Yesterday, the Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture School announced that Higher Learning Commission (HLC) approved the change of control request to separate the school from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. The HLC decision will allow the school to maintain its accreditation and continue as an institute of higher learning.
Since 1987, when the school gained accreditation, the Frank Lloyd Architecture School—which consists of Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Taliesin in Spring Green, Wis.—has operated as part of the larger foundation. After the HLC changed its bylaws in 2012, which affected the standards that needed to be met to attain and retain accreditation, the school reciprocated with a fundraising campaign in December 2014 to raise $2 million by the end of 2015 in order to prove that the school could be financially independent from the foundation. The school reached that goal in December 2015 with the help of more than 300 individuals, foundations, and corporations and then submitted a proposal in February 2016 in hopes of separating the two entities and maintaining its accreditation status.
This week's approval of that proposal will permit the architecture school to continue its three-year master’s program, and its additional programs like their eight-week-long non-degree Immersion Program.
“We are very excited to receive this affirmation that we have been working on for the past three years," says Aaron Betsky, dean of the school and ARCHITECT contributor. "The goal is to become the best experimental architectural school, to learn by doing, to expand discussions, and to continue to build on the legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright.” (We also interviewed Betsky in March 2015 in the midst of the process.)
The school will begin functioning as an independent institution beginning in August of this year for the next academic year. Now a partner, the foundation will continue to donate the space at Taliesin and Taliesin West and possibly use Chicago-based Harboe Architects' preservation master plan to renovate the historic buildings on Taliesin West campus.
Read more about ARCHITECT's past coverage of the Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture School's accreditation here.
This story has been updated.