(Video is captioned. It is not a verbatim transcript of the English, but it does cover the same material.)
During the RID Board of Directors meeting on August 6, 2015, the Board passed a motion to place a moratorium on credentialing as of January 1, 2016. This decision was announced during the conference as well as live streamed, on a number of different occasions.
We understand that that announcement left some of you wanting more information. The Board itself struggled with the options to hold the announcement until more information was available or to share it immediately at the conference.
While we knew there would be questions we couldn’t answer at the time, we ultimately decided to share it immediately for a number of reasons.
- Opportunity for discussion – Being onsite at conference among members and stakeholders was a great opportunity for dialogue and feedback on the decision – to start the conversation
- Transparency – we didn’t want to appear disingenuous by holding this information when certification was a topic of many forums and discussions.
- Fair to candidates – provide as much time as possible for those who wish to take the exam before the onset of the moratorium.
Since the announcement, we have had the opportunity to put together more information to help clarify how the moratorium will be implemented. A set of FAQs have been loaded to the RID website and provide more guidance on the administrative part of the moratorium.
But we know the conversation out there is more than just what the FAQs cover – more than the administrative questions.
So, this vlog will address some of your more substantive questions related to how and why and what this means. The dialogue and questions received at the conference as well as the conversations happening in the community – have helped us to understand the information that you seek about this decision.
One of the biggest questions we have been getting since the initial announcement is the why? And why now instead of waiting until after the planned Risk Assessment? Please let me explain the rationale for the decision.
Timeline of events that led to decision:
- In July the Board received recommendations from the Certification Committee to sunset a number of credentials that have aged out.
- During the July Board of Directors meeting, the Board decided to hold a decision on the recommendations from the CC until after the Risk Assessment was completed. This decision was unsatisfactory to the CC and they submitted a letter to the NAD and RID boards asking that the no-action response be reconsidered.
- During the August Board of Directors meeting, the topic of the CC recommendations was raised again by the Board Liaison to the CC, Melvin Walker. After careful consider, the Board decided that if a pause of any exam was to happen, then a pause of all exams needed to happen until we get the results of the Risk Assessment.
But why did the Board decide that the pause would apply to all credentials when the CC only recommended some credentials?
There are a number of items at play in this decision.
The certification program is a holistic program in which one part impacts the whole. We have spent years looking at certification as piecemeal. NIC, CDI, CI, CT, SC:L, etc. We must start talking about our certification program and the credentials we award as one – since test revisions and maintenance impact the whole of RID.
Investment into certification is an investment in the whole program. When one test is revised, it impacts the available resources for the other tests. Therefore a decision on any one credential must be made within the framework of the whole certification picture.
The Certification Committee works within their scope of work – which is to focus on the exams and the Certification Program. When their recommendations come to the Board, the Board then needs to consider their recommendations within the framework of the entire socio-political context of RID, which includes:
- our stakeholders and partners,
- our members,
- the organization’s fiscal health,
- the financial impact of needed revisions and maintenance on the organization both short and long-term
- the scope of work of all programs and services
- potential risk
The Board, who are the elected officials of the organization and have ultimate fiduciary responsibility, has to put the recommendations of any volunteer member group into the broader context of the organization. So, while the CC may have only recommended some credentials, the Board needed to look at that recommendation through a wide lens and overall impact – which is why the pause was implemented on all credentials during the moratorium.
Now, you may be asking – what about the OTC? The Board put a sunset on the OTC making the decision on one credential without looking at the whole?
Yes, the Board made the decision to sunset the OTC based on the fact that there is not a market for the exam anymore since data shows the declining number of test-takers over the past few years. In fact, only one exam was administered in fiscal year 2014. So, although the Board appreciates the symbolic value of offering the OTC in recognizing the communication preferences of some deaf and hard-of-hearing people, it is simply not possible to invest in upgrading or revising a test for which there is no income. RID remains a modest size national organization with a modest budget.
Additionally, this decision was made prior to the discussion about the moratorium on all credentials via a separate discussion. However, the membership overturned the Board’s decision via a member vote at the business meeting so that the OTC will be a part of consideration of the overall Risk Assessment of the Certification Program.
While the members did overturn the Board’s decision, the RID Board, as any nonprofit association board, has legal responsibilities that must be met first and foremost. It is this authority that allows us to make decisions related to programs, services, procedures or policies that are in the best interest of the future health of the organization. Again, it goes back to what each individual member role is versus the wide lens of impact for which the Board must act. And while RID is member-driven, the legal responsibility of the organization falls on the elected Board of Directors and not the entirety of the membership.
Another element that has made its way into the discussion are the pending Lawsuits that are public knowledge. We have seen the question…did those drive the decision on the moratorium?
No, the lawsuits did not drive the decision on the moratorium. There are two active legal cases regarding the NIC. These are being actively litigated, following the normal course of civil litigation, and are being vigorously represented by RID’s highly competent attorneys. They are taking the appropriate course of action to protect the interests of RID. Beyond that, RID will not discuss the details of current legal matters.
However, I can tell you that these lawsuits did not affect the decision to place the moratorium on credentialing. The timing of the lawsuits and the moratorium are a coincidence. It was the insistence of the CC that the need to sunset certain tests, coupled with the overall socio-political context of the association at this point in time, that were the deciding factors.
We acknowledge that in the future, we can do a better job of informing the membership when a public, legal matter presents itself, and we have authorization from legal counsel to share the information. Of course, first and foremost, our duty is to protect the organization, but we will strive to be more proactive in sharing information that we are able without putting the organization at risk.
RID is lucky to have such fully engaged membership – people who are passionate about the future of the organization, the future of the profession. We will continue to share information about the moratorium and the Risk Assessment as the work continues over the next few months. We will continue to look to your feedback and dialogue.