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Analysis of the National Architectural Accreditation 2010 Site Visit

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prepared by Dean Vernooy

22 April 2010


Contents

Overview:

The review team was excellent. They were well organized and perceptive. They were fair and they gave us a critical, yet constructive, view of our program. The top priority of the NAAB is the responsiveness of the program to concerns from the last site visit. This is followed closely by the willingness of the University and the Program to meet all of the “Conditions for Accreditation”. There are essentially 16 of these under 11 headings. The NAAB Team then reviews all of the “evidence of Student Performance Criteria”; there are 34 of these. Finally, the Team lists substantive and procedural concerns. “All of the core directions that Texas Tech’s architecture program has taken in the last six years – which our team believes have been monumental – are on target,” said Kenneth Lambia, Dean of the College of Architecture at the University of North Carolina – Charlotte and chair of the five member NAAB peer review team.


Responsiveness of the Program to concerns from the last visit:

In 2004 there was one condition “not met” and three substantive concerns—Professional Degrees and Curriculum, the image collection, curricular content expansion, and levels of staffing. The Team “dismissed” all four concerns citing that satisfactory progress had been made in all four areas.

Conditions for Accreditation

The Team determined that the College met all conditions for accreditation including one “well met”—Architecture Education and the Profession.

Student Performance Criteria (SPC)

The Team noted that the College had two SPC that were “well met”—Graphic Skills and Site Conditions. It also noted that it had seven (SPC) that were “not met”. Five of these are technical in nature and result from recent faculty loses. This concern was noted in the “Program Self-Assessment” section, 1.5.2, of our Architecture Program Report (APR) which was sent out in November of 2009. “The technology curriculum depends upon a retired but very good teacher. Currently we do not have someone to take his place. We hired a person a couple of years ago but we lost him to Tulane. We are looking for a new faculty member in this area who will start in the fall of 2010.” (A partial copy of the APR was distributed to the Provost and a full copy of the APR was distributed to the Vice Provost for Assessment.) We really need two new positions in this area, which we will have the opportunity to fill with the departure of Associate Professor Brian Rex. The search is complete and we have two good candidates. The sixth SPC concerns National and Regional Traditions. This is merely a lack of focus. We will adjust the curriculum to accommodate this important area of architecture education more thoroughly. The last SPC “not met” makes me angry—not at the Team; at my faculty. It deals with Accessibility. Like sustainability, this is a fundamental responsibility of an Architect. I do not usually dictate how they should teach; but, I will in this case. It will be the responsibility of all of our core studios—second through third year—and I will lay out what I expect for each of these four studios. For me, this has less to do with accreditation and more to do with societal responsibility.

Concerns

There were three concerns. Two concerns deal with the College and are not substantive; they are procedural—document input from students concerning the Studio Culture Policy and assess the effectiveness of curricular changes made. In section 1.5.2 of the APR I also noted, “The last two years have brought many changes to the College, which need to be ironed out. It will take a couple of years to finish this work.” The final concern has to do with the University. The Team noted building deficiencies in code related to Life Safety and Accessibility.

What is next?

The Team does not determine the accreditation of the program. It is done by the NAAB board in July based upon the findings of the Team. Noting the potential for national significance of the El Paso Program regarding issues of diversity within the profession of Architecture, for this visit, the Team and the NAAB agreed to treat our El Paso students as transfer students in order to give the College time to see that all the ‘Conditions for Accreditation’ are met in El Paso. This is a huge concession on their part and it demonstrates their support for what we are doing. I expect that they will require a return visit in three years. I would.