Message from the President

It is an honor to serve as NAAB President for the 2021-2022 governance year. Despite the restrictions of the pandemic, the board entered 2022 with significant momentum and resilience due to the steadfast efforts of the directors, current and past board leadership, and the executive director and NAAB staff. Considerable progress has occurred via NAAB committee, subcommittee, workgroup, and task force structures for each of the NAAB strategic plan goals (excellence in accreditation, voice of architectural accreditation and evaluation, international, and organizational vibrancy).

Architecture programs, visiting team volunteers, and visiting team chairs have demonstrated admirable fortitude in adjusting to the virtual site visit format and in beginning the transition to the 2020 Conditions and Procedures. It is widely known that the 2020 Conditions and Procedures were developed in an unprecedented multi-year collaborative process with representatives from ACSA, AIA, AIAS, NAAB, NCARB, and NOMA. In the spirit of continued collaboration and transparency, NAAB continues to solicit feedback from these partners and from participants in the accreditation process. We are pleased to be included in the newly formed Architecture Organizations Alliance with the other five boards.

Beyond board and committee work, as NAAB President there are substantial opportunities to work with architecture educators, architecture professionals, and architecture students. This year’s presidential agenda has included:

  • participation on the President’s Panel at AIAS Forum
  • NAAB Business Meeting with ACSA, AIA, AIAS, and NCARB
  • presentation and discussion with the ACSA Board at the ACSA conference in Los Angeles, with president-elect Dave Hoffman
  • presentation to NCARB Region 3 Southern Conference in Birmingham, AL
  • presentation and participation to the Architecture Organizations Alliance at the “Senior Leadership Summit” hosted by NCARB at the offices of NCARB in DC.
  • participation in the Canadian Architectural Certification Board meeting

After two years of virtual interaction due to the pandemic, followed by this year’s increasing in-person interaction between the Alliance leaders, the partnerships between the architecture organizations feel substantial and meaningful. Still in 2022, NAAB is invited to attend the NOMA conference in Nashville in October. NAAB has also been invited to host a session at the next ACSA Administrators Conference in Boston in November.

The shared goals agreed upon at the AR’19 Forum continue to form the structure for the assessment and evaluation process. As a reminder the shared values of the discipline and profession, determined at the forum and codified in the 2020 Conditions, are: Design; Environmental Stewardship and Professional Responsibility; Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; Knowledge and Innovation; Leadership, Collaboration, and Community Engagement; and Lifelong Learning. The conditions evaluated through the 2020 C&P include outcomes-based assessment of both Program Criteria and Student Criteria.

Focus groups are providing invaluable feedback and data from programs, teams, and team chairs. Ongoing methods and opportunities for fostering NAAB’s partnership with programs are in development by our Assessment and Evaluation Committee. This process of acquiring candid and actionable input from programs is informing future training offerings from NAAB and is delivering important topics for consideration by the board directors. As more programs progress in using the 2020 Conditions, best practices will emerge and will be made available in training formats and resources.

Virtual site visits will continue through 2023. Past training sessions are located on the NAAB workshops and program trainings page at, and accreditation resources and FAQ’s continue to expand. Organizationally, under the impressive leadership of Executive Director Tanya Tamarkin, NAAB is actively pursuing best practices in accreditation including the development of an accreditation management system, which is well underway. These improvements are intended to streamline the process for both programs and evaluators. In an exceptional effort, the NAAB staff has advanced these improvements.

Respectfully, I would like to acknowledge the passing of former NAAB employee Janet Rumbarger, known by many of you through her work on international aspects of NAAB’s efforts. Her committed years of service to the advancement of the education and practice of architecture are valued and admired.

In conclusion, thank you to the faculty and students, to current and previous board members, to the Alliance organizations, to the NAAB staff team, and to all NAAB academic and professional volunteers for your flexibility and for your devotion of valuable time in the service of advancing architecture education. Because your collective efforts and contributions are the strength of this organization, I am optimistic about the future.

Rebecca O’Neal
2021-2022 President