A Year in Review: Message from 2021-2022 NAAB President Rebecca O’Neal

Election and service as NAAB President during the 2021–2022 governance year has been an honor. As I reflect upon the last year, I am especially proud of the work by the NAAB Board and staff to continuously advance equitable, clear, and efficient accreditation practices. This year’s collaborative efforts put forth by each member of the Board of Directors ensure effective NAAB service to programs, teams, chairs, students, and to the public.

Under the skilled leadership of Executive Director Tanya Tamarkin, more NAAB staff experts are available to answer your critical questions during the accreditation process, which has been well-received by programs and team chairs. Our ongoing series of accreditation focus groups, conducted by staff, is an excellent forum in which to relay your ideas, experiences, and observations directly to NAAB. Please strongly consider participating in a focus group post-visit if you are a team chair, team member, or program director. From this feedback, content is constantly added to the FAQ section of the website.

As part of implementing NAAB’s Strategic Plan, and with the goal of providing program quality assurance to students and the field at large, we continue to advance excellence in accreditation practices as a service to our 173 NAAB-accredited architecture programs. Many of NAAB’s accredited programs are effectively moving forward in the implementation of the 2020 Conditions and Procedures. The new Conditions are designed to foster increased diversity and encourage programs to build to their strengths through outcomes-based assessment. The revised Procedures facilitate a more efficient process for teams, chairs, and programs. NAAB offers specialized services in our international areas of operation including Education Evaluation Services for Architects (EESA) and International Certification (ICert). Thank you to NAAB Director of Global Operations Terron Scott for her productive international program leadership.

NAAB continues to promote the Shared Values of the Discipline and Profession with leaders of the Architecture Alliance, a collaboration promoting the discipline and profession of architecture. These shared values are further promoted by NAAB through the 2020 Conditions: DesignEnvironmental Stewardship and Professional ResponsibilityEquity, Diversity, and InclusionKnowledge and InnovationLeadership, Collaboration, and Community Engagement; and Lifelong Learning. The Alliance is composed of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS), the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), and the National Organization for Minority Architects (NOMA). At a recent meeting in Washington, DC on October 12, the Alliance members reiterated their commitment to the common goal of furthering architecture education, the profession, and practice.

NAAB continues to create new opportunities for sharing information, with the website serving as the primary venue and repository of the most up-to-date content.  

  • Mission provides an overview of the network of dedicated team–staff and volunteers–providing accreditation services
  • Accreditation Resources includes extensive resources for programs and teams to facilitate effective reporting and evaluation
  • Workshops and Program Trainings provides an overview of training modules, streamlined in response to feedback that was received during the last three cycles of visits
  • Funding offers more background on NAAB operations and financial support from the Collateral Organizations
  • Priorities for the Future focuses on NAAB’s strategic plan and commitment to quality assurance through a collaborative and supportive accreditation process

The current directors and staff have continued operations despite the challenges of the virtual environment. For the first time in nearly three years, the Board of Directors held its first in-person board meeting this July in Alexandria, VA. Due to the complexity and scope of accreditation reviews under the 2020 Conditions, it was valuable to engage in discussions and deliberations face-to-face. Virtual site visits are slated to occur through 2023, due to the uncertainty of participants’ ability to safely travel. The Board of Directors will continue to assess how the virtual environment can contribute to efficiencies in the future.

To better support programs, NAAB now offers “NAAB Office Hours” every fourth Wednesday of the month. This is an opportunity for program directors and faculty to engage with each other and the NAAB Accreditation Team, ask questions, and share best practices. Additionally, we encourage your participation in our upcoming Open Forum on October 19th. This is an open session where programs can bring questions about the current call for public comment on procedural changes. These changes are intended to align NAAB’s processes with accreditation practices for outcomes-based assessment and to provide equitable review of programs. The public comment is open until October 23, 2022, and NAAB welcomes your input. Please visit our website to comment and to learn more about the virtual session.

We are excited to offer the first in-person NAAB training opportunity in November at the ACSA Administrators Conference in Boston. Thank you to ACSA for the invitation to offer a NAAB workshop on Saturday, November 5, 2022. Our Accreditation Team is looking forward to engaging with program faculty at the upcoming workshop. All program administrators are encouraged to participate.

Welcome to newly elected officers, President-elect Stephen Schreiber, Secretary Michaele Pride, and Treasurer Kelly Hayes McAlonie. Welcome to newly elected directors Jeffrey L. Day, Michael Hricak, Enya Xu, Tian Feng, and Cynthia C. Jones.

Thank you to our incoming 2022-2023 Board President, Dave Hoffman and continuing board directors Gretchen Frickx, Carmina Sánchez-del-Valle, and Nyx Valerdy. Thank you to outgoing Secretary Raúl Rivera-Ortiz for his superb work during the “virtual years.” Thank you to outgoing director Damon Leverett for his dedicated commitment and efforts on behalf of the board to support qualitative architectural education. It was a privilege to join the NAAB with Directors Rivera-Ortiz and Leverett in 2019, and to have the opportunity to learn from them. Representing the voice of the architecture student, outgoing Director Annie Ringhofer provided copious hours of service to the NAAB. Public member Director Rhea Steele will be missed after years of her astute observations and cogent perspectives.

I feel fortunate to serve an additional year on the board in the role of Past President. I look forward to advancing continued implementation of the new 2020 Conditions and Procedures in partnership with incoming President Hoffman. President-elect Hoffman has been an essential member of NAAB’s leadership team this year, steadfast in his commitment to support programs through streamlining the NAAB accreditation process. Thank you to outgoing Past-President Marilys Nepomechie for her dedicated service this year and during her presidency to advance NAAB in assuring excellence in architectural education. Thank you especially to our volunteers for their commitment to the NAAB process of quality assurance. It would not be possible to do our work without your volunteer service and critical roles.

Thank you,

Rebecca Oneal Signature

Rebecca O’Neal
NAAB President 2021–2022