South Dakota State University's Department of Architecture recently was informed its Master of Architecture professional program was granted a three-year term of initial accreditation by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. The professional program is now fully accredited.
The program is now scheduled for its next accreditation site visit in 2019, when SDSU is eligible for an eight-year accreditation term.
“We’ve seen our enrollment grow—for example, our first-year class has more than 50 students—and we expect to be near capacity at both the undergraduate and graduate levels following this news,” said SDSU Associate Professor Brian Rex, who heads the Department of Architecture. “We’ve already received calls from students looking to join us for graduate school since they heard we were now accredited. I think this news will also make it easier to attract additional faculty when that time comes.
“Going through the accreditation process has tied us better to the profession,” he continued. “We should be able to see our students get chosen for internships throughout the U.S. now. This process has taught us that what we thought was important is even more important now that we have met the accreditation standards. For example, we’re rethinking about how we teach a studio. We’re not just trying to meet the accreditation standards anymore; we’re trying to develop our students to help transform the state.”
The department has started that transformation by doing community projects in various cities, including Volga, Mobridge and Webster.
“I hope we can add other communities to our portfolio,” he said. “Because of our location, we know we need to do things differently to improve our graduates’ competitiveness in the field and these hands-on projects are a way to develop them.”