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Subject: Professional qualifications and AIC

Professional qualifications and AIC

From: Katharine Untch <kuntch>
Date: Wednesday, July 2, 2003
I was inspired by a recent posting from Gene McCall regarding AIC
and issues of certification and qualifications.  I'd like to thank
him for sharing his perspectives and concerns.  It is through
discussions and sharing of viewpoints such as these that assist all
of us in advancing the profession.

It is my own opinion that certification is about increasing choices
for individuals and is not about being exclusionary. Being
voluntary, only individuals who care to participate in certification
need do so and having such a program in place would provide that
additional option for them.  Being a conservator and opting out of
being certified is also a very reasonable personal choice and does
not have any bearing on the quality of one's work or practice.

There are many aspects open for debate in thinking about a
certification program.  One aspect to keep in mind is that AIC needs
to steer clear of having its membership categories of "Professional
Associate" and "Fellow" used as de-facto qualifications in lieu of
some type of recognized certification program.  For example, it is
not that appropriate to be using AIC's membership categories as
qualifications in a Request for Proposals (RFP's) for contract

Because there are no existing programs for certification in the US,
many conservators are in a bind as they have no way technically of
distinguishing themselves as "a conservator" to other professions,
clients, or public agencies, especially if they do not hold a formal
degree in conservation.  (A formal degree in conservation would
probably not be a single qualifying factor for certification
anyway).  A program of certification will provide an additional
option for conservators to indicate some form of minimum
qualifications should they see the need to do so for their own
individual circumstances.

AIC's intent is very much to ensure an inclusive process in
developing a certification program.  There is still plenty of time
to be involved in the discussions.  Very soon, the AIC web site will
have a new "look" with some new features, including an open bulletin
board for discussions that will capture the comments relating to
certification and engage the issues in developing its program.  I
hope that many individuals will take advantage of the bulletin board
to discuss their concerns, offer advice and ideas, and really help
to form this new option.

The charge for AIC's Task Force on Certification, to research
certification and develop a model, has been fulfilled. Their work
was disseminated broadly in AIC newsletters and on the AIC web site.
In a national mail ballot, the majority of AIC members voted last
fall to proceed with further developing a program for certification.
In being responsive to its membership, AIC has formed a new
"Certification Development Committee" that is just now being
populated and is charged with developing a program plan and
associated budget.  The new committee is currently seeking
volunteers to either serve on it or assist, as there will be plenty
of work needed to accomplish this goal. Similarly, many Specialty
Groups of AIC including "Conservators in Private Practice" (CIPP)
are forming their own committees to examine the many issues involved
and offer their positions and advice. Anyone who is interested in
assisting may contact any of the committee or specialty group chairs
(listed at <URL:>) or may contact the AIC
office directly at info [at] aic-faic__org.

I was also pleased that Mr. McCall mentions the draft document from
the Qualifications Task force that was posted on the AIC web site. I
appreciate that he has taken the time to read it and offer his
advice.  Many helpful responses were received and incorporated into
the final publication. This is the very reason that drafts are
posted and circulated as AIC is very interested in having an
inclusive process and hearing comments and perspectives.  In fact,
the very issue that Mr. McCall points to, the issue of whether an
undergraduate degree is necessary to be a conservator, was also
pointed out by at least one other responder who read the draft. As a
result of this feedback, in the final document: "Defining the
Conservator: Essential Competencies" now available on the AIC web
site, the wording was changed to be even more inclusive.  It is
through these open discussions and exchanges that enable us all to
help formulate our directions as a profession so I truly applaud the
participation in sharing all our most valid concerns.

I would also like to report that several members of AIC have
commented to me in the past few years how AIC has grown and changed.
Indeed it has! They have noted how impressed they've been that there
is more inclusivity and more new and exciting opportunities that AIC
is providing for its members.  As the AIC board member in charge of
increasing professional development opportunities for conservators,
this has been very heartening to hear (even though there is much
more to be done).  Offering more scholarships and workshops for
professional development and increasing the fundraising capacity to
support such programs is only one of the areas that has been making
a big difference to conservators in the United States.  The
examination of a certification program (including re-certification)
has greatly encouraged this growth in mid-career professional
development opportunities.  This is just one of the many outcomes
that is already evolving as a result of looking into certification,
even before such a program might be put into place.

I am personally very excited about the recent strides we've been
able to make, all of which would not have happened without the
incredible contributions of so many individual AIC members, their
incredible dedication, hard work and  passion in volunteering long
hours and offering their opinions, advice and expertise.  It has
really been the participation that has enabled these strides to

I should probably also add (here comes the fine print) that while my
opinions reflect my current perspective as an elected AIC board
member, they are still my own opinions and are not in any way
intended as an "official statement" from the AIC board.  (I just
wanted to engage in the conversation too.)

Katharine Untch
AIC Board Director, Professional Education and Training

                  Conservation DistList Instance 17:9
                  Distributed: Thursday, July 3, 2003
                        Message Id: cdl-17-9-003
Received on Wednesday, 2 July, 2003

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Timestamp: Thursday, 26-Jan-2012 15:56:53 PST
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