Membership Designation Working Group

The Membership Designation Working Group is part of the AIC structure.  The working group was formed in December of 2016 to investigate options for recognition of conservation and allied professionals within the organization and the field of conservation at large. 

Working Group Charge 

Working closely with the AIC Membership Committee and the AIC Education and Training Committee (ETC), the Member Designation Working Group will review, evaluate, and generate a proposal for revising and strengthening AIC’s membership categories to enhance demographic and professional specificity, to reflect the training and expertise of AIC’s current membership, and to support AIC’s ability to promote its members and the conservation profession. Evaluate concurrent exploration of certification by the certification sub-group and incorporate relevant findings as appropriate.

Proposed Working Group Activities:

  • Review current AIC membership categories and become familiar with current peer-review process
  • Conduct a survey and/or review relevant data from prior surveys to identify current demography and professional specialization of AIC membership
  • Evaluate the needs of the membership and potential benefits of new member designations, with consideration for the impact on AIC, and with consideration for the changing professional role of the conservator as well as allied professionals. Demographics of special concern, and specific action items, are:
    • Collection Care Professionals
      • Explore possibility of (and demand for) additional membership categories for allied professionals (e.g. collection care specialists) as well as a pathways for achieving this status should AIC membership support implementation
      • Review the results of the CCN survey on Collection Care Management Staff Titles
    • Conservators in Private Practice
      • Ensure that peer-reviewed membership designations meet the needs of conservators in private practice
    • Emerging Conservation Professionals
      • Review the process of becoming a professional conservator (including internships, graduate school, and post-graduate fellowships) with respect to the post-graduate employment climate as relevant to achieving peer-reviewed status in AIC
    • Assess the demand for a restructured peer-reviewed status through an evaluation of the changing profession
    • Develop new membership categories as necessary
    • Review, identify, and clarify eligibility criteria for all membership categories, old and new
      • Develop a proposal for maintaining peer-reviewed status via a continuing education requirement (this will include revisiting past ETC/Membership Committee discussions on the topic)
    • Evaluate how potential changes in the membership structure will impact AIC mission statement
    • Guide the activities of the Certification sub-group and consider their findings alongside the stated goals of the Member Designation Working Group

      Approved by the AIC Board of Directors:  April 28, 2017

Certification Sub-Group Charge

To assess, through systematic and objective research and the compilation of facts and data, the pros and cons of establishing a “certification” program for AIC members. 

  • What problems specific to the conservation profession is credentialing meant to resolve? What is the level of urgency for establishing a credentialing program for AIC members? Are these issues internal or external to the AIC? What role can/do AIC membership categories play in assessing credentials? 
  • What are some credentialing programs, including “certification,” that have been implemented by allied membership associations? How have such programs been created, operated, and maintained in Canada, England, and Australia? Which credentialing programs are still in force? Which ones are successful and why? Are credentialing programs envisioned by other organizations? 
  • What are the distinguishing features of a “certification” program? How does a “certification” program differ from other credentialing options? Why is a “certification” program a better rubric for AIC members in terms of successfully addressing ongoing problems? How will success be measured?
  • What are the financial costs of establishing and running a “certification” program? How would it be financially sustainable?
  • How will a “certification” program be designed and operated and by whom?
  • If allied organizations such as AAM, CAA, AAA, National Trust, and AIA, federal agencies such as the National Park Service or Department of the Interior, or private sector clients or employers consider credentials helpful, which ones need to be verified, i.e., membership status, education, experience?


  • Review the process, proposal, and results of previous efforts to create a “certification” program for AIC members.
  • Work alongside the Membership Designation Working Group. Share information to assist the working group in evaluating PA and Fellow categories and proposing any revisions to the current peer-reviewed membership structure.
  • In collaboration with the Membership Designation Working Group, monitor and review member-wide credentialing and “certification” program discussions on MemberFuse and other AIC-hosted social media platforms. Introduce topic-focused discussions along with compiled research data.
  • With the Membership Designation Working Group, provide draft proposals for AIC member discussion and develop survey questions based on viable proposals to assess level of buy-in.
  • Collaborate with the Membership Designation Working Group to develop any surveys, questionnaires, or outreach material intended for allied membership associations.
  • Compile a report to be incorporated into the Membership Designation Working Group report of recommendations to the AIC board of directors.

  • Approved by the AIC Board of Directors on September 29, 2017


  • Stephanie Lussier, Co-Chair
  • Deborah Lee Trupin, Co-Chair
  • Brenna Campbell, ETC Liaison
  • Jess Walthew, ECPN Liaison
  • Laura Hortz Stanton, CCN Liaison
  • Nancy Pollak
  • Joanna Dunn
  • Catherine Matsen
  • Sue Murphy, Board Liaison
  • Eryl Wentworth, Staff Liaison
  • Katelin Lee, Staff Liaison
  • Ryan Winfield, Staff Liaison
If you would like to contact the MDWG, please email and your message will be shared with the working group. Thank you.