Ethics Case of the Year Delivers Compelling Training from Real Life Planning

You may have heard this from AICP members in your chapter: They’re nearing the end of their Certification Maintenance (CM) reporting period and have their required 32 credits, including 1.5 law credits, but are missing their ethics credits.

You remind them that they can’t close their CM reporting period without it, but luckily, the chapter conference is coming up, and the conference presents a perfect opportunity to earn the needed 1.5 ethics credits by attending a 90-minute ethics presentation.

“Why,” they may ask, “do I have to sit through 90 minutes of ethics?”

The answer is that it's required so they can refresh themselves on the AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct once every two years. The code is the foundation of who we are as certified planners. It sets us apart and tells our employers, colleagues, and communities that we adhere to a strict ethical standard.

What Is the AICP Ethics Case of the Year?

A great place to begin pulling together ideas for an engaging ethics session at your chapter conference is the AICP Ethics Case of the Year.

Each year's case is a series of ethical scenarios based on real-life planning issues from the past year, prepared by the Ethics Officer and the AICP Ethics Committee. Names and locations have been changed, but the substance of the cases has not.

Each year, the Ethics Officer reviews the misconduct cases and informal inquiries that were submitted with the Ethics Committee and cases with the broadest application and highest interest are selected.

This year, the 2019 Case of the Year was debuted at the National Planning Conference in San Francisco in front of hundreds of planners. This allowed the Ethics Officer and the Ethics Committee to refine the presentation so that it most accurately depicts real situations from around the country.

Training Tips

  • To prepare an Ethics Case of the Year presentation, simply download the PowerPoint presentation and add your reference information. Be sure to prepare ahead of time to familiarize yourself with the Code of Ethics citations that are referenced in each case.
  • Keep the audience engaged by making the presentation as interactive as possible.
  • Consider pausing after each scenario to ask audience members if they see an ethical issue. Ask them to identify the applicable Code of Ethics citations, and be sure to allow time for discussion and thinking through their own behavior in similar situations. We all learn and retain information best when we’re engaged in the conversation.

Presenting the Ethics Case of the Year is the perfect opportunity to remove any preconceived ideas surrounding the topic and make it the most anticipated session at your conference.

Remember to make it refreshing, engaging, and most of all, grounded in who we are as AICP-certified planners.

Top image: Compass needle pointing to ethics.


Headshot of Karen Wolf.
About the Author

Karen Wolf, FAICP

Karen Wolf is the AICP Commissioner from Region V. She has more than two decades of planning experience in King County, Washington, and has been an adjunct professor and guest lecturer at the University of Washington. She served on the AICP Exam Committee and on the committee for the AICP Certified Environmental Planner exam.

June 14, 2019

By Karen Wolf, FAICP