New resolutions propel AIA forward in a time of change
The AIA Business Meeting for 2017 defined a values-driven approach to the Institute’s purpose, highlighting inclusiveness, credentialing, and the international housing crisis
AIA’s 160th Business Meeting laid bare a range of social, political, and humanitarian issues that promise to propel Institute programming—and its purpose—forward.
Several key resolutions echoed the 2017 conference theme in asking architects to anticipate the needs, changes, and challenges not only within their own businesses and design practices, but in their communities. Among the more substantial resolutions, a picture emerged of a membership committed to creating advantages for disenfranchised urban and rural poor as well as retired architects. A picture also emerged of an Institute willing to explore a specialty credentialing program that could create advantages for architects in the marketplace.
What follows is recap of the resolutions and their outcomes:
Resolution 17-1: Where Architects Stand: A Statement of Our Values, sponsored by the AIA Board of Directors, passed with 4436 votes in favor, and 90 votes against (with 16 abstentions). Responding to the nation’s “unprecedented challenges” the resolution’s sponsors adopted the text of a statement released by AIA this year in order to underscore the Institute’s foundational values, particularly in the areas of equity, human rights, architecture that strengthens communities, sustainability, climate awareness, and economic opportunity.
Resolution 17-2: Emeritus Membership—Proposed Amendments to the Institute Bylaws, sponsored by AIA California Council, passed with 4436 votes in favor, and 77 votes against (with 18 abstentions). The resolution’s sponsors sought Board support to amend pertinent sections of the Institute Bylaws regarding eligibility criteria for Emeritus Membership. Leading up to convention, the Bylaws required eligible members to have reached 70 years of age, be fully retired, and (in most cases) have maintained 15 successive years of membership. However, the resolution clears a path to admit retirees who were, previously, members for at least 25 non-successive years.
Resolution 17-3: Housing Humanity—Elevating the Human Experience, sponsored by AIA California Council (and co-authored by AIA Chicago and AIA Illinois), passed with 4358 votes in favor, and 86 votes against (with 70 abstentions). Citing the national and, indeed, international housing crisis, in addition to the “growing body of evidence linking poor health to a lack of adequate housing,” as well as the “comprehensive action” urged by the World Economic Forum, the American Hospital Association, and the Gates Foundation, among others, the resolution’s sponsors sought to “elevate the discussion and duty of the AIA to prioritize and develop a member engagement strategy” around the topic.
Resolution 17-4: Specialty Credentialing, sponsored by AIA California Council, passed with 2227 votes in favor, and 2096 votes against (with 187 abstentions). The resolution’s sponsors sought to establish “an inventory of principles and guidelines to shape development and implementation of Specialty Credentialing programs and activities.” Responding to “widespread” adoption of recognition programs that indicate the bearer’s special expertise in areas beyond the architect’s conventional purview as “a generalist and team leader,” the resolution posited that specialty credentialing in yet unnamed areas could “elevate the value of continuing education, while also expanding the definition of architecture and of architectural practice.” Jana Itzen, AIA, President of AIA California Council, proposed an amendment to the resolution such that the cost to earn a credential would be set in a way that allows the AIA to achieve its operational objectives without creating a barrier to credentialing based solely on individual financial resources. Sharon Day, AIA, President of AIA Baltimore proposed to further amend the resolution by adopting into its language four specific concerns raised by Carolyn Sponza, AIA, President of AIA DC, namely that credentialing could deepen the divide among specialist tracks within the profession; it could construct a barrier to entry for small or medium size firms in competing for certain types of work; clients, if not properly educated, might overlook other experience in favor of credentials; and, ultimately, credentialing could devalue the meaning of “AIA” as a stand-alone designation. Both amendments were accepted.
Resolution 17-5: Investigation of the Total Collapse of World Trade Center Building 7, sponsored by Daniel Barnum, FAIA, and 50 Members of the Institute, failed with 4113 votes against and 182 votes in favor (with 179 abstentions). The resolution’s sponsors questioned the conclusions offered by the National Institute of Standards and Technology in 2008 about the collapse of World Trade Center Building 7. They argued that the Institute should support “a new investigation into the total collapse of WTC7.”
- Bylaw Amendment 17-A: Appointment of Delegates addressed a question raised after a Bylaws amendment in 2015 opened the door for state organizations (other than statewide chapters) to form sections of the Institute. Amendment 17-A provided that, when a local chapter dissolves and becomes a section of a state organization, the dissolved chapter’s delegates are to be reallocated to the state organization. Bylaws Amendment 17-A passed with 4352 votes in favor, and 168 votes against (with 40 abstentions).
- Bylaw Amendment 17-B: Technical Amendments to the Institute Bylaws addressed some technical items resulting from the Institute’s continuing governance transition. Those items include eliminating references to the Public Director and Vice Presidents (both defunct positions), eliminating obsolete text related to the selection of At-large Directors, and eliminating references to Governance Policies, which no longer exist. Bylaws Amendment 17-B passed with 4535 votes in favor, and 8 votes against (with 24 abstentions).
Other resolutions of note
- Resolution 17-6: Appreciation to Retiring Strategic Council Representatives and Board Members passed by acclamation, with a clear majority saying aye.
- Resolution 17-7: Appreciation to Members, 50 years, passed by acclamation, with a clear majority saying aye.
- Resolution 17-8: Recognition of Newly Licensed Members passed by acclamation, with a clear majority saying aye.
- Resolution 17-9: Recognition of Component Executive and National Staff Service Anniversaries passed by acclamation, with a clear majority saying aye.
- Resolution 17-10: Appreciation to the Host Chapter passed by acclamation, with a clear majority saying aye.
- Resolution 17-11: Appreciation to Convention-related Committees passed by acclamation, with a clear majority saying aye.
- Resolution 17-12: Appreciation to Exhibitors passed by acclamation, with a clear majority saying aye.
- Resolution 17-13: Appreciation of Thomas Vonier, FAIA, and Françoise Vonier passed by acclamation, with a clear majority saying aye.