The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, opened in 1932 by its legendary namesake, is in danger of losing its accreditation to offer a Master of Architecture degree. The school, with locations in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Taliesen, Wisconsin, is left scrambling to find a solution.
Despite being 82 years old, the school only earned accreditation in 1992 after years of forging its own path with its “learning by doing” approach to architecture. But the Higher Learning Commission, a Chicago-based nonprofit that accredits colleges and universities, recently assessed that the school no longer meets its accreditation requirements. It had been put on notice by HLC in 2005, and again in 2010, and given time “to correct issues that could possibly lead them to be out of compliance with our standards,” as HLC’s public information officer John Hausaman told Architect Magazine.
In 2012, HLC’s by-laws changed, barring accreditation for schools if they’re part of a larger organization who operate outside the academic realm. And of course, Frank Lloyd Wright School is owned and operated by the the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.
The 2017 stop date will minimize the degree to which current staff and master’s students are affected by the change. But in those two and a half years, the FLW Foundation either have the option of incorporating the school into a separate entity, teaming up with an another accredited institution, or according to Architectural Record forgoing accredited programs altogether and focusing on post-professional programs.
Sean Malone, president of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, which runs both campuses, told USA Today he was frustrated by the move. He also deemed the option of incorporating the school as “not acceptable, since the foundation’s influence over the school would be limited to giving money. “The school would not only have full control of the money and the governing, but the [Frank Lloyd Wright] Foundation would be required to guarantee well over seven figures and have to guarantee this funding with no direct government or operational control,” Malone explained.
In a press release, the foundation expressed its disappointment, saying, “Frank Lloyd Wright himself started the Taliesin Fellowship to challenge normative educational models, not to emulate them.”
But as Malone insists, the school shouldn’t have trouble finding an institution to partner with if that’s what it comes to.
[h/t USA Today]