From the President's Desk|

Programs that will equitably and inclusively “Bridge the Gap” and more were discussed.

The practice of regular reexamination of teaching and practicing architecture continues at AIA California.

On April 21, 2022, the California Architectural Foundation sponsored a “Future of the Profession Summit” at our AIA California offices in Sacramento. A broad representation of experts in education, practice, and equity, diversity and inclusion convened for a hybrid (in-person and virtual) meeting.

Moderated by Stephen Castellanos, FAIA (former California State Architect and AIA California president), the summit focused on ensuring that the profession of architecture is relevant and resilient, today and in the future, through the identification and implementation of actionable plans and goals at the intersection of issues critical to the field.

The topics included:

  • Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)
    Ensure equity in the profession, in our communities, and for all who inhabit the built environment we design.
  • Architectural Education
    Better prepare architects for the future and facilitate a field that includes a true cross-section of society.
  • Academy of Emerging Professionals (AEP)
    Equip a new generation of architects with the tools and knowledge to lead the industry forward.
  • California Architectural Foundation (CAF)
    Support the future through tangible and accessible funding, mentorship, and educational resource tools

Meaningful, respectful, and essential dialogue was held throughout the day; Animated presentations and discussions for each topic, led by cohorts in design, initiated areas that require study and action in the future.

The summit concluded in a spirit of trust and confidence in, and commitment to, ideas for AIA California to cultivate. These include the expansion of existing (as well as the establishment of) new programs that will equitably and inclusively “Bridge the Gap” in architecture—educationally, generationally, and sustainably—in the following areas:

  • Education
    Facilitate matriculation agreements among and within colleges for appropriate and reciprocal curriculums.
    Advocate for a change in the curriculum in architecture school to include more robust vocational training and legitimize alternate paths to licensure.
  • Practice
    Formalize, develop, and grow funding programs to support scholarship, debt relief, leadership and mentorship programs at every level in career—from students to senior professionals.
    Create structured work experience opportunities for students and formalize mentorship opportunities at all levels and milestones in school, the profession, and beyond.
  • Growing Coalitions
    Work with allied organizations on shared programs to expand participation, information sharing and paths for greater diversity, equity and inclusion at all milestones of education, training and practice, and other careers and sectors.
  • Communicating Value
    Develop a vision statement to articulate the VALUE of architects and identify the issues facing young people for board adoption.

I know the participants—our colleagues and members—were inspirational to me! I’m sure they would share my enthusiasm for your thoughts, insights, contributions, and support as together, we, advance and sustain our profession in these areas—and beyond—in the months and years ahead.

Front Row (L to R):  Nicki Dennis Stephens, Hon. AIA; Don Caskey, FAIA; Michael Hricak, FAIA; Joshua Foster, Assoc. AIA; Debra Gerod, FAIA; Stephen Castellanos, FAIA; Ginger Thompson, AIA; Mandy Freeland, AIA; David Garcia, Assoc. AIA; Scott Gaudineer, AIA; Mary Follenweider, AIA; Casey Wong, Assoc. AIA; Paul Welch, Jr., Hon. AIA
Top Row (Screen) (L to R): Rona Rothenberg, FAIA; Mark Graham, AIA
Images: Courtesy AIA California
AIA California
AIA California
Celebrating over 75 years of service, the AIA California actively promotes the value of design and advocates for the architectural profession. AIA CA is an association of 11,000 dedicated and passionate members who share a commitment to design excellence and livability in California’s natural and built environments.

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