April 1, 2009 — Our College's programs in Fashion Design, Film & Video, Graphic Design, Digital Media, Interior Design, Photography, Design & Merchandising, Art History and Fine Art are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). We've been working for nearly two years now towards re-accreditation as our last five year accreditation draws to an end. Two hundred and eighty seven art and design schools are accredited by NASAD, including many of our peer institutions in the Philadelphia area along with many of the highest-ranked and best known art schools in the country. NASAD is an accrediting organization whose mission includes: establishing reasonable standards centered on the knowledge and skills necessary to develop academic and professional competence at both the undergraduate and graduate level; fostering the development of instruction of the highest quality while simultaneously encouraging varied and experimental approaches to the teaching of art and design; evaluating, through the process of accreditation, schools of art and design, and programs of studio art and design in terms of their quality and the results they achieve; assuring students and parents that accredited art and design programs provide competent teachers, adequate plant and equipment, sound curricula, and the capability of attaining their stated objectives; and counseling and assisting schools in developing their programs through self-evaluation and continuing efforts toward improvement. A crucial stage in the accreditation process will occur from April 20 to April 22, when a team of three evaluators, seasoned faculty members from peer institutions especially trained to conduct site visits, will come to Westphal.
At the heart of the accreditation is a process of self-study. Several weeks ago, we sent to NASAD a nearly three hundred page report on our strategic plans as well as extensive specifics on our curriculum and faculty. And as a self study, we included our own assessments of the progress and improvements we've made and those we intend to make in the coming years. During the evaluators' three day stay, they will visit classrooms, look at student work, and meet with faculty, students and administrators. College faculty and staff are invited to a reception to welcome our NASAD visitors at 6pm on Monday, April 20th in Nesbitt Hall's Chapman Court. David Raizman has led the college's self study, but overall it is the result of dozens of members of the college who have contributed much to the process. We look forward to the visit as we are very proud of our faculty, students and programs, and the accreditation process, at its heart, affords us an opportunity to examine what we do well and what we can do better, a process that must always be ongoing if we are to best serve our students. In the months following the site visit, we will receive preliminary reports from NASAD, with a final determination to be delivered at NASAD's annual meeting in October.
During the next two weeks, Sarah Steinwachs and Blaise Tobia will be coordinating the display of student work throughout our facilities in Nesbitt Hall, the University Crossings, and the Academic Building. Program Directors, our College's NASAD committee, and other faculty will be assisting to make the presentation of work an effective exhibit of our studio efforts. We can all look forward to this shared endeavor to present ourselves with pride to the NASAD Visiting Team. Thanks to all for their continuing support and hard work. For more information on NASAD, click here.