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Thread: AICP's continuing education program needs to be fixed

  1. #1
    Cyburbian PlannerByDay's avatar
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    AICP's continuing education program needs to be fixed

    Not sure if this is the right place for this.

    Has anyone read this editorial from Planetizen.

    Will APA/AICP change things.
    ___________________________

    AICP's Continuing Education Program Needs To Be Fixed
    SOURCE http://www.plan etizen.com/node/29996
    6 March 2008 - 5:00am

    The new continuing education program set up by the American Planning Association's American Institute of Certified Planners is an unfair system that will prevent AICP-certified planners from getting affordable, high-quality education.

    This essay is written on behalf of a growing number of planning education providers who are being harmed by the American Institute of Certified Planners' Certification Maintenance (CM) program.

    We consider the CM program to be predatory, confiscatory, unfair and inequitable. In this essay, we address each allegation. We offer an alternative that has proven to be non-predatory, non-confiscatory, fair, and equitable – and which facilitates the expansion of in-depth professional education opportunities.
    Moderator note:
    Please do not copy and post a full article -- from any source -- in order to help us avoid any possible copyright violations. Thanks, and carry on! ~Gedunker
    Last edited by Gedunker; 06 Mar 2008 at 5:37 PM.

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    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Thanks for posting that. I know many people expressed similar reservations to APA when they asked for input regarding the development of the CM requirements. APA seemed to ignore those concerns then and I suspect they will continue to do so.

    I recently attended a 8 hour training on managing and regulating shoreline areas. Seems like the exact sort of thing a planner should be attending but of course no CM credits for that one since the fee was nominal as the goal was to help rather than make money. I learned more applicable skills in that training than any CM accredited sessions I have ever attended.

    Until recently I was never in a position where my employer could send me to conferences and APA is doing all of those planners that work in public service for poorer (generally more rural) jurisdictions a HUGE diservice. I know people who are in positions like that and have decided that it is impossible for them to continue to be AICP because of the unfair CM system.

    Even though I am AICP I hope that the ultimate result of this is a disbanding of the current AICP program - IMO it does nothing to help the profession.

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    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    I am currently not certified and based on the whole CM thing, I'm definitely going to wait and see what happens with this before I take the test.

    Based on this report, one wonders if the goal of APA/AICP with the CM program is to actually reduce the number of AICP members so that those who still remain are that much more marketable.

    Overall, for a profession which is constantly challenged to legitimize itself among architects, engineers, etc., it appears this CM thing is doing a great disservice.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Plan-it's avatar
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    AICP Certificate Maintenance Protest

    It appears as though there is a protest movement going on concerning the fairness of APAs new CM requirements for AICP members. They have also stated an on-line petition to gather support for altering the requirements. One of the originators of the protest is one of my favorite professiors from grad school. I thought some of you may be interested in what is happening. I hope it is OK to link to another planning related site.

    http://www.plan etizen.com/node/29996
    Satellite City Enabler

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    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    [QUOTE=Plan-it;427955]It appears as though there is a protest movement going on concerning the fairness of APAs new CM requirements for AICP members. They have also stated an on-line petition to gather support for altering the requirements. One of the originators of the protest is one of my favorite professiors from grad school. I thought some of you may be interested in what is happening. I hope it is OK to link to another planning related site.

    Moderator note:
    Threads merged.


    Petition signed. Not anonymously.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 10 Mar 2008 at 10:55 PM.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  6. #6
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    I signed the petition. Page 2, 1/3 of the way from the top.

  7. #7

    AICP-another rip off

    I'm a member of AICP and I wil probably give it up after this year. I am doing a poster session at the conference and that is the only reason I am going to Las Vegas. My agency is not sending anyone who is not involved in putting on a session. Its too expensive to fly all of us from the east coast to Vegas. Like all public agencies we have some budget constraints.

    When I registered for the conference this year, they give you a choice to either register for each individual session or just the confrence as a whole. When you do each session, APA adds up your CM credits for you, I am getting about 16 credits for the conference. My conclusion is that if you go to the conference each year then yo will be able to keep your AICP. I would recommend that you read the following article in Planetizen http://www.plan etizen.com/node/29996. which explains why Virginia Tech, which has a lot of planning courses has refused to pay the fees to register the course.

    APA is out to make money and I'm not sure what it does for me, except send me a magazine once a month. I probably won't go to the conference next year and I think I'm going to give up my AICP. I got something about 6-months ago by email from someone offering a different professional certification w/o all the crap that APA makes you go through. I should have saved it. I ahve vented enough today...

  8. #8
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Add your name to the petition. Grow some cajones; don't sign "anonymous." BTW, you don't have to pay to add your name. Skip that screen and don't fall for that BS.

  9. #9
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    I appear in the mid-300s, and yes, my name is there for all of the world to see. The executive committee of our APA section is preparing a formal letter as well. I also understand some of the national divisions are taking similar action. APA national may be looking at an insurrection.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

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    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    100 Please come take my AICP for daring to criticize APA. I relish a public fight.

    One other thought. I pay for 4 planners APA memberships and my own AICP out of our budget. I am seriously considering striking the organization's payment of their dues as a way to send a message. Only one member of our staff might consider paying out of pocket if they lost that benefit. I would use the money saved to send them to various training opportunties as long as not one dime of that money went to APA.
    Last edited by el Guapo; 11 Mar 2008 at 1:11 AM.

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    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    I am also a non-anonymous AICP signer of the petition. I won't be renewing either my APA or AICP membership again unless there is a sea change at APA. There's no lack of non-profit organizations that could use my support and make more efficient use of my contributions.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  12. #12
    I just signed with my real name. This will be the last year I have AICP next to my name. I am not going to play the APA game anymore.

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Argh! I Can't Pay!

    Signed with my real name. My comments:

    I work for an agency that is reluctant to find any continuing education, much less professional certification, so program cost is critical. No doubt like some others, my salary is far below the national average for a planner with my experience and title/responsibilities, and I can't afford to pay for continuing education or national conferences out of my own pocket. There is a very real possibility that many planners, myself included, will lose their AICP certification; not due to an ethics violation, but because they just can't afford it.
    I see the names of quite a few Cyburbians on there.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    I signed with my real name. I am not AICP and refuse to be as fed up as I have been with APA so Im not in fear of loosing anything.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

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    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Dan, I feel I am stuck in the same boat. Add to the lack of classes offered in my immediate area, and that being a specialist in Transportation I can't go to my manager and expect him to approve traininig in zoning or wastewater management unless I can show some definitive link to how this will improve things for our partner agencies.

    Hardly anything offered for certification meets my rather difficult (at times) schedule.

    Add to this that Rutgers offers free transportation training for professionals (courtesy of large DOT grants) but I have yet to find a class that gives certification credits.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  16. #16
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    Dan, I feel I am stuck in the same boat. Add to the lack of classes offered in my immediate area, and that being a specialist in Transportation I can't go to my manager and expect him to approve traininig in zoning or wastewater management unless I can show some definitive link to how this will improve things for our partner agencies.

    Hardly anything offered for certification meets my rather difficult (at times) schedule.

    Add to this that Rutgers offers free transportation training for professionals (courtesy of large DOT grants) but I have yet to find a class that gives certification credits.
    The Michigan APA is a great example of APA cannibalizing their own organization. They made a DVD good for five hours, but the jerks at national are making them pay a grand to re-certify the DVD each year. The Sections are trying to respond to CM and provide easily accessible hours, but the ivory tower is keeping them down. TxAPA had a training turned down because it was too basic. What national doesn't know is that not all planners work in annexation, regardless of experience, and that annexation law changes in Texas about every two years. If you learned annexation in Texas five years ago, virtually everything has changed.

    One of my comments within my section's executive committee was that APA's implementation of CM was like giving yourself a manicure, only to amputate your arm right after the polish dries.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  17. #17
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    I just got the response as I am on the Board at APA's Resort & Tourism division:

    Quote Originally posted by APA/Monica Groh
    Response to Planetizen Opinion Piece on CM
    By Monica Groh
    Manager of Professional Development and AICP for the American Planning Association

    The initiation of Certification Maintenance on January 1, 2008 was a milestone for the planning profession and today, barely two months into the program, almost 200 providers are offering 3,500 activities for CM credit. This program is a significant change from the previous volunteer continuing education program. As always with change, it is a learning experience for everyone involved.

    I’d like to take this opportunity to clarify some questions about the program.

    Prior to adoption by the AICP Commission in April 2007, numerous discussions were held and research conducted to best formulate a program that would meet our members’ needs and those of providers. These surveys, discussions and two rounds of member and provider feedback lasted from late 2005 through April of 2007.

    As part of the extensive staff research work in support of the AICP Commission’s deliberations during that time, we contacted several organizations with professional certification programs, including those representing architects, attorneys, landscape architects and CPA's. This helped us gain an understanding of how different programs were organized and operated. It also provided insight into the growth and development periods different programs have gone through. We continue to actively engage organizations in conversations about their continuing education programs.


    For example, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) is now in its 14th year of its program. We have been told that their program evolved over approximately the first five years, before reaching a somewhat stable program as now administered. While we do not expect a five year evolutionary period for CM, it is reasonable to expect that the program will continue to evolve for at least three years, or to a point that we are halfway through our second two-year reporting cycle.


    In the area of fees, for example, here is a comparison with the AIA‘s requirements. The AICP “entry fee” for providers is $95 and includes two credit hours. The AIA entry fee is $650 for non-profit providers and $3,300 if the provider is a for-profit entity. In this comparison, AICP is less expensive than AIA up to 66 hours of courses for for-profit providers and up to 13 hours for non-profit providers. It should also be stressed that AIA is a Trade Association, not a research and educationally chartered organization as is APA. Our structure and development of CM is in accordance with our non profit educational status.

    As we expect the program to evolve, this will likely include the evolution of the fee structure as well. While the current fee structure works for many providers and the fees are considerably less than those of some other programs, we realized that the fee structure does not meet all needs. This is the reality of trying to accommodate providers who are as diverse as our members.


    We have found the fee structure to be a challenge for many providers who offer training for little or no registration fee, such as small non profits, in-house training, and some federal agencies. Multi-day workshops designed for very few attendees also do not match up well. There are other events that historically bring in few planners, such as scholarly societies (ACSP and the associations of geographers, sociologists, etc), that would have little incentive to offer CM credits with the current fee structure. We would like our members attending these events to be able to claim credits for appropriate sessions. Nonetheless, providers can register and test the success of the program without committing resources at a level they feel uncomfortable with. The Commission is committed to keeping the entry barrier very low; thus, the $95 initial registration fee is far lower than those of many organizations.

    Exploring Alternatives
    For these reasons, we are actively exploring alternative fee models that will offer providers a chance to choose the fee system that works best for them. This may include flat annual and daily fees, capped per credit fees, and a variety of premium fee packages that will offer advertising and marketing incentives. This is a work in progress but through continued dialogue we are confident that we can find a way that providers of all types can participate in this program. It should be stressed that the CM program is adding value to providers both by providing a standard for quality and by listing providers so that our 17,000 members can locate the many choices on our website. As noted, those number more than 3,500 and they are growing weekly.

    Universities as Partners
    As part of our work, we have also continued to work with the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) and have implemented many ideas and suggestions from those conversations. Conversations are continuing and more changes will be forthcoming. A year ago, Sue Schwartz, Immediate Past-president of AICP, and Paul Farmer, Executive Director and CEO, met with the deans and department chairs of nearly 75 planning schools at the ACSP Administrators' Conference. Sue and Paul addressed the entire gathering and also worked with the ACSP Task Force on CM. Changes were made in the draft CM program requirements as a result of those discussions.


    At the ACSP meeting in Milwaukee this past fall, Paul Farmer met with the ACSP Board and others in attendance at the board meeting (about 50 people) and discussed the program, ongoing educator concerns and possible changes. Paul also met with the ACSP Task Force, with about 15 people in attendance. Many educators were surprised to learn about the differences among the schools in terms of state laws and university administrative regulations and it was agreed that APA would work with a small number of schools identified by ACSP that would serve as models and represent the range of differences identified in our discussions in Milwaukee. Those conversations are continuing and we expect that alternate fee proposals will address many of these diverse needs.

    Engaging Providers is a Top Priority
    Since the AICP Commission approved the Certification Maintenance program last April, a team of marketing, outreach, and AICP staff has contacted and met with more than 700 training providers from around the country to encourage them to register as CM providers. These include providers who participated in our voluntary Continuing Professional Development (CPD) program as well as providers suggested to us by our members. Often these efforts have been fruitful, once staff has the opportunity to walk through the program details and explain the registration process. This often reduces misconceptions about the program and allows staff to help the provider brainstorm how CM can work within their training model. We have found that our conversations with staff of potential providers often dispel fears and clarify our program. Providers sometimes think that CM has been around for years and we have just started charging providers. Others may think that all of their courses would be eligible and quickly calculate a number that is much higher than a more accurate figure. When we explain the details, we’ve had providers conclude that one or two additional AICP registrants would cover the fee. They have often concluded that marginal revenues from additional attendees exceed the marginal costs.

    A Few Examples
    For a modest conference of 86 attendees, 24 CM credits offered and a $175 registration fee, only seven more registrants would be needed to cover the $1,195 CM fee. For a conference of 291 attendees, 42 CM credits offered and a $260 registration fee, only eight more registrants in addition to the 291 would be needed to cover the $2,095 CM fee.


    A two-day, 12-hour workshop that charges $425 per registrant will need two additional registrants to cover the CM costs. Even with a cap on attendance, it’s not an unlikely possibility. Our own 14-hour PTS workshops saw a 76 percent increase in attendance last fall, from 78 to 137 total participants for the four courses. For Planetizen, or any similar training provider, to register one of its four-hour online courses ($99 per course) for CM credit, it will need to bring in just two additional registrants per quarter. Its CM fee would be only two percent of revenue for 100 attendees. With more than 17,000 AICP members looking for training, it’s hard to understand how such providers will be priced out of the market.

    Bottom line: many providers see this as an opportunity rather than a burden. Consider, for example, Lorman Education Services (a nationwide provider) has registered more than 90 seminars and workshops for CM credit, many of which fulfill the mandatory law requirement. The National Charrette Institute has registered more than 20 activities, including a 10-hour advanced Planner Certificate, available in communities across the United States. RedVector.com, a leading provider of computer based training, has registered numerous online courses that will be available for AICP members for the entire 2008 period. ESRI has communicated its enthusiasm for CM and has begun registering courses, with many more to come.

    Every provider, including APA, has to register and meet the review standards set by the Commission. This is a valued service to our members and we will continue to strengthen our offerings. But APA alone cannot fulfill the needs of all 17,000 AICP members – this is neither realistic nor advantageous for the planning profession. We encourage collaboration, partnerships, and creative solutions to fill this educational need. This is the recipe for success of this program and will only make our profession stronger. Planners value a credential that is on par with those of similar professions.

    Can we promise increased attendance? No, we can’t. No organization administering a certification maintenance program can. But what we can promise is that 17,000 + professional planners are actively looking for relevant, high quality training; many of which did not do so in the past. Consider that less than 2,000 AICP members participated in the voluntary CPD program – that’s an 750 percent increase in demand. And the number is growing – more than 1,000 planners registered for the May 2008 exam. This is the highest registration AICP has ever experienced. Young planners are hungry for the knowledge and training that will help them tackle new challenges, and this program was created to facilitate this.


    Establishing Standards and Criteria
    The recent opinion piece in Planetizen states that the CM program is being operated under unfair approval procedures. This is simply untrue. All providers, including APA and its chapters and divisions, must follow the same registration and fee procedures, and CM credit is not awarded automatically for any event. Decisions are based on a clear set of standards and criteria set forth by the AICP Commission – criteria by which every activity is judged. We encourage providers to take a hard look at this set of criteria and decide what training events are and are not appropriate for this program, and how the educational objectives meet the needs of planners with at least two years of experience. It is the AICP members themselves, and not APA/AICP, who will be the ultimate judges of whether or not a provider offers value to the profession. Through our online rating system, members will have the opportunity to share comments and ideas (and critiques) about training events. We hope providers will benefit from this as well.

    Challenges Ahead
    The ideas outlined above are just a starting point. We as an organization must work even harder to engage those providers who are currently not signed up to ensure that members will be able to find opportunities that best serve their own professional development needs. These will be met by the growing list of providers of increasing diversity of offerings – diverse in topics, geography and delivery mechanisms. We are committed to making this program work well for members and the communities they serve.



    Mike Welch
    Director of Leadership and Component Services
    American Planning Association
    122 S. Michigan Ave. Suite 1600
    Chicago, IL 60603
    p: 312-786-6372
    mwelch@planning.org

  18. #18
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Maybe somebody else can verify this but I did an APA member directory search and can't find a Mike Welch as an APA member let alone AICP. Surely there aren't paid staff who aren't also members. I'm reminded of how the Detroit automobile industry "improved" it's quality by advertising rather than improving it's products.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

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    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ofos View post
    Maybe somebody else can verify .....
    I came up with a dozen Welch's but no Mike.

  20. #20
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake View post
    I came up with a dozen Welch's but no Mike.
    Moderator note:
    Let's not get too stalker-ish here. Thanks.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    Moderator note:
    Let's not get too stalker-ish here. Thanks.
    Let's not get too paranoid either. The appropriate contact information was in the APA response. I went looking out of curiousity as to whether the individual speaking on the topic of AICP CM for the APA held AICP certification. Nothing more than that.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  22. #22
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    If we all lived in Chicagoland we'd could get free CM credits just for showing up...

    http://www.planning.org/tuesdaysatapa/default.htm


    Let's provide equal opportunity to all members. I propose a Tuesdays-by-the-pool on the Panhandle for an "after-work lecture and discussion series...Come find out what's working for your colleagues and discuss the latest trends and controversies in the profession."

    Call it my contribution to the profession. Full credits available.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake View post
    If we all lived in Chicagoland we'd could get free CM credits just for showing up...

    http://www.planning.org/tuesdaysatapa/default.htm


    Let's provide equal opportunity to all members. I propose a Tuesdays-by-the-pool on the Panhandle for an "after-work lecture and discussion series...Come find out what's working for your colleagues and discuss the latest trends and controversies in the profession."

    Call it my contribution to the profession. Full credits available.
    Bet you are not willing to pay the CM Providers Registration Fee. Ever
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  24. #24
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake View post
    If we all lived in Chicagoland we'd could get free CM credits just for showing up...

    http://www.planning.org/tuesdaysatapa/default.htm


    Let's provide equal opportunity to all members. I propose a Tuesdays-by-the-pool on the Panhandle for an "after-work lecture and discussion series...Come find out what's working for your colleagues and discuss the latest trends and controversies in the profession."

    Call it my contribution to the profession. Full credits available.
    I always thought the national/regional/state conferences should have more of these - they did do this in San Francisco and I got more out of that than most of the workshops!

  25. #25
    Cyburbian DrumLineKid's avatar
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    WHAT'S NEXT?

    OK, we've had our time to bash this idea. The reality is at least APA is trying to do something to bolster the stature (relevance?) of the AICP. I like the idea. I don't like the implementation. I can't put together enough CM credits in little, old.........

    So what can we suggest to APA to improve the implementation of a continuing education program? What do you think will work? What can you tolerate? We can you do to add some constructive insight to YOUR PROFESSION? I know, some of us tried when they wanted input. That is like so many of the public hearings I have attended or proctored. Few comments are actionable. If we make enough comments, something will create a spark or make someone pay attention.

    Those nice people in Chicago are not all about greed or blind to the needs of the bulk of their membership. They have created thid from almost scratch. It will need some tweaking. Lets kick in our suggestions now while those nice people are evaluating their attempt. Its almost a year in place (I think). I gotta believe they are planning/doing a one year review.

    Enough crap. Its a pain. Got it. Let's work this out for/with the APA/AICP. My life has been about finding ways to make things happen. What's one more time.

    My suggestion: Offer some type of waiver/discount to (real) colleges for their related but eligible courses. Maybe let the member pay some type of nominal fee to have credits considered.

    DLK

    Hey Dan (or some other MOD) lets try to get a seat at the evaluation/negotiation table. How many members are active here?
    "There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present and invoke the security of a comfortable past which, in fact, never existed." RFK

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