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Council Highlights: January 25, 2018 Meeting

On January 25, OAA Council met for the first time in 2018. The following are the highlights of the meeting, which took place at the OAA’s temporary Headquarters location at 1 Duncan Mill Road in Toronto. 
Election of Officers 2018
The annual Election of Officers was held at the January 25 meeting. President John K. Stephenson and Sr. Vice President and Treasurer Kathleen Kurtin were both acclaimed, resuming their positions for the new year. 
The following officers were elected by ballot: 
  • Vice President, Regulatory: Mélisa Audet;
  • Vice President, Practice: Walter Derhak;
  • Vice President, Strategic: Gordon Erskine; and
  • Vice President, Communications: Vanessa Fong. 
Each officer’s term of office begins on January 26, 2018, ending on the election day of their respective successors. Each officer’s term of office may not exceed 18 months.
Communications Content Review Committee
Last year, Council approved the formation of a Content Review Steering Committee—led by Vice President Vanessa Fong—to complete a full review of the process for content generation for the Association. Based on this research, and discussions with editors, writers and bloggers, Guiding Principles emerged, calling for for content that is:
  • timely;
  • reflective of our values;
  • reflective of our priorities;
  • reflective of what we know; 
  • reflective of the public’s concerns;
  • reflective of our resources; and
  • multifaceted.

The Actions outlined in the report included:
  • following a plan to transition material intended for OAA Perspectives into existing opportunities like digital vehicles;
  • focusing on content channelling rather than creation (e.g. using material from committees in new ways);
  • renewing the OAA Website to ensure it is accessible, organized, easily navigable, and bilingual;
  • understanding print content should be maintained for celebratory, commemorative and/or retention purposes (e.g. the Annual Report and Awards Book) that complement rather than duplicate OAA initiatives—further, the Conference Pocket Guide should evolve into an app, with minimal printed copies;
  • using both Conference and the Awards and Challenge programs as communications vehicles;
  • emphasizing relationships instead of advertising (e.g. instead of finding sponsorships for particular events, the OAA must look for relationships with likeminded partners to cross-promote the Association’s values);
  • accounting for legal considerations—copyright, ownership and authorship of imagery and those aspects specific to digital content are of utmost importance; and
  • realistic reflections on internal resources.
Council voted unanimously to receive the Content Steering Committee report, and approve its Guiding Principles and Actions. 
Awards Steering Committee: OAA Challenge Program
Vanessa Fong provided an update on the progress of the Challenge Program, and requested Council approve the launch timeline and proposed theme. (The OAA publicly announced last fall its adoption of a two-year cycle for its Awards Program, with Design Excellence Awards being offered in even-numbered years and a new Challenge Program in odd-numbered years.) 
In November 2017, Council had approved the contracting of communications consultants to assist in the design of the new program as well as make recommendations on branding and visual identity. Demonstrating how architects can be problem solvers and societal leaders, the program would be open to Interns, students and other OAA members who do not normally participate in the Design Excellence competition. 
Rather than built projects, entrants would be judged on their ideas’ abilities to inspire new ways of thinking. Submissions include videos, as well as policies, economic models and other documentation that shows the application of architectural thinking. Selected entrants would then find forms of recognition in lectures, publications, and digital initiatives that elevate the public perception of the value of architects. 
The program will be driven by five key principles:
  • architects are innovative;
  • architects are responsible;
  • architects are inspiring;
  • architects are inclusive; and
  • architecture is holistic. 
The OAA Awards Steering Committee recommended Council stay with (a) the proposed March 2018 program launch and (b) the suggested theme of “infrastructure,” as it is expected to attract broad interest within the profession without precluding OAA from expanding the scope of the program at a future date once it is more established. Council passed both these motions.
The Ontario Association for Applied Architectural Sciences (OAAAS), the technology program of the OAA, made its annual presentation to Council. This year, the association for technologists working in the architectural field celebrates its 15th anniversary.
Next meetings
The annual Council Priority Setting Session is scheduled for Thursday, February 8 and Friday, February 9 at the Westin Prince Hotel in Toronto. The next Council meeting will take place at the OAA temporary Headquarters on Thursday, March 8, 2018.