The Department of Architecture and Interior Design recently took an important step in its mission to gain accreditation for its B. Arch program from the National Architecture Accrediting Board (NAAB). Founded in 1940, the American organization is the oldest accrediting agency for architectural education in the United States and the sole agency authorized to accredit U.S. professional degree programs in architecture. As such, it sets watermark standards and procedures that have ensured that an NAAB-accredited degree is now required to practice in 37 of the 54 American jurisdictions.
“The School of Architecture and Design started its process of accreditation of various programs in 2012,” explains the school’s dean, Dr. Elie Haddad. “The interest in applying for NAAB accreditation for the Bachelor of Architecture program was based on the general university strategy, and in an effort to bring the program to the same level of similar programs in the U.S. and Canada.”
In order to fulfil the requirements for accreditation, the department undertook a stringent process, including rigorous self-assessment, curricular revision and improvement of its physical facilities. NAAB accreditation signals to students, employers and the public that a university program meets very high standards in terms of faculty, curriculum, student services and libraries.
An NAAB team from the U.S. first visited the department in 2013 and in November last year another team paid a second visit to assess the school. The second team, headed by Jane Frederick, and including Christopher Jarrett and Frank Guillot, noted the significant progress that was made since the first visit. “The visiting team examines the facilities, meets with students and faculty, conducts informal interviews, and last but not least reviews in detail all course files and the special exhibition of student projects and faculty work. Following that, they file an extended report covering all aspects of the curriculum, facilities and school administration.” says Haddad.
A final visit is set to take place in the spring or fall of 2018, after which NAAB accreditation may be granted to the architecture program, providing it meets all the interim objectives that have been set and all of the organization’s criteria. Once accredited, the program will be reviewed every eight years.
“Accreditation will ensure that we are meeting the highest standards in the discipline,” explains Haddad, “and will allow our graduates to integrate more easily into the American professional track, and to sit for the architectural registration exams in the U.S., if they wish to pursue a professional career there.”