Wednesday, June 1, 2011

IDP 2.0: Changes even an architect can love

While in New Orleans, I had the good fortune to sit in on a seminar with Nick Serfass and Rachel Kros of NCARB, who outlined some of the finer points of the changes being installed by IDP 2.0.  Usually it seems like governing boards and bureaucracies tend to obfuscate in their attempts to clarify, though their aim is usually the opposite.  However, the various changes to IDP to be rolled out anytime between now and Spring of 2012 are doing some really good things that I can get behind, even as a licensed architect.  As Kros and Serfass explained in the seminar, IDP was created back in the 1970s, and some of its requirements no longer reflect the way architecture is done anymore, especially with respect to technology.

Its biggest changes evolve from a change in NCARB philosophy.  In order to get licensed, you need three things: a degree, the experience, and the passing of the ARE.  So who's to say in what order those things need to happen?  So, the first big change I can get behind is that you're eligible to join NCARB and start racking up IDP credits as soon as you're enrolled in an NAAB- or CACB-accredited degree program--no more waiting until after your junior year to start working!

It used to be that, in order for your hours to count, you had to work at least 32 (or 35?) hours a week for 8 weeks straight to get credit for IDP.  Under IDP 2.0, you only have to work 15 hours a week for 8 weeks straight (minimum).  This change does two things: one, if you're working in an area still affected by the economy and no one can hire you full-time during a summer or while you're working and in school, you're not hosed out of credits; and two, it acknowledges that we no longer hand-draw and can actually learn a decent amount of stuff in 15 hours a week (e.g., in 1975, you worked with an architect for an hour, then went and hand-drafted the changes into the plan for 6 or 8 hours).

Another great change is that IDP now allows for some of your experience time to be virtual--a portion of your direct supervision time can be achieved through a mix of personal contact and remote, electronic communication, such as email, teleconferencing, and Skype.  This is great if you end up working onsite of a big project, or if your project is far away and you have to do some of your project meetings or OAC meetings via teleconference or videoconference.  Another great change in the experience setting category is that you can get credits for not just working through supplemental education courses (such as those supplied and produced by NCARB), but you can also get credits for passing the LEED exam or working on a design competition.

You can read more about the changes here, and I encourage you to do so.  Even as a licensed architect who no longer has to worry about IDP, I think these changes acknowledge the wide array of experiences from which interns learn and benefit.

1 comment:

  1. As an intern in architecture at the moment, i've found that the most difficult thing for me is finding an architect to be my mentor (as opposed to my supervisor). Finding an architect from outside my office who's willing to spend time with me ever week or two is an awful imposition. It was hard enough finding someone who would take me on in exchange for 8 hours a day of work, but asking for help from outside the office is even harder.
    I don't live very close to my University anymore either, so having a professor mentor me would be impractical. Do you have any suggestions for finding a mentor under the new guidelines?
    My course of action has been to start a new blog over at as a sort of cover letter for myself.