time.

It is helpful if the candidate's full name is identified in a reference line before the salutation as shown below:

    Re: Candidate Name
    Dear Mr/Ms. (Chair’s Last Name):
    Text of letter
    Closing and signature

Do not contact the AIA to ascertain if reference letters have been received. The volume is too great to determine which letters have been received during the open submission timeframe through the deadline. Request that your reference writers forward their email confirmation receipts to you and/or your sponsor to track this information or ask that the reference letter writer add the sponsor’s e-mail address in the cc line of your e-mail. We hit “reply all” which gives the sponsor the information they need to have when following up with the reference letter writers.

How long are reference letters kept on file?

    • Reference letters are confidential. They are kept on file for the next consecutive year along with the three new reference letters but only if the candidate submits in a consecutive year. Any remaining letters on file once that year's candidate reference letters have been filed will be destroyed if the candidate does not resubmit in the consecutive year.

    • Candidates who decide to sit out one or more years before resubmitting must start over as a first-year candidate and must secure seven new reference letters. Candidates may retain the same individuals as reference writers but the references must submit new letters dated with the current year of nomination.

PLEASE TAKE TWO MINUTES, BEFORE THE 5:00 EASTERN TIME DEADLINE, TO REVIEW YOUR FINAL SUBMISSION.

 

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