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Subject: Accreditation


From: Jack C. Thompson <tcl>
Date: Monday, May 3, 1999
In recent days I have been reviewing the UK protocol for
professional accreditation of conservators, and have been in
communication with the UK consultant, Stan Lester, a specialist in
professional/vocational development.

And it shows in the development of these documents.  In America, we
have Dilbert to explain the delicate ballet of corporations and
committees; I do not know that there is an analogous cartoon in the
UK, but Stan Lester seems to have learned the dance.

Niccolo Caldararo thoughtfully augmented my recent brief comments,
concluding with the statement: "There is no other way for
accreditation to stand than on assessment and one cannot assess
individuals without reference to a standard and standards cannot be
created without evaluation of practice."

The only element I would argue here is the choice of words.
Caldararo prefers 'standards' and I prefer 'guidelines.'

Velson Horie, Chair of the Joint Accreditation Group, commented
that: "In the UK, a profession is a self-governing body of
practitioners that sets and maintains standards, then accredits and
disciplines its members."  And goes on to state: "This proposed UK
scheme explicitly includes non-academic routes to accreditation...."

According to my copy of Webster's New World Dictionary of the
American Language, a profession is: "an occupation requiring
advanced academic training, as medicine, law, etc."

And this is recognized in the UK documents (see: Assessment Record,
appendix A, "Professional standards/General professional criteria,")

Paragraph 9:  It requires evidence of:

    adhering to and upholding professional guidelines and ethics in
    your work *including legal requirements and any applicable
    national and international conventions and codes of practice*.
    (Italics theirs).

I'm sorry, but the UK documents are not internally consistent.  Were
I less politic, I might accuse them of lying to their membership in
the interest of the greater public good.  A public which they assert
will be required to pay more for the services of an accredited

The documents would benefit from a review by a semanticist.

The observant reader may note the use of 'standards' in the earlier
Horie quote, and 'guidelines' in the latter.

This is not a small matter, nor a mere quibble over language.

It is about power, bureaucracy, and money.

Some of the best conservators of my acquaintance are specialists who
work on a narrow range of artifacts.  The UK 'standard' requires

   "An accredited conservator is expected to be able to act
    competently across all the functions, although it is accepted
    that he or she may not have a high level of practical
    proficiency in every area.

   "Accredited conservator status cannot be conferred for competence
    across only a limited range of functions."

    Professional Standards, p. 4.

Jack C. Thompson
Thompson Conservation Laboratory
7549 N. Fenwick
Portland, OR  97217
503-735-3942 (voice/fax>

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:84
                   Distributed: Tuesday, May 4, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-12-84-009
Received on Monday, 3 May, 1999

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