ARForum19 Insights - April, 2019
Overview of Steering Committee Process
Context: The ARForum19 Steering Committee is composed of representatives from each of the five collateral architectural organizations: ACSA, AIA, AIAS, NCARB, and NAAB. NAAB president Kevin Flynn, FAIA, chairs the steering committee while NAAB president-elect Barbara Sestak, FAIA, chairs the ARForum19 Task Force.

Process: The ARForum19 Steering Committee has held three in-person meetings—in Washington, DC, and Annapolis in 2018, and Pittsburgh in 2019—and continues to meet virtually. The group began by identifying the big ideas and themes that would drive the future of architecture education and the accreditation process., It has now moved into considering future versions of the NAAB Conditions for Accreditation .

Goals: The immediate goal is to discover and build consensus among the five collaterals regarding the educational and professional continuum in architecture. The intent is to establish productive pathways for advancing the discipline of architecture as a significant contributor to the enrichment of human culture and society in 2019 and beyond.

Progress: After establishing a process for preparing for ARForum19 in Chicago in July 2019, the committee engaged in lengthy discussions to establish the larger themes and ideas. The representatives from the five collaterals have provided (and continue to provide) feedback from their constituents through focus group sessions, which will continue until the forum.

Based on numerous exercises regarding the big ideas and discussion with accreditation experts from other disciplines, including engineering, law, and public health, the ARForum19 Steering Committee began considering the current NAAB Conditions . The committee divided into three working groups to develop an approach/scenario for the future NAAB Conditions . Each approach offers slight differences, but all point to consensus among the collaterals about the future of architecture accreditation and the professional continuum.

The three proposals streamline the accreditation process by allowing flexibility for schools to build their strengths while achieving competency in required areas. They evolved from the previous revisions to the Student Performance Criteria and offer some variety in the area currently referred to as “perspectives.”

At its recent meeting, the steering committee determined that one model embodies the best thinking of the group. This model may be characterized as offering variety in accreditation condition structures while maintaining both a minimum standard and aspirational encouragement.
Steering Committee Meeting: Key Outcomes Pittsburgh | March 25-27, 2019
Keynote Speakers
The panel was composed of AIA President William Bates, FAIA, moderator; Brian Gaudio, Assoc. AIA; Matthew Diersen, AIA; and Marc Mondor, AIA. Key themes:
  • “Designing practice:” Think much more broadly and inclusively about practice.
  • Multidisciplinary practice is an essential competence.
  • Systems thinking and integrated design thinking are core to the discipline.
  • The presenters illustrated the increasingly diverse nature of the profession, which makes it ever-more difficult for the center to hold in the way it has traditionally.
  • Some things cannot and should not be learned in school. Firms must do their part to continue the learning process.

General Themes/Messages from the Meeting
  • We heard a summary of ideas the task force is considering and had the opportunity to make suggestions and provide input.
  • We have done our best to incorporate the feedback of the collaterals through a number of focus group sessions and will continue to create opportunities for them to provide input.
  • We have coalesced around a single model to present to ARForum19 participants. We have identified a few different approaches for evaluating the accreditation criteria, yet many questions remain. Our key focus is on the minimum evidence required.
  • Over the course of this process a number of interesting ideas have been identified by the group. Many of these have been incorporated into the recommendations, some are being addressed by others, some were set aside for another time, and some will be included in ARForum19 discussions.

  • We are making good progress on defining the agenda.
  • This is a work in progress: there is still a lot of work to do.
  • The emphasis throughout our discussions is on providing an opportunity for ARForum19 participants to have substantive, meaningful discussions on important questions.
  • We will distribute discussion questions to participants before the forum.
  • We will not be able to cover all topics of interest; our focus is on accreditation.
  • Key topics for the forum will include:
  • The unforeseen future for architecture
  • Values for the discipline of architecture
  • Goals of NAAB accreditation
  • A recommended model for accreditation criteria for 2020
  • Vision for the architecture education continuum
  • And more…
  • The briefing book for the forum will be published by May 15 and will provide more detail on the program and the work that has been accomplished. A table of contents for the book has been shared with the Five Presidents Council.
  • We continue to create opportunities for further input before the forum.
Timeline for the Release of the 2020 Conditions and Procedures
Following the March steering committee meeting, the NAAB has released a timeline between now and the first visits to take place under the 2020 Conditions for Accreditation and 2020 Procedures for Accreditation .
Looking Forward | Providing Feedback
This newsletter will be published on the first Monday of the month. The May 6 edition will include an update from the April in-person task force meeting. We welcome your feedback as this process moves forward and encourage you to send your comments on the forum to .