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Benefits of NASAD accreditation.

taxguytaxguy Posts: 6,526Registered User Senior Member
Most major art programs in the US have an additional accreditation by NASAD,( Natrional Association of Schools of Art and Design). In fact, all of the major stand alone art schools with the notable exception of SCAD are NASAD accredited.

Since there has been a lot of discussion about the benefits of studying at a NASAD accredited school, I wrote NASAD and asked them. Here is the response that I got. You may take this in any way you see fit:

___________________________________________________________
Dear Mr.*******
I am not able to answer your question directly, but I can give you a bit more information about NASAD. It is best to provide an excerpt from our written material:
The Association’s Role as a Specialized, Professional Accrediting Agency
NASAD recognizes the need to find ways of clarifying and maintaining standards in art and design through responsible education of artists and designers. By means of accreditation, it can encourage those institutions that consistently give students a sound basis for significant future accomplishments in art and design. Accreditation also imposes on those institutions the responsibility for continual effort to strengthen art and design education in general—in both accredited and not-yet-accredited schools. In addition, it provides a basis for public recognition of an institution’s quality.

The acceptance of NASAD as the only recognized accrediting agency covering the entire field of art and design has placed upon the Association the following responsibilities: to maintain high educational standards; to safeguard the profession against inadequately prepared educators and practitioners; to disseminate information on accreditation to institutions, counselors, teachers, parents, and students; to guard against improper non-educational pressures on individuals and institutions; and to consider other important educational problems and issues. The Association recognizes and accepts these responsibilities.

Institutions come to us on a voluntary basis. In doing so, they agree to accept the responsibilities as outlined above. They are also subject to periodic review and renewal of accreditation.
The selection of an accredited versus non-accredited institution is strictly a subjective matter.
All institutions develop their own criteria for admissions and transfer policies. While it may be reasonable to expect that credits from an accredited institution would be accepted at another, it is entirely up to the accepting institution.
For comparison purposes it may be helpful to note that NASAD curricular standards require that studies in the major area, supportive courses in art and design, and studies in visual arts/design histories normally total at least 65% of the curriculum.
An institution that accepts peer review and is dedicated to strengthening its programs and helping its students to develop essential competencies is certainly one that accepts its responsibility toward higher education.

I trust that this information will be of some service to you.
Regards,
Jan
Post edited by taxguy on

Replies to: Benefits of NASAD accreditation.

  • RainingAgainRainingAgain Posts: 699Registered User Member
    This does not mean that SCAD does not focus upon and accomplish all of the points (if not more) in Jan's letter.

    Anyway I am wondering what the purpose of your post is given that your daughter has been in school for over a year. The only thing I can come up with is that SCAD has received a considerable amount of fair commentary with positive opinions and your ego is bruised given that you argued vehemently against SCAD in the past.

    BTW, I know for a fact that SCAD does qualify per NASAD standards per the criteria outlined by the NASAD employee:

    "...For comparison purposes it may be helpful to note that NASAD curricular standards require that studies in the major area, supportive courses in art and design, and studies in visual arts/design histories normally total at least 65% of the curriculum. An institution that accepts peer review and is dedicated to strengthening its programs and helping its students to develop essential competencies is certainly one that accepts its responsibility toward higher education...."

    I will say this however:

    "...to guard against improper non-educational pressures on individuals and institutions..."

    Historically, I'm not sure NASAD would not reject SCAD on this basis. In the early 1990s there were issues. This period of time was an issue, but as a student and staff member and member of the community on the outside since, these problems no longer exist at least in regard to the quality of education received by students. I think that SCAD, under the leadership of Richard Rowan did some things that would not meet the approval of NASAD, perhaps not enough time has passed?

    I can add one more thing. I know for a fact that SCAD violated athletic scholarship rules in the 1990s. They skirted limits on athletic scholarships by giving student athletes "Presidential Scholarships". This was done by then President Richard Rowan who was obsessed with having a sports program to the extent that he hired ex All-Stars Luis Tiant to coach baseball, and Cazzie Russell to coach basketball. Richard Rowan has been long gone now for about six years.
  • taxguytaxguy Posts: 6,526Registered User Senior Member
    RainingAgain, you are reading into my post more than was said. I did NOT knock SCAD. I simply sent a letter to NASAD trying to find out the advantages of being a NASAD member and if there any disadvantages of not being one. I noted that most large stand alone art schools are NASAD accredited with SCAD as an exception. Thus, I wanted NASAD to respond. I did NOT opine on the quality of SCAD in any way. I think when you see my name and SCAD mentioned together , you see red and also see wording that doesn't exist.
  • caressemhcaressemh Posts: 235Registered User Junior Member
    But aren't SCAD classes only 2 and a half hours long (compared to most art schools' six)? And they also have shorter semesters. I thought that was part of why it didn't meet NASAD requirements
  • RainingAgainRainingAgain Posts: 699Registered User Member
    //RainingAgain, you are reading into my post more than was said. I did NOT knock SCAD. I simply sent a letter to NASAD trying to find out the advantages of being a NASAD member and if there any disadvantages of not being one. I noted that most large stand alone art schools are NASAD accredited with SCAD as an exception. Thus, I wanted NASAD to respond. I did NOT opine on the quality of SCAD in any way. I think when you see my name and SCAD mentioned together , you see red and also see wording that doesn't exist.//


    Phoooey!

    01. Why write the letter? You are no longer involved in the process of finding a school for your daughter nor are you employed in an academic capacity.

    02. Why bring up SCAD at all? Just post the reply.

    03. Your history precedes you.

    04. The comments of others have largely proven your concerns to be w/o cause for concern nowadays.
  • RainingAgainRainingAgain Posts: 699Registered User Member
    //But aren't SCAD classes only 2 and a half hours long (compared to most art schools' six)? And they also have shorter semesters. I thought that was part of why it didn't meet NASAD requirements//

    01. SCAD classes typically meet twice/week for 2 1/2 hours for a total of 5 hours. Once upon a time I thought this might have been a reason, but considering the next point it is not. Also, some studio classes might be longer - like a painting studio perhaps. I don't have access to this information and don't remember ever knowing/asking.

    02. I have no idea about other colleges except that RIT classes were also 2 1/2 hours each and twice a week with the exeption of a few studio classes for which students received additional credit.

    I'm familiar with the art program at Georgia Southern University. A few SCAD profs have some previous experience at GSU. Their classes are 2 1/2 hours and meet twice/week. They are NASAD accredited.

    03. Many schools use the quarter system instead of semesters. This is not an issue.

    So the question remains unanswered. All I can suggest is what I offered in my previous post as possibilities. I know for a fact that SCAD skirted the issue of exceeding limits on athletic scholarships by inventing the idea of Presidential Scholarships - full scholarships based upon whatever criteria the Rowans decided to apply....and/or the college had really nasty relationships with faculty and students for a few years in the early 1990s.

    I think Richard Rowan had a huge ego and said,"this is my damn college, I started it and I'm going to run it the way I want!" He stepped on a lot of toes in the process, and I'm sure he violated one or more standards. He is long gone however and based upon my observations and review of NASAD standards, I can find no specific reason for the college not to fully qualify.

    Regardless, the college is accredited by SACS which ensures that appropriate pedagogical policies and practice is in place. Yes, there must have been a reason, but I am pretty darn sure it no longer exists, or that if it does it does it does not detract from the quality of the education received by students. They are doing great things!

    Also, being SACS accredited, there are no issues with transferring credits, nor do prospective employers give a hoot. At that point it all comes down to portfolio, portfolio, portfolio.

    By the way, I will reveal that I was a Professor at SCAD and I was one of those that was fired by the college for non-academic reasons. I did not reveal this previously because legal agreements prevent me from speaking or offering opinions publicly, and that is all I will say further for the same reason.

    Here is a link to the NASAD Handbook.
    http://nasad.arts-accredit.org/site/docs/NASAD%20HANDBOOKS/NASAD-Handbook_2007-2008_2ndEd.pdf
  • larationalistlarationalist Posts: 916Registered User Member
    I've actually had conversations with a NASAD rep in the past year, and am becoming more and more convinced that the accreditation is meaningless. NASAD for the most part only checks that a school is doing what it claims to be doing, checking them against their own published materials. There are very few objective standards applied across the board, and most of these have to do with salaries and other managerial subjects, not with what is being taught or how it is being taught. In fact one of the biggest reasons that schools avoid accreditation is so that they can pay their teachers lower than standard pay. Being NASAD accredited does not make a school a good one, and avoiding accreditation does not make a school a bad one. There are plenty of good and bad schools on both sides of that fence.
  • taxguytaxguy Posts: 6,526Registered User Senior Member
    larationalist notes,"In fact one of the biggest reasons that schools avoid accreditation is so that they can pay their teachers lower than standard pay"

    Response: I am not an artist. However, if , as YOU say, SCAD and other non-NASAD schools pay their professors lower than the standard pay, doesn't this mean that the better and more well-known professors will generally go elsewhere to NASAD approved schools where they can make more money?!
  • larationalistlarationalist Posts: 916Registered User Member
    I am going to avoid making a judgement on a specific school. That statement was based on anecdotes offered by the reviewer I know. I have not seen the salary data for SCAD, so they may be avoiding it for other reasons. The school I attend has chosen to forgo accreditation since an incident some years that was totally bureaucratic and political in nature, so I'm the first to admit that other reasons do exist.

    I do agree however with your logic that if a school is known to pay poorly, then teachers who can get jobs elsewhere will usually do so. I just don't happen to know whether SCAD is one of them or not. Those numbers are part of accrediting committee reports which are kept confidential, so I haven't seen them.
  • jkolkojkolko Posts: 108Registered User Junior Member
    SCAD pays just fine.
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