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Tuskegee University Architecture Program Reaccredited

Ending three years in the academic doghouse, the Department of Architecture and Construction Science at Tuskegee University has been approved for reaccreditation by the National Architectural Accrediting Board, the school said. The Washington-based accrediting board is set to make its decision official and public April 1.

The reaccreditation is retroactive to the Class of 2008 and good through 2011, Tuskegee officials said.

Tuskegee’s program was harshly criticized in 2006 when the accrediting panel found deficiencies in the department’s leadership, faculty staffing and facilities. The school said all of these issues were being addressed but had not been achieved by the time the board’s review panel visited that year.

Since the finding, Tuskegee has plowed millions of dollars into restoring the stature and credibility of one of its signature programs. The current enrollment in the program, which awards a bachelor of architecture degree, is 115 students.

In response to the 2006 findings, Tuskegee recruited Dr. Robert K. Dozier to return to the campus in 2007 and lead the overhaul of the department. Dozier, who holds two architecture degrees from Yale University and is recognized for his focus on African-American architecture and historic preservation, had taught at Tuskegee in the 1970s. Dozier was appointed associate dean and head of the department with direct access to the school’s president through its provost.

Dozier oversaw a $7 million complete reconstruction of Wilcox Building A, the academic building that houses the department. The new facility, which the school characterizes as a “cutting edge, high-tech facility,” includes space for labs, classrooms, office space, design studios and rooms for presentations, the school said.

Meanwhile, the university “doubled” the allocation of funds to the department, a budgetary move, it said, that allowed Dozier to boost the faculty to nine members from five. The significant increase in faculty addressed the accrediting board’s findings of deficiencies in instructional staff.

“This new accreditation announces publicly that the architecture program at Tuskegee is recognized by the national profession of architecture as one of high quality, strength and excellence,” said Tuskegee President Benjamin Payton, who announced his retirement a few days ago, effective next year. Payton, who has been president of Tuskegee for 28 years, heaped praise upon Dozier and other department staffers for working “diligently with the provost and president to make this happen.”

The accrediting team, which visited the campus last fall, was chaired by Patricia O’Leary of the University of Colorado. She could not be reached for comment on the visiting panels new finding and recommendation for reaccreditation.

Just 1 percent of architects are Black, according to the American Institute of Architects.

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