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Subject: Certification


From: Jerry Podany <jpodany>
Date: Wednesday, December 18, 2002
I want to respond, as best I can, to those who are concerned about
the relationship of developing a certification process and the
articles of incorporation of the AIC and its basic mission.  But
first let me whole-heartedly agree with several members who have
said that certification, and the process of developing it, will make
a very positive difference to the profession.  Let me also thank
several of the AIC members who have noted that AIC has made great
advancements and that we should keep moving ahead.  Remember, AIC is
all of us...and I am sure that we will indeed keep moving forward.

I think it is important to remember that the certification process
being discussed is completely voluntary and has nothing to do with
AIC membership categories.  You will not, for example, have to be a
Fellow to apply for certification.  I do not agree with those who
have said that certification will regulate the profession or make a
change to AIC membership categories.  Changing the categories of
course can be done, but certification does not force this or even
encourage it.

One of our shared goals that several members have pointed out and
that is listed in the AIC core mission statement, is to advance the
profession (and with it the organization and each of its members).
I believe certification will do that for reasons that many others
and I have noted on the discussion lists and in articles.  Just to
name a few: through improved educational opportunities, through
agreed upon definitions of the profession, through a more public
definition process and through the kind of introspection and
development that will naturally come with taking a look at
professional self-evaluation and evaluation by peers.  As others
have already pointed out we need to start somewhere, just as our
colleagues in other countries have started somewhere, to reach our
goals.. This process will not simply happen by itself, nor should it
happen without debate and careful development.  To do it right, as
some members have encouraged, means that the initiative needs to be
studied carefully, debated, and be inclusive of many voices and many
concerns.  That very process started more than eight years ago. Some
would say it started several decades ago.  It is now time to move
ahead to the next step, putting resources toward developing a
certification program and process.  The membership should be behind
this if we are going to "do it right".  That's what this current
vote is about...a commitment to development.   Otherwise we will
simply continue to "entertain" the idea but not work toward the real
goal of accomplishing the task.

If certification is to start with the guidelines, principles and
ethics as well as general technical knowledge that ALL conservators
should know, and which all professional in conservation should
share, I can not see how it would water down our standards as some
have suggested.  If it then evolves into a process that also
includes specialty knowledge as part of the evaluation (and if that
proves to be healthy for the profession) then it should move in that
direction.  But either way it should move forward, not remain in a
stagnant and often confusing world of misinformation and

I do not believe that the AIC bylaws or articles of incorporation
have any influence on the decision to develop a certification
process, other than the process helping us meet our goals.  But then
I am not a legal expert (few of us are that informed about legal
definitions and subtleties).  So Penny Jones and I checked with the
AIC legal consultant.  Indeed they are separate issues.  "Of
course", she advised us "your articles of incorporation can be
changed."  But that process, should it ever be desired, should be
done with the same careful consideration that is given to any bylaws
change.  But neither needs to be changed for us to pursue
certification.  They are very different issues.

The AIC can, most certainly, move to develop a certification
process. And it would come as no surprise to anyone that I believe
it should. Whether we do or not however is dependent on the
membership's vote and the membership's continual involvement and
support.  So as a member recently said... let's "keep going!"

Jerry Podany

                  Conservation DistList Instance 16:41
                Distributed: Wednesday, January 8, 2003
                       Message Id: cdl-16-41-001
Received on Wednesday, 18 December, 2002

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