Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What Is The Specialty Studies Committee, And What Does It Do?


Most ISA members’ appraisal practices fall under either/both of the traditional categories of personal property, Fine Art (FA) or Antiques and Residential Contents (ARC).  But many members specialize in a select type or subcategory of personal property.  Specialty Studies (SS) is the subcommittee of ISA’s education programming designed to serve those members whose specialized appraisal practices do not fall under (or who only appraise a select category of) FA and ARC, ISA’s other education subcommittees.

Like these other committees, SS is responsible for establishing educational standards for a member’s product (as opposed to process) knowledge.  However, unlike FA and ARC, for which ISA offers standardized courses and testing, the breadth and diversity of property possible under SS precludes a singular measure for determining a member’s property proficiency.  As an alternative process, SS offers an individualized solution for a member’s mandatory matriculation in five (5) years from member to accredited member (AM).

To apply for AM through specialty studies, members are first required to submit a resume/ curriculum vita to determine if SS is the most appropriate avenue for matriculation.  Once approved, the member prepares an application consistent of three (3) requirements:

1. A $500 application fee (less than the costs of either the FA or ARC courses)

2. A redacted, self-contained appraisal report for a non-cash charitable donation in               excess of $5,000 (also required for both FA and ARC AM)

3. And a 2000-2500 word (6-8 pages) thesis on appraising the specialty property

Members interested in matriculating through SS may contact Michelle Stearns, ISA’s Education Coordinator to learn more.

By allowing appraisers to dedicate their business to specialized properties while maintaining the same rigorous education standards and ensuring the client receives a product worthy of ISA’s designation, SS affords members with a time and cost effective, personalized pathway for accredited membership, as well as the designation of specialist.

--Scott W. Hale, ISA AM
Chair of ISA Specialty Studies (SS) Committee

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