The Mission of the National Architectural Accreditation Board, as stated in the 1998 C&P, has historically been to "assist programs in fulfilling the broad requirements of the profession of architecture."
Given the increasing globalization of the profession, including American architects practicing throughout the world, architects from other countries increasingly seeking to work in the United States, and professional organizations from a number of countries seeking the advice and help of the NAAB in developing educational standards in their own countries, it seems evident that the NAAB has an implied obligation to provide assistance when it is requested, and when it truly can be of benefit to those nations.
In undertaking to provide such assistance, it is essential that the NAAB follow clear policies covering the services it can provide, under what conditions they will be provided, and limitations to the assistance.
The assistance and services NAAB can provide:
The NAAB can provide information on architectural education in the United States and the way in which the accrediting process operates in this country.
This process can be related to the nature of architectural practice in the United States, as well as our own culture, history and language. It is important to demonstrate our own awareness that professional practice and education in other cultures will differ from our own, and that it is not our intention to act in a paternalistic manner.
The NAAB can form teams of U.S. professionals to undertake on-site visits of schools in other countries. In anticipation of such visits, the schools may be asked to prepare a report on their present educational standards, equivalent to our APR. The visiting team may produce a written report similar to a VTR, but should be careful to not give the impression that the NAAB accredits the schools.
The NAAB can invite professionals from other nations to join accrediting teams in the United States as observers, while being clear that their role is limited to observing the process. The assistance can be provided under the following conditions:
1. The request for assistance is made by an entity or authority which is charged with the responsibility, and has authority for, architectural education, licensing, and/or certification to practice – it may be a school, a professional organization, or a government agency.
2. The request is for information about accreditation, descriptions of the process(es) followed, examples of conditions and criteria as they relate to our own situation. The NAAB will recognize its obligation to provide revised updated versions of documents (such as the C&P) as the revisions are published.
3. The nature of the assistance that the NAAB can provide is not misunderstood. It is not within the NAAB’s purview to validate, or appear to accredit, schools in other countries.
4. The anticipated commitment of NAAB staff or volunteer time is clearly stated. A reasonable timetable, and magnitude of staff and/or volunteer time committed to the project, should be produced.
5. Financial support will be provided by the requesting authority, in advance, for the assistance requested. The NAAB will need to prepare a budget detailing time and other costs associated with providing the assistance; the requesting authority will need to assure the NAAB, in writing, that these costs will be covered.
6. The requesting country recognizes that the accreditation process will have to be accomplished by the profession within that particular country. NAAB visits to foreign programs are not accrediting visits, but are for consultation only. "