APA Chapter Positions on the Proposed
Tenured Faculty Membership Program

Click on the state chapter you want to see. You will be linked to a PDF file with the chapter’s position in a new window or tab.

Past Presidents of AICP and/or APA publically on the record in opposition to this proposal:

Sam Casella, FAICP, PP:

“I'm surprised and a bit outraged to learn that AICP's Commissioners are considering offering faculty members at PAB-accredited schools an exam-free
entrance into the ranks of Certified Planners.  The requirement of passing the AICP exam is intrinsic in the value in AICP Certification, both for AICP
members and for the public that relies on AICP Certification as a credential.  To establish that any group of individuals may receive that
credential without earning it through the exam process is a giant step backwards.

“I have been a member of AICP since its founding, and I know AICP well from having been APA President, AICP President, and chairman of the AICP Ethics
Committee.  I also know PAB from having appointed members of the PAB in my role as AICP President, and having been a faculty member at a PAB-accredited
school, and having been a site visitor.  I have respect for PAB, for PAB-accredited schools, and for faculty members at those schools.  I also
know that the level of faculty members' knowledge of AICP's code of ethics, planning law, and the broad principles of planning practice varies
considerably.  On the one hand are those faculty members who value what AICP stands for sufficiently to take the exam and pass it, and on the other hand
are those faculty members whose interests and values are such that they do not even discuss taking the exam.  The latter are not necessarily ready to
pass the exam despite their tenured position.

“The assertion that "A university's grant of tenure requires an extensive written application that must be approved through a rigorous process that
includes votes of approval at several stages" is unconvincing.  There is a world of difference between the process for granting tenure and the contents
of the AICP exam.  So much so, that one should no more consider tenure to be sufficient to demonstrate competence to earn the AICP certification than one
would consider AICP certification to be sufficient to demonstrate competence to earn tenure.  A more reasonable alternative would be to tell PAB that
AICP will not continue to support it financially unless PAB accreditation is only available to schools where a majority of tenured faculty have passed
the AICP exam and become dues-paying members of AICP. (Sometimes AICP has to throw its weight around to get a response from its academic partners.  When
I was AICP President I exercised my right to withhold approval of appointment of a PAB chair until ACSP would agree that it would end the practice of appointing only faculty members to PAB chairmanship.  Facing the prospect of having no PAB chair, ACSP reluctantly agreed to alternate the chairmanship among faculty and practitioners, a policy that exists to this day).

“Two more comments, first, I would argue against any special incentives to faculty membership in AICP, including financial incentives such as waiver of
exam fees or dues, as well as exemption from the exam.  Tenured faculty members receive compensation that compares favorably with that of planning
practitioners.  Special financial incentives for tenured faculty would only serve to cover a lack of interest in AICP among certain faculty members and
would institute an unfair advantage to a privileged few.

“Second, as someone who has served AICP, something that I find especially disturbing about this proposal is that the AICP Commission would even
consider giving away its absolute authority to determine who is or is not qualified for AICP certification.  Sadly, that one step calls into question
the validity of AICP as a national arbiter of professional planning competence.

I would urge you and the other Commissioners to put a stop to this exam-free proposal right now. ”

Richard Codd, FAICP:
This is a stupid idea.  If they can't pass the test get out of the kitchen.  Maybe the profs know they really don't know how things work in the real world and are afraid to admit it.  Deep six this idea quickly.” [Email sent Wednesday, November 30, 2011 9:40 AM]

Connie Cooper, FAICP:

“Just in case you missed it, the AICP Commission is considering a bylaws change that would allow tenured faculty to become AICP without taking
the exam  unlike all the rest of us, it is being decided that tenured faculty don't need to pass an exam to become certified. If this is the
case shouldn't planning directors and planning consultants who have been practicing at least 15 years be granted the same pass?ť

“Over my 35+ plus years of practice, I have found faculty members who are COMMITTED to the profession care enough to TAKE the exam or cared
enough to become AICP members in the early days and STAYED an AICP member “ without any special dispensation.

“To name a few…
“John Keller, Margarita McCoy, Darrell Meyer, Eric Kelly, Steve French, Stuart Meck, Barbara Becker, Tridib Banerjee, Jonathan Barnett, Dale
Bertsch, Eugenie Birch, Alan Black, Jane Brooks, Raymond Burby, Alan Cander, William Cohen, Roger Dahlstrom, Richard, Ducker, Kenneth
Dueker, Bruce Frankel, John Gaber, David Godschalk, Steven Gordon, Michael Hooper, Fred Hurand, Jerome Kaufman, Norman Krumholz, Kristin
Larsen, Joseph Lee, Judith Long, Riad Mahayni, Emil Malizia, William McAllister, John  Mullin, Arthur Nelson, Francis Parker,
Kenneth  Pearlman, Gene Pearson, Ray Quay, Donald Shoup, Stuart Stein, Eric Strauss, Fritz  Wagner, and Bobby Wilson” [Email sent Nov. 29, 2011]

Daniel Lauber, AICP

Stuart Meck, FAICP

Dwight Merriam, FAICP [Email sent Tue 11/29/2011 11:31 AM]

Former APA Directors and/or AICP Commissioners Publicly on the record against this proposal:

Allan Hodges, FAICP:
“Where did this idea come from? What need is this filling? I think planning professors should take the AICP exam and also should earn CM
credits to keep the Certification current. I would think many faculty members would jump at the chance to  keep up to date with the
profession. Even their students would benefit from this updated insight. Every time I have lectured or taught, I am always amazed at
the positive reception from the professors to learn from or at least hear from others outside academia.  If the issue is maintaining close
relations with AICP and APA, I think the PAB, Chapters and Divisions should beef up their outreach activities with this end in mind.” [Email]

Lester Solin, FAICP
“I read your letter regarding the "“ree-pass” for tenured faculty as many of us now characterize the proposal before the AICP Commission and understand your rationale for perhaps supporting the proposal. However, based on my regard for the AICP credentials, I believe the rationale opposing the "free-pass" significantly outweighs the rationale favoring a free-pass.
“I personally believe the “free-pass” of AICP credentials to tenured faculty would extend:

“1.    Special privileges to tenured faculty that are not extended to other planners.
“2.    Inequitable favoritism and undue weight to the myriad of tenure examination procedures and processes that collectively lack uniform qualitative procedural and substantive measures characterizing the AICP examination's conception, test development, implementation, and continuing monitoring and evaluation by professional testing services as well as by AICP Commission members, who over time represent professional planners from academia and professional practice.
“3.   A misleading perspective to planning students who may view a tenured faculty's display of “free-pass” AICP credentials as earned credentials indicative of competency, experience, and understanding of planning history, theory, best management planning principles and practices, and application of a sound planning  process, including execution of appropriate procedural and substantive considerations in planning practice.” [Email to AICP President Anna Breinich]

Chris McGetrick, AICP

Charles Wunder, formerly AICP, now retired

Others to follow as we become aware of them.

We are aware of two former APA or AICP Presidents who support the proposal. They are both very close friends of AICP President Anna Breinich.
Joanne Garnett
Mary Kay Peck, FAICP

Chapter Positions

Illinois: Opposed

Ohio: Opposed

Oklahoma: Opposed

Utah: Opposed.
But they bring up state licensing of planners — so be aware that there are elements in the Chapters President Council who want to force state licensing upon us. It hasn’t well where tried (no evidence exists that licensed New Jersey planners are more competent or better respected than planners elsewhere without licenses) and conceptually it never can. Licensing would so restrict what planners can do that licensed planners would see the areas in which they can practice shrink rather than continue to expand and create more planning jobs.

Dear Members of the AICP Commission:

The Executive Board of the Utah Chapter of the American Planning Association wholly disapproves of your proposal to allow tenured faculty to circumvent the AICP entrance exam.

Over the past ten years the AICP Commission has made great strides in enhancing the legitimacy of the AICP credential – including augmenting the entrance exam and requiring continuing education. However, the proposed policy to allow tenured professors to circumvent the entrance exam is a setback to these gains in legitimacy. In a world of increasing competition between professional organizations – architects, engineers, attorneys, landscape architects, and urban designers – the need to recognize the significant and unique role of planners through legitimate professional credentials has never been greater.

At this point in time our policy should be to focus on strengthening our relevancy and professional legitimacy – not diluting it. Earlier this year the debate on state licensure resurfaced within the Chapter President’s Council. This is an excellent example of a policy that has the potential to increase our standing and stature as a profession. Of course there are also downsides to state licensure, but the concept at least addresses the heart of the issue – the recognition of planning as a unique and vital contribution to the success of our society. Allowing individuals to circumvent the AICP entrance exam may temporarily increase membership levels, but ultimately will be counterproductive. In the instance of tenured professors, an academic setting alone does not meet the intent of a broad base of knowledge and experience that has defined the certification process to this point.

As Dwight Merriam, former AICP president posited, "Does the professional engineering association, or AIA, or ASLA, or the medical schools give tenured professors in accredited schools certifications to practice? Is there any profession that does this?"

 In closing, if the goal of the AICP Commission is to strengthen the AICP credential and to encourage others to join its ranks, it should adopt policies that enhance its significance and relevancy, and avoid those that would cheapen it.


Aric Jensen, President, APA Utah

Soren Simonson, AIA, AICP, Vice President
John Janson, AICP, Past President
Brenda Scheer, AIA, AICP, Dean of the College of Architecture and Planning, Univ. of Utah
Arthur Chris Nelson, FAICP, Director of the Center for Metropolitan Planning, Univ. of Utah
Mark McGrath, AICP
Max Johnson, AICP
Michael Maloy, AICP
Robert O. Scott, AICP