The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture is currently at risk of losing its accreditation. The school has been cited as no longer meeting requirements by the Higher Learning Commission, a non-profit group whose approval is a prerequisite for the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB)’s accreditation process. Founded in 1932 by Frank Lloyd Wright himself and still operating out of his campuses at Taliesin West and Taliesin, the school must now decide how best to meet HLC requirements, or risk losing the ability to confer Masters of Architecture degrees on its students.
Read on after the break to find out why the school faces this risk, and their plans to combat it
HLC by-law revisions, adopted in 2012, require colleges and other institutions to be accredited separately from organizations that sponsor them. The Frank Lloyd Wright School is currently funded as a part of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, which supports both of the school’s campuses, and preserves collections of Wright’s work. The new revisions "would require the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, which is not currently separately incorporated, to file for incorporation as an institution with a primary purpose of offering higher education," says John Hausaman, public information officer for the HLC speaking to USA Today. The school will keep its accreditation until 2017, but will need to partner with an accredited institution before then if it hopes to maintain that status. Current students will still be able to earn their expected M. Arch degrees.
Sean Malone, president and CEO of the FLW Foundation, said that incorporation as a seperate institution was not appropriate: "The school would not only have full control of the money and the governing, but the foundation would be required to guarantee well over seven figures and have to guarantee this funding with no direct government or operational control."
He added: "I’m disappointed. I’m frustrated. That said, I’m not worried about there not being any interest in a partnership. I can think of a handful of [institutions] off the top of my head, and I’m sure there are 20 or 30 I haven’t thought of.” Malone also stated that the school was founded to “challenge normative educational models, not emulate them. In this spirit, the Board and staff of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation had committed to ‘remaking’ the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture well before this HLC decision.” The school is also investigating other options in terms of the types of academic programming that could be offered without HLC accreditation.