April 23, 2010
Written by Cory Chandler
The review team felt that Texas Tech’s architecture program recent changes are on target. Image courtesy of Phill Miller and William Denman.
“All of the core directions that Texas Tech’s architecture program has taken in the last six years, which our team believes have been monumental, are on target,” said Kenneth Lambla, dean of the College of Architecture at the University of North Carolina Charlotte and chair of a five-member NAAB peer review team.
The team completed its visit to Lubbock by providing a report to faculty, staff and students who assembled at the United Spirit Arena.
NAAB review teams prepare their reports to include assessments of progress since the board’s previous site visit, 11 conditions of the program and 34 student performance criteria. They also list substantive and procedural concerns.
Reviewers dismissed three concerns voiced during a 2004 NAAB visit, noting that college administrators addressed the concerns by increasing general studies opportunities for students, boosting staff to keep pace with student and faculty growth and expanding the college’s archive of visual teaching resources.
Among student performance criteria, the report listed three areas the college excels in: Texas Tech’s relationship with the architecture profession, the students’ graphic abilities and site design.
The team listed three procedural concerns. It recommended that the college track regular input from students regarding its studio culture. It suggested that Texas Tech improve accessibility to the architecture building and also pointed to the fact that the college has extensively revised its curriculum in recent years and recommended that it continue to evaluate the effectiveness of the changes made.
Other student performance criteria that Texas Tech must address include placing more emphasis on teaching regional architectural traditions and increasing the college’s technology education, including comprehensive studio and architecture practice, which College of Architecture Dean Andrew Vernooy said has been hampered by recent faculty losses. Vernooy said the college has completed a search and expects to hire one or two new faculty in this area this year.
“There were concerns in the report, but there always will be if the team is doing its job,” he said, “and this team was excellent. It gave us exactly the kind of direction we need – good, solid, rigorous criticism. This was an excellent visit.”
Team member Tamara Redburn, with Fleming Associates Architects, P.C. in Memphis, Tenn., complimented the college’s efforts to recruit minority students through high schools and junior colleges. She applauded the university’s new Architecture Program in El Paso, aimed at students from the predominantly Hispanic city.
“Once more of the students come to the Lubbock campus from El Paso, you will see that they change the program in a good way,” she said.
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