As part of its repositioning effort, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) board of directors has elected to significantly alter the governance structure of the 156-year-old organization. At its board meeting on September 20, 2013, the AIA board of directors voted to institute a bi-cameral governance model with a significantly smaller board of directors.
The new structure will include a board of directors “composed of 11-15 members chosen for their specific talents and areas of expertise will pursue a defined, strategic set of fiduciary concerns that affect the health of the Institute,” according to an AIA statement. Also, the governance will include, “A large council composed of 50 or so elected members who represent geographic, demographic, and subject-matter diversity, will pursue a larger set of broad, critical concerns affecting the profession.”
The AIA board of directors currently includes 52 people, 11 of whom comprise the executive committee.
“Creating a smaller Board of Directors that will more efficiently and effectively focus on operational issues allows the Council to be fully engaged with strategic issues concerning practice, the profession, and society,” says AIA President Mickey Jacob, FAIA. “And, most importantly, moving toward streamlined governance will instill confidence in an AIA that is relevant and responsive to member feedback.”
AIA First Vice President/President-Elect Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA, will succeed Jacob as president this December. Dreiling told Contract: "AIA leadership is often criticized for spending too much time, energy, and effort tinkering with items specific to the organization rather than attending to the greater issues of the profession. The transition to a bi-cameral governance model will allow the smaller board to concentrate on AIA-related matters, while the larger council focuses on strategies and vision for the profession. It's a crucial step in our cultural shift to a more innovative and aspirational organization."
Because this is a bylaws amendment, the AIA membership will need to vote on this issue at the AIA Convention in June 2014 in Chicago. If the amendment passes, it will become effective immediately thereafter. But the board composition change would be rolled out over time to allow for the transition of existing directors who will have already been elected to three-year terms.