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Posted on Wednesday, October 06, 2010 - 06:39 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

by Ralph Liebing, RA, CSI, CDT
Cincinnati, OH

“You can’t get a job without experience; and you can’t get experience without a job!”

“We can’t hire people who aren’t ready to be fully productive”-- most employers including architects, engineers ……………and specifications consultants.

“We educate people in a well-rounded manner, we can’t just prepare them for a job”-- most colleges and universities.

A true dilemma!

Let’s start with the reality that the design professions are complex, intricate, and so convoluted that it takes an extraordinary amount of time to really learn all of the work, at a functional level. In that, training and education is necessarily an on-going and concentrated body of work-- but necessary to even entry level expertise! You have got to have and know the fundamentals and the knowledge behind all of them so you can contribute to the actual work in the office! But the schools are so challenged in other aspects of their work, and the holistic education syndrome that having to make hard choices, professional education has been minimized in depth and extent-- so much so that graduates really ARE NOT prepared for the work place/offices. Some very bad choices were made!

So the architects [NCARB really] concocted the Intern Development Program [IDP] as the interim solution between graduate and one fully capable of addressing-- and passing-- the registration examination. From the start several parts of that program was rather ill-conceived, in that several requirements were just simply unrealistic and were not going to happen [in the vast majority of cases]. The reason is that the working offices were never approached [the state members of NCARB do as they please as regulators] embraced, updated and allowed to “buy in” about what their responsibility and part in the IDP would be-- not that they would have agreed, but with only minimal knowledge, the “surprise” never got the program far off the ground.

But that’s history that you all know. At this juncture, the problem is that this format no longer suffices and is in dire need of coordinated attention-- from the profession [i.e., the offices], schools and NCARB to revise, updated, modernize and make relevant the educational requirements and the part necessarily played by each entity. This fact is beyond thinking about! This situation needs work-- quickly, decisively and realistically-- ASAP!

It’s difficult to think about or accept the current state of things. When the professional challenges are growing [stable fees, tighter budgets, vacillating clients, increased regulations, greater complexity in projects, marginal work force, etc.] it is rather mind boggling that nothing is being done or prepared to upgrade and sharpen the professional effort. And that is NOT a computer or software issue! We need some dedicated people to look pragmatically at education and practice and how the entire sequence is conceived and how it should best work. It is not an office standards/policy or competitive thing; it is how a profession creates credibility and increases appropriate quality service and expertise at grass roots-- at the technical application of its expertise and results that provided intelligent solutions, well-constructed and serviceable to the community.

After all, isn’t that the essence of the standing law, i.e., “protection of public health, safety and welfare”? There is more depth and meaning to that than we are taking. Relaxing requirements for registration, more mere convenience for applicants and such are foolhardy when simple fundamentals, information about the whole of the profession and application of professional expertise and demeanor are not even sniffed at [most times] within the education and training-- maybe I missed the point that all those things are best gained through osmosis and absorption! Oh, maybe it really doesn’t matter if you ever achieve them or not!! Somebody else can do it!
James M. Sandoz, AIA, CSI, CCS, LEED AP
Senior Member
Username: jsandoz

Post Number: 73
Registered: 06-2005

Posted on Wednesday, October 06, 2010 - 10:02 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Well said, Ralph. It's not about WHO needs to do WHAT to educate and prepare the next generation. We ALL need to work TOGETHER to get it done. If not, your last sentence is all the more PAINFULLY true. To paraphrase, somebody else WILL do it and we may not like it.

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