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Subject: AIC certification plan

AIC certification plan

From: Rob Proctor <proctor<-a>
Date: Tuesday, December 9, 2008
    **** Moderator's comments: The following originally appeared in

First, I would like to propose that this discussion be moved to the
Cons DistList as there are excellent points being made that should
be available to all conservators not just members of the PSG. There
are also parallel discussions on the CiPP lists and probably others
that PSG members may not be seeing.

I have always been a supporter of Certification but, I am getting a
bit frustrated by the negativism and polarity that this topic has
brought to the field. What I lament most is the tone of fear that I
hear from many who view certification as an obstacle rather than an
opportunity. Of course it will not be the "be all, end all" and it
will do little to represent any conservator's overall capabilities.
Written tests can not judge hand skills but, they can help us keep
abreast of what is the current baseline for knowledge in our
profession. I would hope that the majority of my fellow colleagues
would find comfort in knowing that they (they referring to both the
individual and the community) are up to date with the values and
information which evolve so quickly in our field. My desire is for a
certification process  that fosters growth and opportunity for all
through a continuing education curriculum. Instead of seeing
continuing education as a mandate for individuals to have to attend
symposiums and workshops, we should see it as a chance for the
profession, as a whole, to continue, and accelerate, the development
of forums for sharing ideas and honing hand-skills.

Here are a couple of specific and personal thoughts;

I too spent a lot of time and cash on achieving a degree  (well
spent I must add) so, I already have a very valuable accreditation
of sorts but, I have always thought of my degree as the starting
point for my growth. I also have a pretty solid client base and (if
I may step out on a limb here) respect and reputation in the field.
For these reasons, Certification is not going to change my world
much. My hope is that talented and smart conservators, who may not
have a formal degree or a core conservation community in their area,
might have some of the same opportunity for success that I have had.
In this case a Certificate might serve as one of a number of
credentials for which these colleagues could use to represent
themselves to the public. A test might also serve as a baseline for
them to evaluate their own knowledge and a continuing education
program become a means to meet other conservators.

Recent posts on the PSG, CiPP lists and the Cons DistList have
mentioned of the cost of attending meetings and acquiring a
Certificate. In no way do I wish to trivialize any financial
hardship of some and I am saddened by the news that one of our best
and brightest has found him/herself unable to keep up with AIC dues.
As I have no idea what this persons story is, it is hard to respond
to but, it seems to me that the adoption of Certification might help
elevate the reputation of our field as a whole by putting it on par
with other professions which are certified, and thus lead to a rise
in salaries. Furthermore, the public expectation of what a
conservators expertise is worth may also increase. One poster
lamented that she was hoping to attend a AIC workshop and could not
procure the funds from her institution. Is it not possible that, if
Certification was the standard in the field, this would put pressure
on her employer to help her do what is necessary to hold a

Also, a reminder, if you cannot afford it Certification is will not
be obligatory!

As to the relationship between Professional Associate, Fellow and
Certification, I would propose that Certification would be a
prerequisite for the honorary titles of P.A. and Fellow, not the
other way around.I believe these should be more distinguished titles
and think that it may be illegal to make membership in the A.I.C. a
prerequisite of a Certification?

Lastly, I would like to remind people that we are at the point where
we either adopt this process or it will be dropped permanently. It
may not be perfect (for instance some may prefer a five or seven
year re-certification cycle over three) but these things can be
changed and perfected as time goes on.

Robert Proctor
Whitten and Proctor Fine Art Conservation
1236 Studewood Street
Houston, TX 77008
713-426-0191 (phone/fax)

                  Conservation DistList Instance 22:36
                 Distributed: Monday, December 15, 2008
                       Message Id: cdl-22-36-010
Received on Tuesday, 9 December, 2008

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