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Thread: AICP CM - anyone else finding it difficult to do them meaningfully?

  1. #26
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    The largest issue with APA is that it is a good old boy network. AICP works in this manner as well. The concept was conceived to try and monetize education any way they could. APA has difficulty creating a niche like AIA or ASLA. We are so broad that they are unable to create the same "quality" of product and therefore have to come up with gimmicks to create the illusion that they are worthwhile.

    I really believe that the problem with APA isn't with APA or the idea. I think it is with the fact that when you do try to get involved, you are still an outsider. Unless you have given all your time to being in leadership, you are not important enough to warrant attention. I have been in varying levels of leadership with APA. All of those experiences were fine, but I never really felt like my ideas would ever be considered. Take a look at the executive board or the AICP board. The top leadership has not changed significantly in 10 years. We continually rotate through the ranks.

    CM credits are a good thing. They require that our profession keep on their toes and stay active. Charging small communities and not sharing credits with other professional organizations is very simply a money making tactic. APA needs to stop trying to make money and start providing value for the $ we all spend. AICP credits should be able to be obtained for free in many places. Or they should be able to be obtained at locations where other credits are valid.

    I think our professional organization cannot decide who they are and instead of creating a niche like AIA or ASLA we are a big tent, and the quality of that tent is questionable at best.
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  2. #27
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Hink View post
    I think our professional organization cannot decide who they are and instead of creating a niche like AIA or ASLA we are a big tent, and the quality of that tent is questionable at best.
    I think that's right.. I actually don't think planning as a field is too broad for a meaningful professional association, but the way our association handles things, they seem to me to go out of their way to lose focus (would somebody please explain to me why there are now TWO sustainablity divisions? .. I can tell you why, and it is has nothing to do with subject matter.. more like, old non-responsive and new, younger more responsive one.. instead of shaking the older one up the way it needs to be, people started a new, redundant one!). I don't agree on licensure being a necessary pre-requisite for an effective professional association. NCARB licenses architects, AIA is purely discretionary, but it is unquestionably an effective professional association. ICE is a very effective engineering professional group for civil engineers who don't want to be part of the ASCE's licensure framework because they're working in areas that don't require actual state licenses. There is no corresponding licensure for GBCI and ITE at all.. just discretionary certifications just like the AICP, yet they are very effective professional associations. GBCI has roughly ten times the number of accredited members as APA has total members, and their credential has nothing to do with licensure of any type whatsoever.

    To redirect a bit, my request of APA with respect to CM is as follows:

    - Immediately begin working with GBCI to reinstate the cross-offering of CM courses. The loss of GBCI as an education provider beginning in 2012 has made it virtually impossible for those thousands of AICPs who also hold GBCI accreditations to simultaneously complete the respective CM requirements, with only 8 hrs of overlap (the self-reported credits) between the two. I'd be happy to volunteer to do this if I actually knew who I need to talk to at APA... preferably somebody who answers emails with something other than the stock refrain "it isn't our responsibility." I speak to GBCI daily so that side of it isn't a problem and can provide what degree of access is required. The goal might be try to reach an agreement on reciprocity on a limited number of credit hours per year, like GBCI has in place with AIA.

    - set up a tri-partite working group with AIA, ASLA and ASCE, although this is likely to be longer confidence-building process given the amount of mutual suspicion between those organizations now. An AIA board member sits down the hall from my office and one of their CM program coordinators sits literally 20 feet away from me, so to whatever extent useful, I'd be happy to help if I can, but this is going to be a more difficult and longer term process. An eventual aim might be facilitate a certain amount of reciprocity with respect to CM, without requiring each organization to apply for review of their material by the others.

    - Initiate contact with ICE. I assume somebody already talks to ITE.. or, at least, I hope so.

    I'd love to work with this.. but, again, right now, APA seems, from where I'm sitting, to be one vast monolith of unapproachability so I don't even know where to get started. Interestingly, the website doesn't even have a mechanism to volunteer or even to contact committees directly.
    Last edited by Cismontane; 18 Dec 2012 at 6:22 PM.

  3. #28
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    And you wonder why some of us question its quality, legitimacy, efficacy, relevancy and so on? If it were truly useful or going toward a real license or certification (like a PE), there wouldn't be this problem. That is your clue as to its legitimacy. I'm a member of two other associations (one other peripherally) that have equal or more CM requirements, and staffers do this. But they have legitimate licensure where the letters after your name have actual meaning, weight, bondability, etc.
    I am hearing two different views on Cyburbia regarding licensure. On one hand many of you are against licensure because we don't create tangible products (houses, bridges, parks, etc.) and shouldn't be held to the same scrutiny as an architect and engineer. However, you want APA/AICP/CMs to have the same legitimacy as allied professions. Our exam is only a single multiple-choice exam and we get our results before we leave the testing center. Because we are not a licensed designation we don't have to report to separate state licensing boards so there is no oversight or structure in regulating the content of our CM requirements.

    Sorry, but you guys can't complain about the legitimacy of CERTIFICATION maintenance compared to LICENSURE maintenance when you balk at the work it takes to establish licensure across the board, whether it is an architect, licensed clinical social worker, doctor, lawyer, appraiser, etc.
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  4. #29
    OP's original post has spawned some heated debates!

    On the issue of CM availability, professional organizations have a vested interest in keeping it in-house to collect registration fees. APA National is not doing themselves or their members any favors with how their handling CM requirements based on the comments thus far. (My biased opinion is that it's a ploy to encourage attendance at the national conference: the easy way to meet CM requirements.)

    About 5 years ago I was a chapter officer with the IRWA (nrschmid I'm guessing you're probably going to be the only one fimilar with the organization). We use to hold joint Continued Education (CE) events frequently with the Appraisal Institute and the association for Illinois' Realtor. It was a matter of submitting the required paperwork to "International” for approval. There was no fee paid. We even piggybacked off a few APA/AICP CM events to give our members more options to obtain CE credits. On a side note, it was refreshing to have speakers and educational opportunities outside the right-of-field from time to time.

    Then there is the topic of the relevancy of the AICP. The OP doesn't have a choice since all the procurement bid packages require it. It's debatable why so many RFP/RFQ's require AICP for professional planning services, but nevertheless a planning consultant isn't going to get very far without having those four letters after his name.

    I was forwarded a job announcement in small county on the East Coast not too long ago. AICP was required. To my surprise, the job title, job duties, and qualifications made it clear that this was a facilities/real estate-related job, more along the lines of property management. I thought to myself why AICP would be required when the job is not directly related to planning. I did a little Googling to learn more about this county, and the facilities department is loaded with PEs, and there was a lone person with AICP after her name. It was the same person as the contact on the announcement. I guess she wanted some company in the mist of all those PEs...

    I wonder if its a similar situation as RFP/RFQ packages are being written.

    Lastly on the benefits of the APA membership, nrschmid has it right: it is what you make of it. I think most of the beef here is frustration with APA national and not at the chapter level. I was a FAPA member before moving out west. The local and state chapter did some great work! I hear the arguments about what AICP is supposed to represent. After doing some research, I determined that it's not for me. The kicker is that they have been a few that spent the time and energy to pursue and maintain AICP certification, but later one day came to the conclusion it wasn't really for them either.

    To the newbies out there, don't drink the kool-aid. Do your own independent research about the AICP. It's a complete fallacy that all real planners must be AICP/APA members to support their profession.
    Last edited by OfficialPlanner; 18 Dec 2012 at 6:45 PM.
    The content contrarian

  5. #30
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    Sorry, but you guys can't complain about the legitimacy of CERTIFICATION maintenance compared to LICENSURE maintenance when you balk at the work it takes to establish licensure across the board, whether it is an architect, licensed clinical social worker, doctor, lawyer, appraiser, etc.
    Again, with respect, I think you're wrong. Please see my post, two below.

    GBCI, with 360,000 members and 133,000 accredited persons, offers no licenses and is not a licensure agency. Even in the 33 states where GBCI standards have some type of regulatory effect, no state requires GBCI accreditation.

    AIA is not the licensing authority for architects. NCARB is. AIA is a discretionary professional association, just like APA is. Unlike APA and AICP, there is no connection or affiliation between the two organizations (in addition to handling licensure, NCARB also serves as our PAB). You suffer no disability as an architect, licensed or not, by not being a member of AIA, and, under some circumstances, you can even be a full member of AIA without being a licensed architect with NCARB.

    ITE and ICE are not licensure authorities, at least in the US, but still each have thousands of members.

    ASLA and ASCE, to be fair, alone of these groups, play a role in accreditation and licensure.

    Speaking personally, I support the licensure - or, alternatively - the chartership, of planners involved in some types of land-use, zoning and environmental work, but by the states, not by APA or any other national organization... mainly because I think those who do something wrong or do things unethically should be subject to sanctions in their states.

    I also agree wtih MrSchmid and OP that chapter membership is what you make of it, but chapter membership does not make up completely for the shortcomings of a strong national organization. For example, on the GBCI front, I think of my local chapter and the national organization as essentially separate organizations, both of which provide a reasonably high level of support. National gives tools, software, standards, advice, Federal-level advocacy and lobbying, project certification and management of the accreditation and CM systems. The local chapter provides local programs, runs programs for the City and regional planning authorities, does pro bono work, and organizes local training (including CM training) and other events. Strength is needed on both sides.. as they do different things.
    Last edited by Cismontane; 18 Dec 2012 at 7:13 PM.

  6. #31
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    I am hearing two different views on Cyburbia regarding licensure. On one hand many of you are against licensure because we don't create tangible products (houses, bridges, parks, etc.) and shouldn't be held to the same scrutiny as an architect and engineer. However, you want APA/AICP/CMs to have the same legitimacy as allied professions. Our exam is only a single multiple-choice exam and we get our results before we leave the testing center. Because we are not a licensed designation we don't have to report to separate state licensing boards so there is no oversight or structure in regulating the content of our CM requirements.

    Sorry, but you guys can't complain about the legitimacy of CERTIFICATION maintenance compared to LICENSURE maintenance when you balk at the work it takes to establish licensure across the board, whether it is an architect, licensed clinical social worker, doctor, lawyer, appraiser, etc.
    I am saying AICP is in no way, shape or form the same as, say, PE or law or a teaching credential or real licensure. I am also not saying it should be.

    I am saying if you want it to be legitimate, make it legitimate. Not fake legitimate. I don't know how to make it legitimate. Planning is not a hard science, and is just as often about herding cats as it is making sure the business district re-development gets 10' sidewalks and pedestal signs and real trees. And the residential gets a crosswalk painted in the road for the few kids who don't have parents who drive their precious angels everywhere.

    I don't know how you credential that, and how one enforces a relative view that business interests are more legitimate than environmental justice and the letters you paid for after your name are hereby taken away because you didn't overrule the zoning and make the developer put in more trees in the parking lot. It's ridiculous. Have a code of ethics and a flow chart for herding cats and call it good. And stop charging 129.99 for a book that is no better than piecing some articles together yourself off Planetizen.

    [/rant]
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    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  7. #32
    Cyburbian
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    We are legitimate only in the eyes of the general public and its interest we represent, which isn't saying much. Americans have and will always considered licensed professions to be more legitimate than certifications. From a sociological standpoint, American's are more likely to trust someone who knows the intricacies of building a bridge or a house and less likely to trust someone who defends a bunch of non-tangible ideas. Maybe it's different in other countries. My mom is a licensed clinical social worker, although her credentials were not created until 1989. Before that, she was a social worker with the same experience and training. Unfortunately, her mental health counterparts (i.e. psychiatrists, psychologists, neurologists, etc.) did not hold her in the same esteem because she wasn't licensed. Licensure has a higher perceived value than non-licensure, no matter what the training, exams, requirements, or capabilities.
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  8. #33
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    Licensure has a higher perceived value than non-licensure, no matter what the training, exams, requirements, or capabilities.
    This may be the case (although I really doubt most Americans understand the difference), but this has nothing to do with my original question.

    Again, to my question, why can't we have reciprocity on CM with AIA and GBCI, neither of which credits are connected to licensure? SINCE. for the last time, neither AIA nor GBCI license, my original question has nothing to do with licensure. A GBCI accredited person has exactly the same standing, to your definition, as an AICP certified planner does, in that no state recognizes a GBCI AP as licensed - even in those 33 states that have, to various extents, legislated GBCI standards into law and only two states out of 50 recognize an AICP as licensed. As you can see, my original question has NOTHING to do with licensure, it has to do with why CM reciprocity is generally not available between the AICP and the other named professional associations, whether they license or not.

    Finally, I asked whether anyone has an explanation from the APA perspective for why GBCI and APA actually dropped their mutual CM reciprocity between GBCI's planning division and AICP last year, leading suddenly to the requirement that people like me complete a ridiculous 62 hrs of CM for any two year reporting period (less, perhaps, 8 hours self-reported, but which I couldn't take advantage of because I'd already completed my 8 hrs on the AICP side by the time APA and GBCI had their sudden, unannounced divorce), whereas before I only had to complete 32 (again, the license issue is irrelevant here since my state licensure requirements fall well-within and are still reciprocal with my GBCI requirements). Not only was my CM requirement effectively doubled, I had no warning for this whatsoever, and thus had only 2 months to make up the sudden and unexpected difference (since I had budgeted GBCI conference speaking and attendance to fulfill much of my AICP CM requirement). I have the views of GBCI on why they discontinued their affiliation with APA, but I have been unable to obtain any explanation out of APA for the same. APA actually had a pavilion at the GBCI conference but their staff there could provide no explanation on why the sudden change was effected.

    If this math is confusing, it may be more aptly illustrated with numbers.
    - Prior to 2012. for any 2 yrs: 32 hrs AICP CM overlapped completely with 30 hrs GBCI ND division CM and 10-24 hrs of architecture CM, depending on the state = net of 32 hrs of CM.
    - Now, for any 2 yrs: 32 hrs AICP CM - 8 hrs self-reported + 30 hrs GBCI CM (which still overlaps with the 10-24 hrs of architecture CM) = net 54-62 hrs of CM.

    As you can see, this problem has nothing to do with licensure, whatsoever, and it is a very real problem if it means that anyone whose jobs or career paths require them to maintain both certifications has to double her or her CM requirement in order to maintain what, in effect, are two related planning credentials (ND division and AICP).

    My more general comment , and why, more generally and to my observation, as a member of more than one of those associations, APA's services and support for and advocacy on behalf of members generally lag those provided by either GBCI or AIA, neither of which are licensing authorities. It seems to me that AICP has a competitive problem here if people were to consider foregoing the AICP credential altogether in favor of only a primary (licensed) credential from, say, ASLA, NCARB, or ASCE, plus the GBCI planning division credential, so it is really in their interest to current mess and perceived dearth in member support forthwith.

    I respect your ideological point on licensure, but it has nothing to do with the issue at hand - which concerns the mechanics of CM credits and the fact that other organizations are now organizing planner-like credentials.
    Last edited by Cismontane; 18 Dec 2012 at 9:29 PM.

  9. #34
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Off-topic:
    Note to self: Don't open this thread again. Excess of mental masturbation.
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  10. #35
    Cyburbian
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    On a technical note, AICP is not licensure, therefore no one recognizes it as such. New Jersey has a separate planners license and Michigan has legal definition(s).

    You have more than one credential to maintain. It would be nice if there was overlap, but what if you were a dentist who ran an architecture firm. Are you expecting one to help the other out to make your life easier? Sure, it would be nice but it is your personal obligation to ensure the requirements for EACH AND EVERY credential are met. There are a variety of ways to earn CMs. Just because APA National doesn't have the reciprocity doesn't mean you can't personally recruit GBCI's to speak at an APA event, and have your chapter or state PDO register the individual CM. You signed on the dotted line, it is your responsibility. If you don't like it, change the rules.

    "Sustainable planning" is part of the APA mission but there are MANY different types of planning. I don't include anything about green building in my AICP exam workshop because it is not covered on the exam, it is not discussed at length in the APA Policy Manuals. Yes, it is important but the values of APA reach beyond merely green building and best management practices in sustainability. AICP is not comparable to GBCI, but that doesn't mean one is more important than the other. If there is some reciprocity it is because someone went through the process to develop an inter-organizational agreement for certification maintenance.
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  11. #36
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    If there is some reciprocity it is because someone went through the process to develop an inter-organizational agreement for certification maintenance.
    I'm very well aware of both the history of the relationship and it's issues.. but this doesn't change the fact that what was in place is no longer and APA has failed to provide any explanation of the change. Previously, there was three way reciprocity. Now there is none.

    For clarity, I have three credentials to maintain, including a license. I am both an architect and a planner, but I only work as a planner and think of myself as a planner, but still maintain both a license, AICP and a couple different GBCI credentials. Despite licensure, I am not a member of the AIA. I am very well of the distinction between the AICP and licensure, thank you, and please don't lecture me on it. I've been doing what I do - as an urban designer of sustainable communities - straddling three disciplines, for two decades, with distinction I believe.

    I still put my question - which, again, is about the mechanics of CM compliance - out there, but alas it appears that nobody here has a real answer... Therein lies my problem with APA - the inability to speak in specifics.. instead everything is about idealogy and philosophy of it. I can care less what people here think about whether we should be licensed or not as planners, and, frankly, I could do what I do as either an architect or as a planner, but I would prefer to be able to continue to call myself a planner.. if only my profesional association will start being just a little more, well, professional.
    Last edited by Cismontane; 18 Dec 2012 at 11:11 PM.

  12. #37
    Cyburbian
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    Therein lies my problem with APA - the inability to speak in specific.

    I gave you specifics on how to change the issue. Volunteer in a chapter, run for an elected office, or get appointed to an APA committee and then you can make lasting change for you and your dues-paying members. APA is not some large functioning corporation with paid staff. There are a few grossly overpaid executives at the top, a generally mediocre customer service center who answers APA and AICP questions, some ivory tower academics contributing to JAPA, Planning Magazine, and the bulk of the day-to-pay activities, seminars, newsletters, state and local conferences being handled by your peers as volunteers.

    The legitimacy of the AICP credentials itself is a whole separate argument. We are your colleagues so we are too biased one way of the other. You are only legitimate to the public. I merely give guidance on the mechanics for changing procedures/policies through a state APA chapter system.
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  13. #38
    Cyburbian Dharmster's avatar
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    OfficialPlanner is correct.I am back in consulting after a 13 year break. My consulting firm will pay for one license + one professional membership. The will also pay for other memberships and licenses on a case by case basis. While attendance at training is not a entitlement its something any firm that wants to you maintain certification will pay reasonable costs to maintain the certification.


    Quote Originally posted by OfficialPlanner View post
    Working as a planning consultant, AICP is more or less mandatory because that's what the clients demand. Therefore, a good consulting firm employing full time consultants should pay for the costs needed for CM and additional certifications that are of value since otherwise these costs become the responsibility of the employee (just something for the newbies when presented with a job offer in consulting).

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