Designing anew: How the School of Design at Louisiana Tech is handling reaccreditation

Mar 11, 2021 | Design, Liberal Arts

Every six years, Louisiana Tech University’s School of Design must go through the reaccreditation process to ensure students are learning what they need to succeed in a changing world and that the program is following safety laws and meeting professional standards.

Dr. Sheryl Shoemaker, Associate Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness, Research, and Planning at Louisiana Tech, explained why this process is important.  

“The accrediting body establishes a set of standards and the program or university must provide evidence of how it meets these standards,” Shoemaker said. “Programs or universities go through a self-study process that really helps identify areas to improve. Basically, it means the students in that program are receiving a quality education.”

The School of Design, which houses architecture, interior design, studio art and graphic design, will manage the reaccreditation process a little differently because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Before the accreditation evaluation begins, we have to prepare a program analysis report,” said Stephanie Carwile, Assistant Professor of Interior Design. “This basically explains our program at Tech, our curriculum, our faculty, and facilities. This allows the accreditation team to learn about us before they come to evaluate us.”

Under normal circumstances, a team of people would then come to Ruston for several days to evaluate the program. They would meet with faculty and college administration, look at work from students, and interview students. Because of the pandemic, meetings will take place online.  

“This year, however, because of COVID, site visits are not being conducted in person.” Carwile said. “So, we will be meeting and speaking with the team using Zoom, and we are meeting with the same folks who created the graduation videos to create a video of all our facilities.”

Because of the pandemic, the School is displaying student work online instead of in a gallery.

“Instead of a team room filled with all the student work, we will have a website to display information for every class in our program – syllabi, textbooks, assignments, tests, and such, and images of our students’ work,” Carwile said.    

This story on School of Design reaccreditation was written by Thomas Stodghill, IV