First of all, thank you. Thank you for looking out for me, an emerging professional, as I make my way through my architectural education and the path to licensure. Thank you for making sure I don't end up as the stereotypical intern who fetches coffee for the boss and hides in the corner drawing bathroom details.
I think I speak for many when I say that I also appreciate your concern for the future of the profession. But, if I may be frank, you're doing it all wrong.
You've announced quite a few changes this summer, all of which you claim will improve the field of architecture. Now I know these changes have been met with a wide spectrum of opinions, so I don't want to be just another voice in the crowd. I simply want you to know that I believe you've been distributing your resources in all the wrong places. Cutting hours, restructuring exams, and bundling degrees with licenses isn't going to provide a strong foundation for the next generation of architects. Rather, it's going to do the opposite. It's going to saturate the field with under-qualified "professionals"; and while this will statistically give us more architects, it will not give us more architects who can be adequately held responsible for the health, safety, and welfare of the public.
Why, may I ask, are you trying to fix a profession that isn't broken? I appreciate that you're looking ahead to the day when many of our nation's oldest generation of currently practicing architects retires. I appreciate that you're thinking about how to replace them. But why, if you're concerned with balancing the demographics between the oldest and the youngest architects, are you not utilizing them to solve your problem? This is a profession which relies heavily on collaboration and mentorship. These people are your greatest asset.
If you're concerned with losing a large portion of architects to retirement, make the most of their knowledge while they're still practicing. Reach out to them and educate them about the IDP. Encourage them to hire emerging professionals and pass on their knowledge. In this profession, we expect that our formal education is limited and much of what we learn comes from working in the field. I'm about to enter my fifth and final year of an accredited B.Arch degree and I'm slowly but surely working through the IDP. The existing path to licensure is extremely reasonable, and I believe its level of rigor is completely justified by the amount of responsibility that comes with the receipt of a license at the finish line. Rather than trying to make this path easier, you should be focusing your resources on encouraging students to take this path in the first place. Go to high schools and colleges and speak to students. Make them aware of the value of a registered architect. By forging connections with the youngest and oldest individuals in the profession, you are able to address your concern with potential demographic imbalances and reinforce core values within the field of architecture such as networking and mentoring.
Please, don't deface the value of my baccalaureate education and don't start giving out degrees and licenses in a two-for-one deal. I promise, I don't need or want that kind of incentive to pursue my architectural license, I've already made the decision on my own. Instead, spend your time, money, and resources encouraging other students like myself to do the same, and provide them with access to a generation of professionals who have already mastered the art of mentoring.