Strategic Plan of the American Institute of Certified Planners

December 29, 2015

AICP's Mission: Elevate the value of the AICP credential to our members and to those that employ them.

AICP's Vision: The American Institute of Certified Planners . . .

  • Is the highest valued professional planning credential.
  • Is an essential resource to all planners as they establish, grow, and excel in their careers.
  • Embodies professional, educational and ethical commitment.
  • Fosters planning education, innovation and excellence.
  • Promotes knowledge of emerging trends and practices in a changing world.
  • Promotes core and specialty competency standards at every career stage.
  • Recognizes member commitment and contribution to the planning profession.
  • Nurtures future generations of planners and planning leaders.
  • Advocates for social equity and justice.

AICP's Strategies

Value: Enhance and promote the value of AICP certification.

  • Identify and promote professional development paths and benchmarks for those seeking certification and those maintaining it.
  • Share the results of surveys, analysis of employment data and anecdotal examples to demonstrate the impact of the credential.
  • Promote the value of AICP Certification to students and emerging professionals.
  • Retain existing AICP members and foster their continuing professional development. Evaluate current reinstatement policies to ensure effectiveness.
  • Establish an engagement strategy for retired and nearly retired members to encourage continuing membership and participation.
  • Review and affirm strategies to ensure the mission, objectives, policies and programs of AICP are transparent and accessible to all members.

Ethics: Maintain and enforce high standards for AICP member ethical and professional behavior as outlined in the AICP Code of Ethics. Promote the value of the Code to both employers and the communities planners serve.

  • Revise ethics case procedures, including evaluation of the roles of the Ethics Officer and Ethics Committee.
  • Enhance the quality and diversity of ethics training.
  • Establish a schedule for periodic reexamination and validation of the Code of Ethics.
  • Systematically and critically analyze ethical issues in the practice of planning.
  • For information and training purposes, provide an annual ethics report to members with appropriate information on actual ethics cases and issues.
  • Develop specific strategies for members to devote time and resources to the professional development of students, interns, beginning professionals, and other colleagues, with particular focus on promoting diversity within the profession.
  • Promote opportunities for members to do pro bono service by volunteering time and expertise to Community Planning Workshops, CPATs and other AICP outreach programs.

Core Standards: Maintain core and specialty competency standards for all stages of AICP certification, reflecting the career-long skills and knowledge necessary to excel as a professional planner.

  • Complete and adopt the AICP Core Competencies Initiative, promoting additional member input and understanding at all its development stages.
  • Establish a mechanism to ensure tangible links between the identified core competencies and AICP policies, programs, and initiatives.
  • Promote recognition and use of the core competencies with chapters, sections, divisions, academia, and others.
  • Reexamine and validate core competencies every five years.

Certification: Maintain and consistently improve the AICP certification process, including Advanced Specialty Certifications. Advocate for the acceptance and recognition of the AICP credential.

  • Evaluate and document the purpose and standards for AICP certification, including both the content of the Comprehensive Planning Examination (CPE) and the standards for Certification eligibility.
  • Plan and execute a comprehensive evaluation and reform of the CPE. Implement a short term strategy to update the CPE by developing new questions and subject matter outlines.
  • Plan and execute a comprehensive evaluation and reform of the CPE. Develop a longer term strategy that addresses the needs of an evolving profession, incorporates innovative testing methods and new AICP certification standards.
  • Explore how the CPE, Advanced Specialty Certification (ASC) exams and the Certification Maintenance (CM) program can be used to foster the objectives of APA and AICP, including those relating to adopted APA Policy Guides, emerging issues, planning trends, and best practices.
  • Work with chapters and divisions to establish standards and a support structure for exam preparation initiatives at the chapter and division level that ensures training for AICP candidates is relevant and effective
  • Periodically assess AICP certification eligibility standards and procedures to ensure they are consistently enforced through peer-review or other screening.
  • Reexamine and validate AICP certification standards and practices every five years.

Professional Development: Foster AICP member commitment to the profession through continuous learning and career-long professional development.

  • Establish goals and objectives for the AICP Certification Maintenance (CM) program.
  • Establish processes to evaluate how well the variety of CM offerings matches adopted core competencies.
  • Establish and enforce pre-qualification of CM providers and their offerings.
  • Enhance and make available the database of session/speaker evaluations as a means of facilitating high quality, high availability, and highly relevant CM-accredited offerings.
  • Periodically reexamine the balance and mix of content available in CM credit.
  • Re-examine the proportion offered at low cost or free to members, to assure that they serve the needs of members without undermining AICP partner-provider's contributions to the array of available credits
  • Reexamine and validate CM program goals, objectives, and standards every five years.
  • Promote the Community Assistance Program (CAP) training webinar and workshops to develop public engagement skills for potential CPAT team recruits.

Future of the Profession: Expand initiatives that will help strengthen the future of the planning profession. Embrace the importance of the future generation of planners, while drawing upon the knowledge of our experienced members.

  • Develop strategies that provide emerging professionals a clear path to AICP certification.
  • Affirm and promote membership engagement strategies at all career levels.
  • Recruit and mentor minority planners to advance in the profession and to earn their AICP credential.

Planning Education: Foster collaborative ties between students, planning educators, and planning practitioners. Strengthen the links between what is taught and what is practiced.

  • Regularize our direct engagement between AICP, APA, the Planning Accreditation Board (PAB), and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP).
  • Foster academic involvement in the formulation and maintenance of the AICP CPE and ASC exams.
  • Develop and maintain a mechanism to foster academic involvement in maintaining high quality levels of CM offerings.
  • Develop and provide opportunities for students to learn from and with planning practitioners.
  • With APA, develop specific strategies to further educate the public about planning issues and their relevance to our everyday lives.
  • Develop opportunities to include student participation as a resource in CPATs and CAP workshops.

Innovation and Relevancy: Foster knowledge and innovation in planning practices at all career stages. Promote knowledge of emerging planning issues, trends, and best practices. Recognize AICP's relevancy and potential as an international credential.

  • Continue to expand AICP as an internationally recognized credential by fostering relationships with planning organizations around the world.

Advocacy: Promote advocacy for social equity and justice. Serve the public interest and our communities by working to expand choice and opportunity for all persons.

  • Develop specific strategies to foster member contribution of pro bono time and effort in support of communities, especially to those lacking adequate planning resources.
  • Develop specific strategies to increase the opportunities for members of groups that are underrepresented within the profession to become professional planners and help them advance in the profession.
  • Explore opportunities to elevate equity and social justice in existing and new AICP programs and initiatives.
  • Continue to use the CPAT program as a vehicle for identifying and providing planning solutions to social equity issues.

Service: Provide excellent and member valued services. Ensure that all AICP programs and initiatives are clearly defined, cost effective, coordinated, and provide convenience to members.

  • Evaluate APA member satisfaction survey as it may impact AICP services
  • Evaluate the overlap and gaps of APA and AICP programs and initiatives to ensure their value and to reduce redundancy.
  • Assure effective connectivity with all generations of planners through new media.
  • Evaluate the usability of the CM logging system, and implement recommended improvements.

Management: Affirm and maintain clearly defined accountability strategies for the management of all AICP programs and initiatives.

  • Establish sunset evaluation provisions and regular justification review for all AICP programs and initiatives.
  • Establish a mechanism to provide greater visibility to APA leadership and members on AICP initiatives as they are developed.

Leadership and Integrity: Develop strategies, programs, and initiatives that take best advantage of member enthusiasm, collaboration, and volunteerism. Affirm and recognize the importance of AICP committees, and task forces, divisions, chapters, the Planning Accreditation Board (PAB), and AICP Professional Development Officers (PDOs) in advancing AICP objectives.

  • Expand the Community Planning Assistance Team (CPAT) program through effective marketing and collaboration with other professional organizations
  • Design a pilot program for international CPAT.
  • Provide assistance to chapters, divisions, and sections establishing CPAT programs or similar initiatives.
  • Foster volunteer and emerging leader involvement within APA through new resources and initiatives at the national and chapter levels.
  • Collaborate with the APA Chapter President's Council (CPC) to further support PDOs and related profession development activities. Establish additional standard operating procedures to support PDO initiatives, such as exam prep.
  • Support the efforts of the College of Fellows to encourage continued leadership by Fellows through the adopted Engagement Strategy.

Recognition: Recognize the good work of our members, with particular attention to their efforts that advance the profession and contribute to the success of others.

  • Consider additional incentives to foster volunteer activity.
  • Recognize significant volunteer efforts, including pro bono planning activities and contributions to the work of APA and AICP.
  • Give the AICP President's Award for Exceptional Practice and other recognition, as appropriate.