AIA Arkansas Blog


Fay Jones School Architecture Program Receives Eight-Year Reaccreditation from National Board

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The professional Bachelor of Architecture program in the Fay Jones School of Architecture recently was granted an eight-year term of reaccreditation by the National Architectural Accrediting Board.

“The team believes that the Fay Jones School of Architecture provides an active learning environment that emphasizes knowledge through drawing, modeling, and experiential design,” stated the visiting team in its summary. “Administration, faculty, and students are committed to design for a new decade that engages community, new technologies, and environmental awareness. The team was impressed with the vitality of the student body, their dedication to community engagement and sustainability, and their passion for architecture.”

In July, the National Architectural Accrediting Board met to review the Visiting Team Report, the product of a three-member team’s visit to the Fay Jones School in February. The directors of the National Architectural Accrediting Board voted to continue full accreditation for the new maximum term of eight years. The Fay Jones School architecture program is scheduled for its next accreditation visit in 2022.

The National Architectural Accrediting Board is the sole agency authorized to accredit U.S. professional degree programs in architecture. Since most state registration boards in the country require any applicant for licensure to have graduated from a NAAB-accredited program, obtaining such a degree is an essential aspect of preparing for the professional practice of architecture. There are currently 154 NAAB-accredited professional programs in 123 institutions offering the Doctor of Architecture (1), Master of Architecture (95) or Bachelor of Architecture degree (58).

“Certainly the quality of the student work – both in its diversity and its fidelity to craft and thought – went a long way in demonstrating to the visiting team the character of the education here in the Fay Jones School,” said Marlon Blackwell, head of the architecture department and Distinguished Professor. “It was broadly diverse, yet deeply substantive in both concept and execution. It demonstrated a school mindful of educating the fundamentals but deeply engaged in current discourses that are ongoing in our profession.”

The accreditation process asked the school to demonstrate individual strengths of its programs, but also the strengths of architecture education and professional preparation. This process included a self-study; peer review; a report prepared by the visiting team; action in the form of a judgment by the NAAB Board; and ongoing external review.

“The accreditation process involves an exhaustive investigation of how we teach and how our students learn that probes the delicate intersection between architectural education and practice,” said Ethel Goodstein-Murphree, associate dean and professor. “To self-reflexively assess the efficacy of our program, in the three essential areas of inquiry for our discipline – architectural design, its history and its technologies – as well as to meet NAAB’s mandate to provide substantial evidence of our achievements, demands a gargantuan effort from our faculty, professional staff and students. An accreditation is always stressful, but it does bring out the best in our academic community. Truly, everyone in the Fay Jones School has earned the right to be proud of the team’s recognition of excellence in so many areas of endeavor.”

The architecture program is required to submit an Annual Statistical Report and an Interim Progress Report two years and five years after the team’s visit. All documents related to the accreditation process are publically available on the Fay Jones School website.

“This full term of reaccreditation is extremely gratifying and is full confirmation of the department of architecture’s aims and accomplishments,” said Peter MacKeith, dean of the Fay Jones School. “Reaccreditation also establishes a platform for the Fay Jones School’s overall ambitions – to continue our ascent into the top tier of national programs. We look to a future of curricular initiatives and enhanced student experience across all three departments – architecture, landscape architecture and interior design.

“The NAAB team’s enthusiastic endorsement of the program is a credit to the department of architecture’s faculty, and its academic leadership, and I am particularly grateful to department head Marlon Blackwell and interim dean Ethel Goodstein-Murphree,” he added.

After completing internships with a licensed professional, graduates must pass the Architecture Registration Exam. Graduates of the architecture program have a wide array of career opportunities, such as designing new buildings, preserving historic buildings, participating in urban design, managing construction projects or writing about architecture.