Posts Tagged ‘Certification program’

Congratulations Theresa Gunn, IAP2 USA’s newest Master Certified Public Participation Professional (MCP3)!

January 26, 2017 Leave a comment

Theresa Gunn

Congratulations Theresa Gunn on becoming IAP2 USA’s newest Master Certified Public Participation Professional (MCP3).

Theresa has been with IAP2 since 1994 and has worn many hats. She has contributed in many ways within IAP2 and has been essential in molding IAP2 USA into the organization it is today. Her leadership service includes, but is not limited to:

  • Serving on the inaugural IAP2 USA Board of Directors from 2011-2012 where she oversaw the nascence of IAP2 USA
  • Serving on the first IAP2 Federation Board of Directors following the March 2010 decision to move to an Affiliate model, serving first as Treasurer, 2011-2012, and then as Deputy Presiding Member in 2013.
  • Theresa has chaired the Membership Services Committee, 2014-to-date, where she continues her work championing professional development for public participation practitioners.

Theresa is a huge proponent of the Professional Certification Program. It was a priority for her as a Federation board member where she was able to shepherd the process that gave IAP2 USA permission to develop the program.

“IAP2 USA is a global leader in establishing the gold standard for public participation. Professional Certification will ensure organizations relying on certified practitioners are going to get the best of the best, and community residents who are participating in these process will be assured these are transparent, open processes founded on research-based best practices.”

We congratulate Theresa Gunn on her successful completion of the Professional Certification Program and designation as a Master Certified Public Participation Professional (MCP3). We are grateful for her continuing support and admire how she embodies the IAP2 Core Values.

To learn more about Theresa Gunn, see our 2016 Member Spotlight.

Wendy Lowe: Improve your professional status!

April 25, 2016 Leave a comment

iap2mcp3Give your career a boost –
Get Certified by IAP2

Prove to your customers, employers, clients, or co-workers that you are a skilled and knowledgeable p2 practitioner. Many of us work in professional isolation, surrounded by other sorts of professionals like engineers, health care specialists, educators, or environmental scientists. When they question our professional judgment, we wonder, how can I prove that I know what I am doing?

Get Certified! Architects do it, engineers do it, facilitators do it, and public relations specialists do it. The idea is hardly new. Here is an example from another profession, the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), which certifies planners. Their website reads:

“The most recent APA/AICP Planners Salary Survey shows that certified planners earn more than non-certified planners, even when experience and responsibility are considered. It also opens more career opportunities, and can enhance a planner’s professional credibility.”

The same website goes on to note:

“Planners with an AICP certification have the academic qualifications, relevant work experience, and mastery of essential skills required to serve communities effectively. Hiring a certified planner demonstrates your commitment to the highest standard of ethical practice.”

Until 2015, no professional organization offered this type of rigorous vetting for Public Participation Practitioners (P2 Practitioners). The time is now, the opportunity is here, IAP2 USA now offers professional certification! IAP2’s certification program will do for P2 Practitioners what AICP has done for planners.

What exactly is professional certification? Professional certification entails independent verification by a panel of expert peers that a candidate has the qualifications to perform against a set of standards developed by the profession. Candidates can’t just brag about what they know and can do. Practitioners have to prove it by completing an assessment and demonstrating that they meet the core competencies required to do quality public participation work.

“I already took the IAP2 training. Why am I not certified?” Taking a training program, no matter how rigorous and well designed, does not provide validation of a candidate’s capability of using the information taught in a training program without formal testing and assessment.

IAP2’s Foundations Program is a 5-day training developed by practitioners for practitioners and covers the basic, essential information and skills all practitioners need to design, implement, and evaluate an effective public participation program. One of the reasons the Foundations program was renamed – from Certificate training – in 2014 was to avoid this misconception about “certification.” IAP2 USA has adopted this training because it covers the basic principles, information, and essential skills that are necessary for effective and ethical work in our field. There is no other training program that covers that material. For that reason, IAP2 USA’s Professional Certification program includes a pre-requisite of having completed the Foundations training program. Taking the training is a good start, but it is not enough. Certification can be earned after that training has been put into practice – much like a doctor doing a residency program.

The Certification Program is much more than a 5-day training program. It is based on a set of core competencies, developed in consultation with IAP2 members from around the world. It entails a three-step process designed to evaluate candidates’ performance against those core competencies. Submission of an application and portfolio of work products allows candidates to document prior work. Development of a response to a case study allows candidates to demonstrate their ability to perform P2 work. Finally, candidates have the opportunity to demonstrate a set of skills that are hard to verify using only written evidence at an in-person Assessment Center. These three steps provide the proof that candidates have what it takes to earn the highest credential for working in our field.


Your name here!

You can do it! Get Certified!
Raise the standards for the field of public participation and do your part to improve the practice. Those who achieve certification are a reflection on IAP2. Like a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, the professional certification program provides tangible evidence that IAP2 USA as an organization stands behind those who are certified and documents the organization’s confidence that they are capable of delivering public participation work that meets the highest standards and adheres to the ethical principles and core values that guide IAP2.

Please visit the IAP2 USA Certification webpage for further information about this new program. And if you are excited to have the body of your work evaluated, please submit an application by May 26 to be eligible for the next Assessment Center!

Certified-Certificate-Certification?? What’s in a word?

November 11, 2015 2 comments
Brenda Pichette

Brenda Pichette

Brenda Pichette, of the IAP2 Certification Task Force, explains why having a “Certificate” or attending the “Certificate Course” is not the same as being “Certified”.

Let’s bring some clarity to all of this. As P2 professionals we are starting to see IAP2 Certification as pre-requisites for jobs and for requirements in RFPs. That’s awesome: the public participation world out there is starting to recognize IAP2 as the standard-setter for the practice of P2. IAP2 has been developing and setting standards for the practice of public participation for more than twenty years. Yes, twenty years!

So here is where we are at. The five-day IAP2 “Certificate Program” (now called the Foundations course) offers you a “Certificate of Attendance”, but that is not the same as being “certified”. That’s because to date there has been no form of assessment to confirm that participants have the ability to apply knowledge and skills covered in the training, and attending the Foundations course cannot cover all the essential competencies in one short week. Again, attending the Foundations Course is not certification.

What is Certification?

Certification is a credential bestowed on an individual who can demonstrate that they have the essential competencies necessary for a profession. Certification requires successful completion of a formal assessment program to confirm an individual’s knowledge and skills. Certification identifies that an individual is qualified to perform a job or task and serves as a professional reference.

Certification often requires completion of specified courses, passing an exam, and/or assessment by an independent panel. Certification is not accreditation or licensing. Those processes have different purposes.

IAP2 is developing a Certification Program and once you successfully complete the 3 part assessment you will be certified. The IAP2 Foundations Program is a knowledge prerequisite for the Certification Program. The Foundations Program demonstrates basic understanding of the important principles and aspects of public involvement, as practiced by IAP2.

Professional certification will recognize the many individuals who already possess the essential competencies of a P2 practitioner – and provide an achievable goal for people joining our profession. If you haven’t already, please visit the webpage on the Certification Task Force. There, you can watch the webinars that have been developed to help you understand the program, the development and assessment process.

And please

PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD AND HELP US EDUCATE THE P2 WORLD ABOUT THIS. A certificate of attendance does not equate to certification.

Let’s Celebrate!

November 11, 2015 1 comment

Many of you have been asking for IAP2 Certification well it is here and we have a reason to celebrate! Yahoo, Yippee, WOW!

IAP2 USA is pleased to announce the completion of its pilot Assessment Center for the new professional certification program. We are even more pleased to announce that Steven Wolf, John Godec, and Douglas Sarno have all been awarded the Master Certified Public Participation Professional (MCP3).


The Task Force, which includes IAP2 USA members Debra Duerr, Tina Geiselbrecht, Cassie Hemphill, and Hannah Litzenberger as well as Brenda Pichette (representing IAP2 Canada) and Ken Smith (representing IAP2 Southern Africa), is chaired by Wendy Lowe, IAP2 USA Board member. Wendy reports that the Task Force remains hard at work finalizing its recommendation to the IAP2 USA Board for the final program and making plans for two 2016 Assessment Centers.

Wendy says, “I am so grateful to Steven, John, and Doug for participating in the pilot and helping the Task Force to learn more about the best way to assess candidates against the IAP2 Core Competencies. An amazing amount of work has gone into the program and it represents a huge step forward for IAP2. We are now able to say we can confirm which candidates have the essential skills for practicing authentic work in our profession.”

Are you interested in Certification? Click here for more information.

We hit our goal of 100!

June 26, 2014 Leave a comment

We hit our goal of 100 participants!

The IAP2 USA Board of Directors convened a Task Force in November 2013 to develop recommendations for developing a professional certification program. A Task Force of 13 people (which includes two people from IAP2 Canada and one from IAP2 Southern Africa) has met a total of 16 times (!) so far. Our most recent effort has been to survey members and other professionals to solicit input for development into the “core competencies” that will shape the application and assessment process we will recommend.


In order to stimulate enthusiasm in our survey, we conducted four webinars to explain what we have accomplished to date, define what we mean by core competencies, and share our plans for moving forward. A total of 53 people participated in the webinars. And more than 100 people have participated in our survey!   This is a visual depiction of what we have heard so far:

Our next task will be sorting through all of that to find those fundamental competencies that the most competent among us share.

We will keep you posted. Keep an eye on our website to to stay informed of our doings. And drop us a line at if you have thoughts to share.

Professional Certification: Program Development Has Begun

November 6, 2013 1 comment

IAP2 USA is pleased to announce that we are about to begin work on the development of a professional certification program.

IAP2 USA will lead this effort on behalf of the Federation.

  • What is Certification and how is it different from the existing Certificate Program?
  • What will the program entail?
  • How will the program be developed?

To learn more, visit the certification section of our website.

Please follow our blog to stay updated on the Certification Program.

If you’d like to contribute, you are invited to join the Certification Task Force. Please complete our volunteer sign-up form, and we’ll be in touch.