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Subject: AIC certification plan

AIC certification plan

From: Steven Prins <sprins1102<-a>
Date: Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Several recent posts regarding AIC Certification have, I hope,
revived discussion of this important, vexing issue.  Of particular
interest to this member was a statistic compiled by AIC and cited by
Bonnie Baskin: 78.4% of members polled did not even bother to reply
to a recent poll regarding the certification development process.  I
wonder if this response rate is typical?

I have never favored certification.  Nor do I think it is a good
allocation of limited AIC resources.  I would further assert that it
is outside of the mandate of our organization, as expressed in our
Bylaws. So it has always come as a surprise to me when AIC has
asserted that a majority of members favored some form of
certification and the Board was therefore carrying out the will of
membership in promoting it. Thanks to Bonnie for pointing out how
statistically skewed this assertion may have been.  To hear that 78%
of membership is indifferent to the process makes me wonder what has
been driving it all of these years?  A handful of zealous members,
with the support of the Board, it would appear.

If the membership is so overwhelmingly apathetic about the exercise,
and it raises so many other issues for members, as expressed in this
forum over years now, why do we continue to spend precious time and
money on this effort?

I have yet to be persuaded that it offers any benefit to the vast
majority of practitioners or their clients/employers.  The
difficulty of testing for competence in this field and the potential
shortcomings of exam methods under consideration have been outlined
by others and need not be reiterated here.  There is more than
enough anecdotal evidence to support the common knowledge that
passing an exam does not assure any level of practical
competence--just as graduating from a degree program in conservation
is no guarantee of good craftsmanship or judgement.  Establishing an
unreliable certification process could actually be a great
disservice to both consumer and provider.  And the process has
obvious potential to undermine AIC's credibility in other areas of
important service and advocacy if incompetent practitioners bear AIC
Certification.  Like insurance, once available and sanctioned by AIC
it is likely to become a de facto requirement imposed by
clients/employers on AIC members.

There are also financial implications attached to the process that
raise the prospect of a field divided into haves and have-nots.
Thus, if AIC continues to support certification it may be
responsible for fomenting future conflict between the certified and
uncertified among their own ranks.  Just the fact that the effort
has dragged on for so long suggests to me that the practical
challenges may be insurmountable in the absence of greater will from
the membership.

In light of the statistical fact that almost 80% of membership do
not care enough about certification to reply to a poll(s) on the
subject, what can we do as members do to put an end to this
misguided effort and waste of assets by our professional
organization?  Or has it taken on a life of its own?  To live on
forever, unresolved?  At the expense of other beneficial
educational, outreach and advocacy efforts!

Is there anything we can we do?

Steven Prins
Santa Fe, NM

                  Conservation DistList Instance 22:36
                 Distributed: Monday, December 15, 2008
                       Message Id: cdl-22-36-012
Received on Tuesday, 9 December, 2008

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