The 2019-2020 AIAS Board of Directors (BoD) held their final Board Meeting virtually, on July 26th and 27th. The outgoing and incoming Boards were able to discuss a wide range of topics and initiatives and think critically about the current state of the organization and how the AIAS can proactively protect our members. The current Board Members were able to look strategically at the existing AIAS portfolio of member benefits, programming, and events, and reevaluate the needs of our members and how our programs can be more accessible and equitable.
In addition, the 2020-2021 Council of Presidents (CoP) met virtually on August 1st to conduct relevant discussions surrounding the future of architectural education and the organization. In an attempt at maximizing transparency from the National level to the Chapter level, here is a recap of what was discussed and what was voted on at both the BoD and CoP Meetings.
BOD ACTIONS + DECISIONS MADE
- The Board charged the Membership and Finance Committees to further explore International Membership fees and membership benefits for all members to ensure that the value of AIAS membership aligns with the fee in each respective region
- The Board reviewed the 2019-2020 Fiscal Year budget-to-date and held a discussion regarding the 2020-2021 Fiscal Year budget draft. A final FY21 budget to the FY21 Board of Directors was presented for approval at an August Special Board Call, and the budget was approved.
- The Board amended Public Policy 3.210 to ensure clear language to state that the AIAS is not accepting of anyone that supports discrimination
- The Board adopted a new Public Policy to include a land acknowledgement, to be organized in the existing document at the discretion of the AIAS President
- The Board endorsed the Model Chapter Bylaws crafted by the 2019-2020 Governance Committee
- The Board amended Rules of the Board to establish the Ethics Committee as a Standing Committee.
- The Board amended the Rules of the Board to establish the Council of Global Representatives as a Standing Committee.
ONGOING BOD DISCUSSIONS
- The Board continued their discussions surrounding existing and potential opportunities for increased AIAS Member benefits and member value, highlighting the need for increased benefits for members at international chapters, as well as our chapters in Canada
- The Board discussed on-going conversations that have taken place with the NOMA Board in how the AIAS can support them. A proposal to add a NOMA Liaison to the AIAS Board of Directors has been sent to their board, but could not be voted on at this time.
- The Board and Board-elect engaged in discussion to outline current shortcomings of the AIAS, potential pitfalls in the near future, and proactive ways to protect our members. Topics included COVID-19 and Resiliency, Racial Injustice and Inequity, and International Student Deportation and Government. Brainstorming of initiatives the AIAS could partake in or start was done, as well as a re-evaluation of current programs and events.
BOD + COP APPROVED GOVERNANCE MODIFICATIONS
In order to make any updates or modifications to our governing Bylaws, both leadership bodies must vote in favor of said changes. At Grassroots, a few Bylaws updates were passed. These include:
- The Resolution from NOMA to be included among the collateral organizations was accepted
- AIAS Code of Ethics that was crafted by the 2019-2020 Ethics Committee was adopted.
- The Ethics Committee was established as a Standing Committee
- Criteria for both status of membership and chapters in good standing to adhere to the Code of Ethics.
- The Council of Global Representatives was established as a Standing Committee.
- Allowing for virtual voting means to be used during Council of Presidents meetings.
- Freedom by Design Bylaws crafted by the 2019-2020 Freedom by Design Advisory Committee to outline what chapters with FBD Programs can and cannot do and delineates who is responsible for what portions of the program.
COP DECISIONS + MOTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
- The CoP charged the National Office to make promotional materials and templates available to chapters via the CoP Drive for the promotion and marketing of programs and events such as THRIVE, CRIT Live, AIAS Scholarships, Grassroots, FORUM, competitions, etc.
- The CoP charged the Membership Committee to create a Mentorship Program Guidebook; specifically exploring different levels of mentorship, including but not limited to in-school, out of school and multi chapter programs and then organizing relevant information, including but not limited to structural templates, model events, and pairing guidelines; upon completion, the guide will be made available on the CoP Drive.
- Resolution 20GR01 charged the National Office with making promotional and marketing materials available to chapters. The resolution was crafted out of a need for chapters to be able to promote national events and programs. It was appreciated, as it holds the national office accountable for supporting the membership and passed with little discussion.
- Resolution 20GR02, which charged the Membership Committee with creating a Mentorship Program guidebook was welcomed as a proposed resource. Concern was brought up as to how this would be accessed by the membership once it was complete, which prompted an amendment to the original motion to clarify that it would be available on the CoP Drive once completed. The motion passed as amended.
- During the Town Hall, several conversations were brought up:
- A question of guidelines being created for members in chapters relating to advocacy. The AIAS Public Policies were pointed to as the best reference to know what is not considered controversial by the AIAS
- A delegate asked if Canadian Chapters can get the same benefits as American chapters such as tax benefits. A discussion was had regarding international membership benefits as a whole, which will be explored by multiple committees this year and specifically in Canada relating to conversations being had with CASA.
- Delegates asked about a change in chapter dues. Past Vice President Fogel and Vice President Taketatsu clarified the process to change chapter dues and how they relate to the overall budget of the organization, ensuring that the AIAS will be working to restructure to not be so dependent on membership and chapter dues in the future.
- A delegate asked if a committee could be charged with creating resources that compile stories about issues in the workplace, with potential to create a database about problems in specific offices, as well as a parallel resource to get support in instances such as these. While a formal motion could not be made during a town hall, there was discussion on how a joint task force with allied organizations may be effective to work towards this initiative.
- With time for the Town Hall being short as the meeting came to a close, delegates expressed interest in having more town hall meetings throughout the year to continue these types of discussions and for more opportunities to express concerns of the membership.
The first AIAS Town Hall will take place to round out Membership Month! This will be open to ALL members and will be a chance to share thoughts, concerns, or bring up topics of interest that you think the AIAS should look into. This meeting will be on Saturday, September 26th at 12p-1:30p Eastern Time via Google Meets.
The first official 2020-2021 Board of Directors Meeting will be taking place virtually in October, and the Council of Presidents will reconvene in January in conjunction with FORUM: Palimpsest! Stay tuned for more updates on how your leaders are doing everything in their capacity to amplify your voices and provide you with the tools and avenues you need for success.