KSU architecture college ranks high

Tim Jacobs

Architecture students who took some or all sections of the Architect Registration Exam in 2005 have some bragging rights about the university they chose to attend.

According to the National Council of Architectural Registration Board’s Web site, www.ncarb.com, Kent State was in the top 15 of 105 accredited universities in the country, even beating out some prestigious private universities.

“On average, we’re in the top 15 . but we score the same as Yale and other private universities,” said Maurizio R. Sabini, associate professor and graduate studies coordinator for the College of Architecture and Environmental Design. “It is very important and a matter of pride to see that we’re really at the top of the top schools in the country.”

According to the council’s Web site, the ARE is the only exam required by all U.S. member boards and Canadian provincial architectural associations to receive a license to practice architecture.

“The organization coordinates the licensing program in all states,” Sabini said. “Each state has a ratings board, and the council coordinates all of the boards.”

Kent State’s average pass rate for all nine sections of the exam combined was 84 percent. The national average was 72 percent. Sabini said the university “improved in every section of the exam” during the previous years.

“We feel very good about that,” said Steven Fong, dean of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design. “We feel that it demonstrates our commitment to education.”

Fong placed emphasis on the Building Planning section of the exam, one of three written parts of the exam, which he said is “thought to be the most comprehensive.”

Of the 52 Kent State students who took the exam, 81 percent passed, placing the university third in the NCARB accredited programs.

“(This section) touches on all of the areas of knowledge and expertise of architects,” Fong said. “We’re very pleased that the students have done that well, and it speaks well for the quality of teaching and students in the program.”

According to the NCARB Web site, the two universities that earned better pass rates were the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture in Scottsdale, Ariz. at 100 percent, and the University of Nevada, at 90 percent.

“One should understand that this is not an absolute indicator of program quality,” Sabini said. “There are other factors that may influence performance of candidates in the exam. For example, in some schools, students will have their undergraduate (experience) elsewhere . it doesn’t apply to us, because about 90 percent do an undergraduate degree with us.”

Fong pointed to another factor: the number of students from each university taking one or all of the exam’s sections.

“Note that we’re third (in the Building Planning section), but in first place there was one student in the school,” Fong said.

Sabini said other sizable factors in student performance on the exam is the quality of training a student receives at his or her mandatory internship with a firm and the individual student’s dedication.

“It is a wonderfully challenging time to be in education and to think not only about teaching the students taking the exam, but also (to think about) students who will be working and living in a shifting world,” Fong said. “We need to give them an education well beyond what’s tested in the examinations. . We feel that we’re preparing students for that challenging new world.”

For more information about ARE testing locations and times, contact the Akron/Stow NCARB office at (330) 922-5587.

Contact College of Architecture and Environmental Design, and College of the Arts reporter Tim Jacobs at [email protected].