I came across this report hidden on a side panel of my state's chapter website. It's a long read but the summary I came away with is that ASLA wants as many full members as it can get. ASLA needs the revenue of full membership and wants minimal standards and accreditation for someone to achieve FULL membership.
ASLA wants the profession to get the respect that Architects receive without their stringent standards. Bottom line: AIA requires Licensure. ASLA requires.....well a little experience, some education and..oh most importantly the FEE to buy your FULL membership. I guess they just like selling magazines and not investing in the quality of their professionals.
I have to say I have been very disappointed over the years with ASLA and what I get as a member in return. I am a big advocate for the profession and have carried that torch, but the value of being able to use 'ASLA' after my name has diminished greatly. I still use 'RLA' or 'Landscape Architect' because of my licensure, because I feel it denotes a professional achievement, responsibility and reputation that I carry and with which I operate my practice. I know ASLA is more than a magazine and convention organizer, but I realized over the last 2 years (of recession) that the $400-$500 I was spending on membership for both national and state dues could be utilized in other, more professionally relevant ways. Instead of that money spent on dues, I attend more locally hosted conferences that are usually more relevant and interesting than national meetings. I did enjoy the travel of the ASLA meetings, but in these economic times, I can do a lot more with the $1500 it takes to go to one.
I may one day rejoin ASLA, but many things will need to happen before then. I don't think I will ever put those four letters after my name again, though.
What is the issue here? Being a member of the ASLA does not equal a professional license, not even close. I can't fault them for trying to get as many members as possible as well.
I have no real opinion here on their ability / inability in investing in the quality of the professionals. What would you like to see from them? Would you like to see them keep out all unlicensed professionals, or must we have a separate distinction for the ASLD?
I would maintain that you would be hard pressed to find another professional association that advances the work of landscape architecture more than ASLA. From national efforts, like meeting with national legislators last week, seeking support on several House and Senate bills up for consideration, which would help provide more work for landscape architects in areas of transportation, green infrastructure and complete streets, and others that promote better stewardship of our environment.
Based on that alone it would be foolish to prevent non-RLA's from ASLA membership. We all work in the same field, albeit with differing levels of responsibility and experience. However when the economy goes south, we all suffer equally. If by having more members increases their ability to be advocates then it makes complete sense to allow all-inclusive membership.
That bill in Florida will be a nightmare and a huge setback for the profession.
The local chapters also are a contact point with legislators in your state, and assist to define what parts of practice and LA can or cannot stamp. It is needed because of the vastly more well represented architect and engineer lobby who would just prefer we go away so they get all the work. There is even a fight between ARCHITECTS and ENGINEERS in Texas right now, with engineers claiming that since they do the structure of a buildings, they should be able to stamp full blown architectural plans. This infighting of allied professions shows just how serious it is getting in this economy for revenue. As Eric has stated, ASLA has been right there defending the practice where it has been challenged, and worked very hard for years to finally have either a title act or practice act in ALL 50 STATES. That is not to be taken lightly.
With my chapter (of which I am a board member), we are the primary point of contact for the state licensing agency, and we have been been working with them to query and develop a continuing education system for the RLAs of the state, like all other professions they regulate.
Could ASLA do more? Certainly, but ASLA has come a loooong way from what it had been just a few years ago with a small staff and a comparitively small budget. I agree that this "inclusiveness" issue is troubling. Having non-licensed LAs being full members (and using ASLA at the end of their name) makes having the designation less professional. You MUST be licensed to use AIA at the end of your name, same should hold true for LAs. I think that diluting the moniker may lead to more people who ARE full members leaving. Keep in mind, many LAs don't belong either because they are starting out and don't have the cash to for a membership, or are don't see the value of membership and what ASLA actually does for them behind the scenes to allow them to practice. If you want to be a full member, suck it up and get your license. I don't care what you do, if you are qualified, you should get licensed, no excuses.
Since 1970 I have been aware of ASLA's so called mission to educate the public about landscape architecture. I was a full member for 15 years+or-..I don't even want to know what I spent....My wife would probably chide me for such wasteful folly...I was a believer though and bought the hype......still would like to be...
Today in 2011, I still find that the general public is as ignorant as ever as to our work....I see absolutely zero advancement
in public awareness in these 41 years so I am very dissapointed in the lack of results...after all, how much are they taking in now annually in dues? You dues payers should be livid.....oh well, you did get our favorite Tennessee son and huckster alGore to give the keynote address a year or two ago in SF...that must have been a real snooze fest....
I would have paid to see Halprin!
that turned out much better that I thought.
ASLA and LEED should get together!
add a bunch of letters after your name with no meaning.
I'm RLA and proud of that...worked hard to get it. Sometimes I'm asla, sometimes not...NEVER have I put ASLA after my name though. means nothing other than I can pay some dues. I do like the magazine though.
neither deals with health, safety and wellfare really...
I have to agree about the lack of a real public awareness campaign about landscape architecture. Granted we are a much smaller group than, lets say, AIA, but how often do architects and engineers have to explain what they do professionally? Several years ago, I was watching a PBS show and AIA was a sponsor. Their add was extraordinary. A few weeks later, I saw a similar AIA add on CBS' Sunday Morning. When was the last time I head the professional name "landscape architect" on general public or broadcast TV? Believe it or not - The Simpsons! We have a long long way to go in educating the general public on what we do.
If I felt that ASLA dues were going into a broad reaching campaign to educate the public (and future clients) about landscape architecture, I might consider joining again.