Professional graduate and undergraduate architecture programs receive accreditation

August 19, 2010

AAP’s professional master of architecture (M.Arch.) program has been accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). The graduate degree bolsters the professional programs offered by AAP’s Department of Architecture, which also offers a professional bachelor of architecture (B.Arch.). The accreditation of the highly ranked B.Arch. program was renewed by NAAB, which sent teams to Ithaca to review the programs last March and April.

The M.Arch. accreditation is effective from January 2009 and is for a three-year initial term, while the B.Arch. accreditation is effective January 2010 for a six-year term. Both accreditation terms represent the maximum duration for a reaccredited and initially accredited program, respectively.

“Hosting two accreditation visits in one semester was an extraordinary undertaking requiring the hard work and diligence of many people including administration, faculty, staff, students, and alumni,” said Professor Dagmar Richter, chair of the Department of Architecture. “The visiting teams’ reports speak to the strength of both programs and showcased the exceptional teaching, student work, and research of the department.”

Four graduates of the architecture program — Stephen Fong (B.Arch. ’78, M.Arch. ’82), Robert Joy (B.Arch. ’72), Daniel Kaplan (B.Arch. ’84), and Susan Rodriguez (B.Arch. ’81) — attended the accreditation visits as observers.

“The M.Arch.1 program has demonstrated its commitment to architecture education and the students,” says the NAAB report. “The visiting team found that a focus on the architect’s leadership role permeates the Cornell M.Arch. program. … The students in the program are highly engaged in shaping the purpose and identity of their academic community.”

The report noted the advantages of having the M.Arch. program within a major research institution like Cornell that has an “expectation for cross-disciplinary learning at all graduate levels.” It also mentions the opportunity to formalize the connection with other disciplines within AAP, like city and regional planning, and the professional program in landscape design, in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Both the undergraduate and graduate review teams determined that the condition of the college’s facilities, which had been major areas of concern, was no longer an accreditation obstacle with the construction of Paul Milstein Hall, scheduled to open in fall 2011.

“Construction is under way on the Paul Milstein Hall. … It will expand the facilities available to the professional program in architecture and will provide needed and useful flexible space,” says the report. “This significant investment, made at a time of increasingly scarce resources, is a major accomplishment by the program and the college. It is a heartening acknowledgement by the university of its commitment to professional architectural education.”

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