Comparative Analysis: Hong Kong

Comparative Analysis

The Hong Kong Institute of Architects

What are the mission statement, goals, and objectives of your accreditation agency? Please share a short statement of how objectivity and integrity are assured in your accreditation system.

The HKIA/ARB Accreditation Board jointly established criteria and procedures for accreditation of architectural programmes in local universities. Purposes of accreditation are to:

  1. Ensure the educational quality and standards of existing and proposed architectural programmes, with the view of continuously improving and enhancing the relevance, value and effectiveness of architectural education in Hong Kong
  2. Set the academic qualification standards appropriate for admission to the HKIA and for registration as an architect in Hong Kong.

How do you achieve effectiveness in accreditation without unduly burdening the institution under review (issues of cost, time, and complexity)?

As a general principle, the School/ Department/ Faculty shall bear the cost of the validation incurred by the HKIA and the ARB. The cost includes accommodation, meals, travelling and commuting charges and expenses incurred by the Visiting Board for the validation visit.

A Visiting Board of appropriately qualified and approved experts / professionals shall be appointed by the Board of Educational Affairs of the HKIA before coordinating a validation visit to the School/ Department/ Faculty. The Visiting Board visits for three days on site to assess the specific programme.

How do you respect diversity of culture and mission of institutions under review while maintaining minimum standards for the profession?

Accreditation is not for a school, department or faculty. It is for the specific architectural programme only. The HKIA and ARB Accreditation Board have due respect to the diversity of culture of different institutions. Architectural education, when structured to attain professional recognition, can be in two parts or take the form of a single-degree programme. Both the initial-level, pre-professional architectural programmes and the advanced-level, professional architectural degree programmes will be assessed under the same accreditation procedures and criteria as established in the HKIA and ARB Accreditation of Architectural Programmes: Criteria and Procedures.

The validity of the School/ Department/ Faculty’s statement of objectives for the School/ Department/ Faculty and for the specific Programme relative to the cultural, academic and professional contexts for the specific Programme is one of the considerations relative to the validation criteria set out in the HKIA and ARB Accreditation of Architectural Programmes Criteria and Procedures.

However, the period of academic studies to the end of an architectural degree programme appropriate for registration as an architect in Hong Kong, either in two parts or as a single professional degree programme, should always be equivalent to a minimum of FIVE years of full-time study recognised by the HKIA and the ARB.

How does your agency inform itself about the needs of the profession, worldwide developments in the discipline of accreditation, and developments in education?

The HKIA Board of Educational Affairs and ARB Education and Accreditation Committee, under the governance of the HKIA and ARB Accreditation Board, have regular meetings with representatives from local architectural programmes as well as stakeholders from professional firms and government to evaluate the needs of the profession and the quality of the graduates.

In addition to the assessment of institutional resources and how they are allocated with respect to the institutional mission, how does your agency assess student performance outcomes? 

The specific programme must exhibit its studio projects and have available samples of all student products. The Visiting Board will assess the standard of the School/ Department/ Faculty and the Programme by examining the work of the students, interviewing the students and alumni to determine whether the lowest passes are adequate in meeting the validation criteria stipulated in the HKIA and ARB Accreditation of Architectural Programmes Criteria and Procedures.

How are your governance and secretariat functions organized to ensure integrity and professionalism in the conduct of their operations?

The Visiting Board shall be composed of the following:

  1. Two HKIA members (normally the President of the HKIA and the Board of Educational Affairs Chair of the HKIA)
  2. Two ARB members nominated by the ARB
  3. Two academics from outside Hong Kong (both academics should have relevant experience of validation visits; at least one should be familiar with China and/or the region.)

One member of the Visiting Board will be nominated by the Board of Educational Affairs of the HKIA as the Board Chair.

The HKIA and the ARB are committed to conducting the validation process in an objective and bias-free manner and seek to avoid any real or perceived conflicts of interest in the validation procedures, deliberations and decisions.

The HKIA and the ARB will not appoint an individual to a Visiting Board if it appears that the individual has a real or perceived conflict of interest that would raise doubt as to that individual’s objectivity regarding the validation.

All conflicts, real or potential, must be disclosed to the Chair of the Visiting Board and the Head of School/ Department/ Faculty at least thirty days before the validation visit begins, in order to determine whether specific action should be taken.

What are your mechanisms to ensure that expertise and experience in the applications of standards, procedures, and values are present in members of visiting teams, commissions, and staff (please supply an organization chart)?

The Visiting Board is appointed by the Board of Educational Affairs of the HKIA in consultation with and by the mutual consent of the School/ Department/ Faculty involved.

Visiting Board members should be chosen for their demonstrated objectivity and experience in academia, accreditation procedures or professional practice. To ensure the broadest variety of backgrounds and experiences, academics from outside Hong Kong will be appointed.

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