The Department of Art and Design at Converse College has received full accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). The stamp of approval comes at the end of a three-year process which included an on-site visit from NASAD-affiliated art and design professors.
Comprised of an association of approximately 280 schools of art and design, NASAD is the only recognized accrediting agency in the country covering the whole field of art and design which means its validation is a prized endorsement.
NASAD standards are strict and, according to its website, covers maintenance of high educational standards; safeguarding the profession against inadequately prepared educators and practitioners; dissemination of information on accreditation to institutions, counselors, teachers, parents and students; guarding against improper non-educational pressures of individuals and institutions; and consideration of other important educational problems and issues.
"The NASAD accreditation process is rigidly thorough and meticulous," said Teresa Prater, the Charles A. Dana Professor of Studio Art and Chair of Converse’s Art and Design Department. "Their list of qualifications is very specific, and the review process covers everything from evaluation of our methods of instruction to a thorough review of our syllabi, student art work and facilities. But in the end the process made our already strong program even stronger because it required all members of the art and design faculty analyze and assess everything that is done."
The process of accreditation for the Converse program was more challenging than most colleges because of the variety of its offerings. "No other college our size offers as many art and design degree programs as we do," said Prater. "Most colleges our size usually have two bachelor of arts degrees. Here at Converse we offer bachelor of arts degrees in art history, studio art and art education as well as the only art therapy program in the Southeast. We also offer bachelor of fine arts degrees in studio art and interior design, and a master of education in art education. The quality of student work is as strong as it is because our faculty are practicing artists who have earned hundreds of awards in printmaking, photography, sculpture, painting, drawing, ceramics, book arts and interior design."
The department will undergo its next full NASAD review during the 2013-2014 academic year.