Mandatory CM Credits Updates

Background

Introduction

CM's mandatory topics and associated credits (1.5 credits in law and 1.5 credits in ethics) have not changed since the program began 10 years ago. The Commission has been evaluating the program to identify opportunities for improvement (based on suggestions from APA leadership groups) and to align mandatory credit topics with current planning issues and practice.

The Commission is considering increasing the number of mandatory credits required for each reporting period from three credits to four by:

  • Adding a mandatory credit on equity to the required ethics credits
  • Adding a mandatory credit on a targeted topic that will remain in place for at least four years. Climate would be the first targeted topic.
  • Reducing the number of mandatory credits — on all topics — from 1.5 to one
  • Requiring that a session eligible for mandatory CM credit be at least one hour

If approved, the expected implementation date is January 1, 2021. Additional background and details for each item under consideration, including frequently asked questions developed based on the discussions at NPC19, are below.


Ethics and Ethics Equity CM Credit

Three APA leadership groups have recently identified the need for a mandatory CM credit on the topic of equity, social justice, diversity, and inclusion.

  • As a part of its Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, the APA Diversity Committee asked the Commission to consider the possibility of requiring social equity, diversity, and inclusion as a required component of CM.
  • The Social Equity Policy Guide Task Force's Planning for Equity Framework recommends, "Require CM credits for Equity in the same way that credits are required for Ethics and Law." to advance principles and policies addressed in the Planning for Equity Policy Guide.
  • The Social Equity Task Force's report to the Board in February 2019 lists piloting a new CM equity credit requirement.

The Commission is considering expanding the ethics credit requirement to include a mandatory credit in equity. The Commission felt it was important to tie this new credit to the AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct because equity and social justice are critical issues in the code's "Aspirational Principles" section. Adding a mandatory equity credit would address the full breadth of social justice, diversity, and inclusion issues.

If the equity ethics credit is approved, staff will develop proposed content requirements for eligible sessions. Source materials will be the Policy Guide on Social Equity, which is expected to be submitted to the Board for approval at the 2019 National Planning Conference, and the Social Equity Task Force's report.

Law CM Credit

The Commission is maintaining law as a mandatory topic but is considering reducing the minimum required credit from 1.5 to one.

Targeted Topic CM Credit

The AICP Commission, recognizing the professional development challenges that all certified planners share in a rapidly evolving profession, is considering requiring a new mandatory CM credit on a targeted topic. This would: 1) add flexibility to the CM program's ability to address the common professional development needs of all certified planners; and 2) promote greater understanding within the planning profession of innovative practices, emerging issues, trends, specialties, and best practices. The subject of this targeted credit would vary and be determined by the AICP Commission. Each targeted topic would remain in place for at least 4 years so that it applies to all AICP members. The Commission would develop criteria for selecting future targeted topics.

Why Select Climate as the first Targeted Topic?

Every community will need to plan for climate change, especially for its effects on its most vulnerable people, places, and systems. The Aspirational Principles and Rules of Conduct of the AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct describe the planning profession's responsibility to have special concern for the long-range consequences of present actions and to pay special attention to the interrelatedness of decisions (Principles #1b and #1c). Climate science has proven that today's natural, built, and social actions will have detrimental long-range consequences if climate mitigation and adaptation are not integrated into every planning decision.

Number of Credits Required

The Commission is considering reducing the required CM credits for each mandatory category from 1.5 to one in a two-year CM reporting period. If the addition of an ethics credit focused on equity is approved, the total number of credits required for ethics would increase by one-half credit to a total of two. If one mandatory CM credit on a targeted topic also is approved, the total number of mandatory credits would increase from three to four. If a session offers more than the required number of credits in a mandatory category, the extra credits would be applied to the member's general CM requirements.

A one-hour increment gives CM providers more flexibility in the length of their offerings, which in turn may free time for additional sessions and increase the variety of sessions offered.

Minimum Time for Mandatory Credits

Currently, all CM-eligible sessions, whether on law, ethics, or a general (non-mandatory) planning topic, must be at least 30 minutes long. In July, the AICP Commission approved reducing the minimum length of a general CM session from 30 to 15 minutes. However, due to the importance and complexity of the mandatory topics, the Commission is considering requiring that sessions offering credit on mandatory CM topics be at least one hour long (and offer one CM credit).

Summary of Changes Under Consideration

The chart below summarizes the updates under consideration. If approved, the proposed timeline will allow for technology updates and offer sufficient advance notice to members and CM providers. The expected implementation date is January 1, 2021.

Mandatory Credit Topics Credits Required in a Two-Year Reporting Period Minimum Length of Sessions on Mandatory Topics

Ethics:

  • 1 CM credit on ethics
  • 1 CM credit on ethics related to equity
2 One hour
Law 1 One hour
Targeted topic: A critical, urgent issue that is relevant to planners.
First targeted topic: Climate*
*Proposed
1 One hour

If all four mandatory credit topics are approved, members would log each credit type separately, as they do now for law and ethics.

Thank you for your attention to these important proposed changes to the CM program. Please provide feedback by sending an email to amoore@planning.org by Friday, June 7.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When will the AICP Commission make the final decision?

A: September 2019.

Q: How will the final decision be communicated?

A: A special communication will be emailed to APA Leadership components, and then to the entire AICP membership. The final decision will be included in Interact and posted on the APA website, CM page.

Q: When will these changes be ready for use by CM Providers and AICP members?

A: In January 1, 2021.

Q: What prompted these changes?

A: This is the 10-year anniversary of CM and the Commission is conducting a comprehensive review of the entire program.

Q: What are the existing mandatory CM credit requirements?

A: 1.5 credits in Law, 1.5 credits in Ethics = total 3 credits total

Q: What are the proposed changes?

A: The proposed changes are:

  • Adding a mandatory credit on equity to the required ethics credits
  • Adding a mandatory credit on a targeted topic that will remain in place for at least four years. Climate would be the first targeted topic.
  • Reducing the number of mandatory credits — on all topics — from 1.5 to one
  • Requiring that a session eligible for mandatory CM credit be at least one hour

Q: How do these changes relate to the Code of Ethics?

A: Equity as a new ethics credit: The Commission felt it was important to tie this new credit to the AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct because equity and social justice are critical issues in the code's "Aspirational Principles" section.

Climate as the first targeted topic: The Aspirational Principles and Rules of Conduct of the AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct describe the planning profession's responsibility to have special concern for the long-range consequences of present actions and to pay special attention to the interrelatedness of decisions (Principles #1b and #1c).

Q: What would a targeted climate credit would include?

A: A targeted climate credit would include:

  • Sustainability and Resilience
  • Hazard Mitigation and Disaster Recovery
  • Smart Growth
  • Preservation of Ecosystems and Biodiversity
  • Water, Oceans, and Coasts
  • Air Quality
  • Climate Impacts to Economy, Agriculture, Food Policy, Public Health, Infrastructure, Indigenous People, Tourism and Recreation and more.

Q: What would equity ethics credits include?

A: The full breadth of social justice, diversity, and inclusion issues.

Q: How will CM Providers know specifically what is required to qualify for the new topics?

A: After the Commission makes their final decision on the proposed changes, they will develop and provide guidance similar to the information currently available for law and ethics credits in the Provider Toolkit.

Q: Are all CM providers required to offer the new credits? How would we develop sessions on these new topics if we do not have experts in our group?

A: All CM Providers are not required to offer the new credits. Sessions that would qualify for the proposed new topics are already available on-line. This is also a good opportunity to partner with a Division, or a local organization.

Q: If new credits are added, would the total CM credits required increase too?

A: No, 32 credits would remain the minimum number of credits required.

Q: How was the minimum timeframe for the targeted topic credit determined?

A: AICP members are in one of two reporting period cycles. Since each cycle is 2 years in length, members in both cycles would have at least one reporting period with the targeted topic. Therefore, each targeted topic would need to be in place for a minimum of 4 years.

Q: How will future topics for targeted credit be selected?

A: The Commission will develop a process and criteria which will take into account the profession and APA, AICP's priority areas.

Q. If I am in the middle of my CM reporting period cycle when the changes are implemented, would I be required to complete double the amount of mandatory credits?

A: No, the changes would be implemented at the beginning of each reporting period cycle.

Q: How would I have to log these new credits?

A: If all four mandatory credit topics are approved, members would log each credit type separately, as they do now for law and ethics.

Q: Would AICP Candidate Pilot Program participants be affected?

A: Yes, since the participants are currently required to earn the mandatory credits (1.5 law and 1.5 ethics) any changes to the mandatory CM credit requirements would apply to them.