The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) has approved the Change of Control application submitted by the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. This approval recognizes the school as an independent entity from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, a condition for the school to maintain is accreditation as an institute of higher learning.
With the HLC decision, the school will be able to continue its three-year Master of Architecture program. Along with the graduate program, the school offers additional educational programs, including an 8-week non-degree Immersion Program.
Students spend half of their school year at Taliesin West in Scottsdale Arizona. (Courtesy Greg O’Beirne/Wikimedia Commons)
The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture was first accredited with the HLC in 1987 as part of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, and first became an accredited architecture school in 1996. The school will now begin the transition to an independent entity by August 2017. The initial application to the HLC was submitted in February 2016. While the initial application was denied, the school worked with the HLC to revise the application, which was resubmitted November 30th, 2016.
“This is really a cap on a lot of changes that have already happened. This process started more than two years ago, when it became clear that the school needed to become an interdependently accredited organization. This meant we had to raise money, but it also meant that we had to do a lot of reorganization. That was a lot of what HLC was looking at,” Aaron Betsky, dean of the school, told The Architect’s Newspaper. “One thing I have been working on with the faculty is figuring out how to do this in such a way that we can be the best experimental architecture school in the country. Now that we have the HLC approval, we can move ahead with our plans.”
Architecture schools in 19 states, including Wisconsin and Arizona (where the Frank Lloyd Wright School is held), are required to hold accreditations from the HLC as well as the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). In 2010, the HLC updated its bylaws to include a provision which required all institutions of higher learning to be financially independent of any other larger institution that does not have education as its primary mission.
The school’s accreditation is valid through this year, making it imperative that it proves its independence from the foundation before it expires. The school’s NAAB accreditation is valid through 2023.