Who said a town council member can’t one day become president? Architect and University of Massachusetts professor Stephen Schreiber, served as local council member in the town of Amherst, Massachusetts for four years before he was appointed to the board of officers and directors for the National Architecture Accrediting Board (NAAB) in 2021. Following his appointment he said he would not seek reelection in the town council, citing it would be a big time commitment, given his new position. After serving on the NAAB board for over a year, Schreiber has now been elected 2022–23 President of the organization, which is only accrediting body for professional architecture education programs in the the United States and Canada.
The NAAB leadership board comprises 13 voting members, who are nominated by representatives from various professional organizations: the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS), and two public directors. Schreiber has previously held leadership positions at the ACSA, which promotes collaboration between international architecture schools, and the NCARB, which is responsible for architecture licensing in the U.S.
As founding chair of the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s (UMass Amherst) Department of Architecture—the only NAAB-accredited architecture program at a public university in New England—Schreiber knows a thing or two about education and professional licensing. The university’s architecture curriculum, which offers two NAAB-accredited degree programs a pre-professional MArch and a non-pre-professional MArch, was approved by the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education in 2004 and granted NAAB accreditation in 2007. Prior to UMass Amherst, Schreiber served as director at the University of South Florida and director of the architecture program at the University of New Mexico.
Although Schreiber has devoted much of his career to helping architecture students along the road to professional licensure, he was initially trained as a visual artist. Before receiving his MArch from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Schreiber studied visual art at Dartmouth University. He began his illustrious career working as an architect in Massachusetts, his scope of works ranges from city planning endeavors to residential renovations, his completed projects include a house addition sited in Amherst’s historic Lincoln Sunset district. As a professor Schreiber found ways to incorporate his professional practice and experience as a working architect into his teaching, prompting his junior residential garden studio at UMass Amherst to contemplate a duplex renovation project that he worked on. His activities and interests extend beyond the campus and studio, he served on Amherst’s city council for a number of years and prior to that position chaired the municipality’s Planning Board for nearly a decade, a role he took in 2009.
Schreiber will succeed current president Rebecca O’Neal, an associate professor in the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture at Auburn University. UMass Amherst said in a shared press statement that during his tenure at the NAAB Schreiber “hopes the NAAB will focus on issues of diversity and equity, public health and climate change crises, globalization, and the value of higher education.” He will serve as president-elect in 2022–23, as president in 2023–24, and as past president in 2025–26.