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KCAD MArch Takes Next Step Toward NAAB Accreditation

Posted October 5, 2015 in Master of Architecture

Following a second successful accreditation visit, the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) has accepted Kendal College of Art and Design of Ferris State University's (KCAD's) Master of Architecture (MArch) program as eligible for continuing candidacy for accreditation, retroactive to January 1, 2014. For three days, the three-person candidacy visit team reviewed the program’s current curriculum as well as its future development plans and deemed it able to achieve accreditation within no more than six years, per NAAB requirements. The MArch has been following the accreditation plan that it established in 2013, targeting initial accreditation in 2018. This five-year period is the shortest amount of time in which a program can achieve NAAB Accreditation.

MArch Director Brian Craig says the candidacy serves to further validate the program’s unique curriculum structure, in which foundational content classes and a rigorous studio course are placed into separate portions of each semester rather than positioned concurrently. “We’re absolutely convinced that the structure is working, particularly with the way we’ve been able to integrate research and foundational knowledge into the studio.”

Achieving NAAB candidacy also validates both the initial accreditation plan and the strong support that this new degree has received from KCAD and Ferris State University. Craig says the MArch really hit its stride in the spring of 2015 with a full semester, 12-credit sequence on integrated building design. “The students weren’t just focusing on spatial or visual aspects of architectural design; they developed a fully systemic understanding of architecture and placemaking by considering aspects such as lighting, embedded technology, HVAC, and sustainability.” 

These immersive experiences continued this fall during a 6-week study away trip to Portland, Oregon, where students and KCAD faculty connected with faculty members from the University of Oregon and Portland State University and professionals from the design community, exploring the relationship between architecture and urban design and place-making. This Critical Travel session leads directly into an Urban Collaborative Studio course back at KCAD, wherein students jump from designing at the scale of individual buildings to designing the community and context in which the building exists.

Now that the MArch has been granted candidacy status, the program must maintain it through biennial NAAB site visits as it works towards full accreditation. The next NAAB visit will occur in the fall of 2016.

“The interactions we’ve had with NAAB reviewers, supported by the great work of our faculty and students, have been overwhelmingly positive, and we’re confident that will continue moving forward,” says Craig.


For more information on NAAB accreditation, visit naab.org.