Thank you for your thoughtful response and your willingness to get involved in the conversation.
I would like to respond to your last paragraph and question:
/// "Change" is always uncomfortable and must always be evaluated to ensure that the results of the change will generate a better final product. I'm not sure I see a lot of reasons to change the current system. Graduates of the current system have served me very well. ///
I agree, change is uncomfortable.
Can any new endeavour ever be ensured 100% success? Sometimes, not always. However, if we are not willing to try something new, then we must be afraid of risk (or we are afraid of breaking or messing up a 'perfect' system- the mentality of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" reigns).
Is there really nothing new we could change or add to improve the existing architectural curricula (such as Project Management classes specific to aec projects, or more hands-on construction classes, or structures classes that incorporate applied knowledge of details rather than pure theory and math)? Or maybe these changes have already been added since I graduated long ago.
What about doing away with all 4-year degree programs since they are vastly becoming obsolete as most State licensing boards are now requiring BArch or MArch programs for licensure.
Is it really a good set-up to allow folks to become licensed architects after only a 3-year MArch curriculum after they've studied another field?
Do schools still ignore the work of women pioneers in the field such as Julia Morgan or Denise Scott Brown?
I had not learned of Julia Morgan's work until after I graduated from architecture school; her name and her work had simply been missing from our curriculum (unless I was absent that day).
Lastly, you asked me:
/// Tara - I'd be interested in how you answered the question... What are you afraid of? ///
I'm afraid (or concerned-- a better word) of a few things:
1. Personally, I am afraid (worried, concerned) of "dying with my music still inside me." At my age (39 and holding), I see opportunities closing off and I regret not having stayed in architecture in favor of a more lucrative business opportunity that I took advantage of in the early 1990's. What I gained in business experience was of great value, however, so it's not a total loss or complete derailment; and I was able to return to architecture- with a Herculean effort.
2. That we won't have a productive, honest conversation about this subject for several reasons: a) some folks seem entrenched in their respective stances out of self-preservation. b) lack of information-- where are the earlier ARC white papers that Mr. Casius Pealer asked Mr. Szymanik to provide? Rather than reinvent the wheel or keep spinning our wheels on endless, meaningless debates that go nowhere, this kind of information would be helpful and c) apathy from leadership at AIA, NCARB, ACSA, and NAAB.
3. I see the divide between architecture school and practice ever-widening and few people who want to help emerging architects or moms returning to the workforce to succeed. It's very much a dog eat dog world in architecture and an every man for himself atmosphere. Truly, interns must be Trailblazers in order to succeed in today's market. I don't think schools should focus on BIM necessarily, but where are the students supposed to learn this? Who IS supposed to teach it? The workplace? Only a few conglomerates can afford to do that and only if you're young enough will someone be willing to invest their firm's time in your learning curve. Who will train the "dinosaurs?"
4. The unique position of women in architecture is no more as noted by one Houston PhD, futurist. While women make up 40% of the undergrad classes in architecture, only 13% (may now be 17-20%) of women go on to architecture grad school and remain in the profession. Of those who do, only about 11% become licensed, if my stats are current. I sense that if an older woman is not in architecture, there is very little chance she ever will be unless she owns her own firm. Women are being objectified as older ones are being passed over in favor of younger ones. Age discrimination is not unique to women-- I've heard some men in architecture say the same thing. One could argue that these older architects are not being discriminated against, it's just that they simply could not or would not keep up with new technology.
5. The loss of current knowledge may not be passed down to the next generations for two reasons: the loss of older generations who were laid off (there goes the 'database' of info out the door) and the hollowing out of the profession due to the Great Recession where we lost 60,000 architecture jobs since 2008. As one astute architect asked on the AIA LinkedIn forum today-- can this knowledge be replaced by an info-embedded BIM database?
I think that covers it for now.
I would like to share two related links to posts that I think help frame this debate further:
Thank you for the oppportunity to share.
Tara Imani AIA, CSI
Tara Imani Designs, LLC
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