We would like to express our gratitude to those who gave us feedback on the proposed revisions to the NAAB Procedures for Accreditation this past fall. The proposed revisions are designed to streamline and improve the accreditation process to support excellence in architectural education. Your review and comments help ensure that we are enacting changes that will achieve just that.
At its October 27–28, 2022 meeting, the Board of Directors reviewed both the proposed revisions and all of the feedback that we received from the Open Forum, the public comment period, and our collateral organizations. As part of that process, the Board made several changes to the proposed revisions in response to the feedback and approved the revisions, to be effective January 1, 2023.
Below is a summary of the approved changes to the 2020 Procedures.
- Annual Report Policy: Describes interim steps, including a Special Report and Plan to Correct, for programs that cannot demonstrate ongoing compliance with the Conditions at the time of the Annual Report. Programs are provided opportunities to address deficiencies in an iterative process without detriment to their accreditation status and term.
- Annual Report Form: Updated to provide accredited programs with an opportunity to demonstrate ongoing compliance with the outcomes-based 2020 Conditions. This update streamlines the reporting requirements, removes the need for an Interim Progress Report under the 2020 Conditions, and presents accredited programs with on-going feedback from the Board of Directors on programs’ assessment practices.
- NAAB will distribute a template of the Annual Report to programs early in 2023.
- Programs will be provided with training on the Annual Report form, with live webinars scheduled on March 1 from 12pm-1pm and on September 12, from 12pm-1pm. Registration links will be sent in a separate notice.
- Special Report: A Special Report will be required when the Annual Report shows that a program has areas of non-compliance. The combination of the Special Report and expanded Annual Report fulfill the purpose of the Interim Progress Report which is being eliminated.
Revisions made to the Annual Report form in response to feedback from the Public Comment period: The submission due date for the Annual Report was moved from December 30 to December 15.
- Conflict of Interest Policy: Revised to reflect the best practices of institutional and programmatic accreditation.
- Plan to Correct Policy: Updated to provide programs with additional time to prepare their Plans to Correct. If programs have been determined by the board to be out of compliance with Conditions, programs may be asked to submit a Plan to Correct. Notification that a Plan to Correct is being required will go out to programs within 30 days of the board’s decision. Plans to Correct will be due on June 30 for visits that occurred in spring of the prior year and on December 15 for visits that occurred in the fall of the prior year.
Revisions made to the Plan to Correct policy in response to feedback from the Public Comment period: The Board amended the policy to add an additional one-year notification period prior to moving to probation. “In the event a program’s Plan to Correct does not demonstrate compliance with Conditions for Accreditation within two years, continue the Plan to Correct, place the program on notice for a period not to exceed one (1) year, and inform the institution’s Chief Academic Officer. If the program’s Plan to Correct does not demonstrate compliance with the Conditions following this year of notice, the program will be placed on probation, and a focused visit will be required.”
- Accreditation Review Committee (ARC): The ARC is responsible for conducting reviews of annual accreditation maintenance reports, including the Annual Report, Special Report, and Plan to Correct, and making recommendations to the Board regarding programs’ compliance with the 2020 Conditions and Procedures. Members of this committee will be appointed by the NAAB president following a public call, review, and selection.
Revisions made to the ARC policy in response to feedback from the Public Comment period:
- The Board added clarifying language to highlight that the ARC will be composed of educators, practitioners, and regulators and that members should have served on a minimum of one NAAB accreditation visit within the past five years and received a positive evaluation.
- The Board also added language that ARC members shall represent a diversity of professional roles, demographics, and experience.
- The Board added language to highlight that, like all NAAB volunteers, members are subject to NAAB’s conflict of interest, confidentiality, and other applicable policies.
- Finally, the Board added a step to the review of applicants to the ARC: NAAB staff members will review applications and forward those that meet eligibility criteria to the NAAB president for review and appointment.
- Administrative Probation Policy: Identifies NAAB’s actions for programs that fail to submit required reports, fees, or other required materials, after required deadlines and subsequent reminders.
- Optional Response to the VTR: Provides programs with the opportunity to send the Board a response to the VTR for consideration in the accreditation decision. This response may provide additional contextual information and/or evidence demonstrating compliance with Conditions noted as “not met”/“not demonstrated.” For programs with spring site visits, the optional response is due August 1 of the same year. For programs with fall site visits, the optional response is due February 1 of the following year.
We hope that these changes will further assist programs in their accreditation compliance efforts and will support NAAB visiting teams in conducting on-site reviews. The revised Procedures are available on NAAB’s website at https://www.naab.org/accreditation/conditions-and-procedures/.