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Subject: AIC certification plan

AIC certification plan

From: Robert Proctor <robert<-at->
Date: Friday, December 19, 2008
In response to Steven Prins's Dec 9, 2008 posting which in turn was
a response to my posting of the same date:

Why exactly would this process be "dubious" and "inherently
suspect"?  The exam process need not only be a test of the candidate
but also a chance to assemble a  committee of thoughtful and
respected conservators to define what makes up the current,
essential knowledge in our field. Results from the test could
function as a comparative and objective evaluation of what we as a
community hold as relevant and an indication of where our weaknesses
lie. What better way could there be to determine which topics are
worthy of education and outreach programs than reviewing the
elements and concepts consistently misunderstood by practicing

I used to think that the test should be very difficult to really
weed out the weak but over time I have changed my mind. Presently,
there is talk of a take home test and giving the applicant  weeks or
months to complete it. I have accepted that the A.I.C. wants to be
an inclusive organization, by giving a test like this the applicant
will be encouraged to work on their weaknesses instead of being
punished for what they may not know. I don't remember what the cost
of Certification was estimated to be but, in today's world, even an
incomplete measure has potential to instill confidence in a client/
employer . If the cost of certification is but a percentage of an
average treatment, it would seem to me a price worth paying.

The operative word is "initial". One reason why most advanced
professions are either certified or licensed is to make sure their
members keep up to date. What does it say about one's actual
ability? If we mean one's dexterity or hand-skills, probably not
much, and certification should not presented as a measure of this,
but, as a representation of an engaged and informed individual, I
think it could say a lot! In my mind this is where the P.A. and
Fellow status really falls short. These should be honorary titles
which indicate one's past service to the field while Certification
would best be used to evaluate one's current commitment. As for
"graduates of respected programs who are nonetheless incompetent
practitioners of conservation" (or non-graduates for that matter)
can you think of a better way to improve their skills or judgement
than asking them to attend symposiums and/or workshops where they
will be seated next to competent conservators? In these situations
they may not only only learn from the best but, subject themselves
to some healthy self re-evaluation.

We have been working on this for 15 or so years now, this topic has
been discussed and voted on in many business meetings,
questionnaires, lists, and AIC News articles and the consensus is
that a deadline and ultimatum need be set.

Finally, why do you substitute my statement that "Certification is
not going to change my world much." for " Well if certification has
no value to those who have it why take the test?  And if it has
value does it not stand to reason that those who take and pass the
test gain some professional and financial advantage?" Of course it
would have value for all of the reasons I have stated. Speaking for
myself, I already do much of what would be required to be certified
and I am confidant that I would be able to pass the test without
much work (possibly less than composing these e-mails). Furthermore,
if certification leads to a "gain in some professional and financial
advantage" doesn't that make the cost pay for itself? Those who work
harder to stay informed receive advantage, what is wrong with that?

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

                  Conservation DistList Instance 22:38
                Distributed: Saturday, January 10, 2009
                       Message Id: cdl-22-38-003
Received on Friday, 19 December, 2008

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