Published: July 23, 2020
An interview by Ben Babcock, PhD, The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists
Jerry Reid, PhD, executive director of the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT), was honored with the Innovator Award at the 2019 ICE Exchange. The award recognizes an individual that, or an organization which, has created an innovative approach to a product, policy, process or system that transforms or achieves a new level of success in a unique and innovative way.
ICE’s Publications and Editorial Committee member Ben Babcock, PhD, supervising senior psychometrician at ARRT, recently spoke with Reid about his background with ARRT, innovation in the credentialing field and his work on the ICE Research and Development (R&D) Committee.
Could you tell us about your background and some milestones for achieving your current position as executive director at ARRT?
I started at ARRT in 1979 as director of psychometric services just as I was finishing my PhD from the Penn State University. ARRT had three solid certification programs at that time, but there were opportunities for enhancement by introducing more rigorous psychometric practices.
During my first board meeting on staff, I proposed several psychometric-related initiatives. These improvements included conducting practice analyses for all ARRT disciplines, creating special committees to do item writing and exam approval instead of the board directly doing that work, implementing more systematic standard setting methods and improving IT infrastructure to support ARRT's item bank and general operations. I thought that my slate of requests was aggressive and that the board would approve about half of them. Much to my surprise, they approved all of the suggested initiatives.
The years that followed involved building the psychometric and operational infrastructure to make ARRT a cutting edge credentialing organization. My work in programing the IT components led to my role expanding beyond the role of director of psychometric services. When it came time to select a new executive director, the board requested that I take the position. I have been the executive director since 1992.
What is one big idea or innovation that you feel the credentialing industry will tackle in the next 10 years?
My hope is that the industry will think about its interests and purpose more broadly than just providing traditional certification programs. The scope of credentialing organizations should be anything within the realm of recognition of personnel qualifications. It is much more than just providing what people think of as traditional certifications.
What are one or two innovations that ARRT has implemented since you have been executive director that make you proud?
While I am proud of many of ARRT's accomplishments, I will mention two. The first is ARRT's Continuing Qualifications Requirements program, or CQR. We introduced CQR to help our certificants maintain their credentials across their careers. The individual CQR components (i.e., professional profile, structured self-assessment and targeted continuing education) were very well thought out. We also built tools to help guide certificants through completing the process. I am very proud of the approach that we took to help professionals maintain their qualifications.
Professionalizing ARRT’s staff is a second item that makes me proud. ARRT had 12 staff members when I came on staff in 1979. Everyone did a little bit of everything at that time. We now have more than 100 staff, which allows us to do a much better job of aligning jobs with people’s skill sets. ARRT has a much greater capacity to carry out new initiatives because of our professionalized staff.
Tell me about your time with the ICE R&D Committee. What are two things you and the team have accomplished to help strengthen ICE and credentialing more generally?
I would first like to mention that Jim Henderson and John Wickett provided excellent leadership for the R&D Committee during my time with the group. They were a big part of the committee's success.
As for what we did to strengthen credentialing, I will highlight two things. First, the task forces enriched the credentialing literature by producing a collection of writings that synthesized existing research and produced new research findings that can help guide the credentialing community in best practices.
Second, working with ICE Executive Director Denise Roosendaal and John Wickett to create a strategy statement for the R&D Committee was a big accomplishment. The statement provides a roadmap for this group. Having a clear direction through stating purpose and strategy is extremely important to any initiative.
With the research you have conducted with the ICE R&D Committee, has a result ever come back that really pointed out a way that the credentialing industry could improve and then indeed improved in the industry?
Let me answer the first part of that question. I wrote the chapter titled "Constructs, Models, and Messaging" in the recently published third edition of Certification: The ICE Handbook. Much of the inspiration for what I wrote came from my work and experiences on the R&D Committee. In the chapter, I outlined how credentialing organizations have an opportunity to provide a stronger message about what their credentials are supposed to communicate to consumers. My hope is that organizations will use their own claims about their credentials to guide the development process for all of their credentialing requirements. The chapter is new, so I hope that it will have a positive impact into the future, but only time will tell.
What drew you to join the ICE R&D Committee?
First, the committee seemed like a natural fit considering my background and interests in research. Second, I knew and admired the people already on the committee. Time has shown that it was a great fit for me.
The winner of the 2055 ICE Innovator Award may just be fresh out of graduate school. What is your message to that person?
Learn from the credentialing community. When people graduate, they sometimes think that what they learned in school is the only way to do things, which is not the case. It is extremely important to talk with other credentialing organizations so the additional knowledge can be leveraged to your organization's advantage. The sharing of experiences and key information is an important benefit of belonging to ICE.
To the future ICE Innovator Award winner, I would advise being an active participant and contributor; it is not enough to join. Being an active participant will help make you and your organization better.