Comparative Analysis: Korea

Comparative Analysis

Korea Architectural Accrediting Board

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 Mission Statement

The mission of the Korea Architectural Accrediting Board (KAAB) is to accredit professional degree programs in architecture, and to promote continuous improvements in architectural education with dissemination of improved understanding for architect’s role in our society. The KAAB ultimately wishes to contribute to our society by fostering high level of education and proper skills for this discipline.

In addition to accrediting professional architectural degree programs, the role of the KAAB includes development and extension of the architectural education system which are based on our cultural heritage. The KAAB intends to extend its own educational criteria autonomously that well satisfy international architectural accreditation standards.

Followings are the tasks for the KAAB:

  1. Establishment and management of the policies regarding accreditation and the KAAB Conditions and Procedures,
  2. Accrediting professional programs that satisfy the KAAB Conditions,
  3. Exploration and development of architectural curriculum,
  4. Development and facilitation for better architectural education,
  5. Consultations for enhancement of architectural education in general and any accrediting needs of a program, and
  6. Other areas of interests which are acknowledged as expected tasks for the KAAB.

Objectivity and Integrity Statement

The KAAB ensures the objectivity and integrity in its accreditation by

  1. including the three professional organizations — The Architectural Institute of Korea (mainly academics and educators of architecture), The Korea Institute of Registered Architects (mainly registered architects) and The Korean Institute of Architects (architectural practitioners) — as its member organizations, thus facilitating broad range of view on the proper education for architects and seeking objectively defined criteria for accreditation
  2. including, in the Board of Directors of KAAB, the government officials from the Ministry of Construction and Transportation (MOCT) which confers the architect’s license and from the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MOEHRD) which manages the education system in Korea, thus assuring its accreditation system in compliance with the national and administrative requirements set by the Korean government
  3. comprising visiting teams with representatives from all of the above-mentioned professional organizations
  4. providing a clear means to avoid any conflict of interest in its accreditation procedure,
  5. making accrediting decisions based only on information that are prepared by the program and are evaluated by visiting teams, and
  6. specifying within the Conditions and Procedure the program’s right to respond to the accrediting decision.

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

KAAB is a non-profit organization of which annual expenses are paid by the contribution from the three member organizations (AIK, KIA and KIRA). In addition, the government subsidies from the Ministry of Construction and Transportation and the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development is available in the form of research and development grants. Thus, the accreditation cost burdened by the program can be kept at its minimum level.

All the requirements for the accreditation are clearly specified in the Conditions and Procedure, including details of visit such as a list of documents to be prepared and time allocation for each activity in the visit schedule so that the program under review can plan and budget its resources fully ahead of the accreditation with precise estimation.

KAAB provides frequent workshops for the programs on various occasions such as annual assembly meetings of its member organizations. Representatives of programs are invited to these workshops. KAAB also regularly provides orientation sessions not only for visiting team chairs and members already assigned but also for candidates for these roles.

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

The KAAB requests all programs to demonstrate students’ minimum achievement at levels of awareness, understanding and ability based on 41 student performance criteria. It emphasizes that these student performance and achievement are not to be derived from any nationally or regionally standardized curricula.

In addition, the KAAB strongly encourages diversity among the programs and uniqueness of each program. It expects each program to have a distinctive mission statement, to demonstrate how this mission is accomplished, and to show the congruence of program mission with the mission of its home institution.

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

Up-to-date Information for Professional and Educational Needs For the identification of up-to-dated professional and educational needs information, the KAAB operates Education/Research Committee (see Figure attached at the end of this document) whose members include representatives of the schools and practitioners and which has meetings on a regular basis. In addition, the KAAB plans to have an accreditation review conference every two years with the participation of representatives of three member organizations, government agencies and interested members of the public.

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 criteria?

The KAAB has developed and published a list of 41 Student Performance Criteria that must be met at a level of “awareness,” “understanding” or “ability” for all programs applying for the accreditation. The program must demonstrate that its curriculum is appropriate to the accreditation conditions, and prove that its students’ performance satisfies the given criteria.

Samples of student works from all required courses are organized and stored for a visiting team in a room available only to the team during their visits to the program. The exhibited student works must be cross-referenced to the course matrix and criteria it addresses, and the program must prepare to exhibit student works produced a year prior to the site visit ranging from professional required courses, professional elective courses, required general studies, and elective general studies specified in the curriculum, together with a program catalogue describing curriculum.

All student works (including group work) should be organized according to the year level and/or level of achievements. Also the program must display enough quantity of student works in achievement levels (low and high) to represent work of whole students. The works exhibited must demonstrate at a minimum one full year of the program courses.

Visit team examines the works exhibited at the time of the visit and reports the results of the examination — whether each of the student performance criteria is met or not met — to the Accrediting Committee of the KAAB. The Accrediting Committee meets regularly to deliberate the reports of the visiting teams and to determine the terms of accreditation. The KAAB Student Performance Criteria will be reviewed at each Accreditation Review Conference for necessary changes which would reflect the needs of the profession nationally and internationally.

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

The KAAB was launched by the Federation of Institutes of Korean Architects (FIKA) which is comprised of three professional organizations of architecture in Korea: AIK (Architectural Institute of Korea; academics and educators), KIRA (Korea Institute of Registered Architects; registered architects), and KIA (Korean Institute of Architects; architects in general). The board of directors of the KAAB consists of 6 members nominated by AIK, 3 members nominated by KIRA, and 3 members nominated by KIA. In addition, the government agencies MOCT (Ministry of Construction and Transportation) and MOEHRD (Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development) send one representative each to the Board of Directors of the KAAB. At least one director serves as a head of in the committee, task force or department of the KAAB (see Figure 1 for the organization of the KAAB). The KAAB is also financially supported by these organizations and government agencies. Thus it can be said that both professional groups and government agencies are actively participating in the establishment and management of the KAAB, and that they have various means of controlling the conduct of the KAAB operation for integrity and professionalism.

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

Each year the AIK, KIRA, and KIA recommend potential visiting team members to the KAAB. Out of these people, the KAAB constructs a pool of potential members for the year. Visiting teams are composed of people selected only from this pool. The team members are required to go to orientation and training sessions. In addition, for maintaining continuity in quality of visit and to accumulate visit experience for the future visiting team candidates, at least two members of a team should have previous visit experience. Team members are evaluated by the team and by the program visited.

Most of the directors of the KAAB are nominated by the AIK, KIRA, and KIA. The others are nominated by government agencies. Accordingly, they possess extensive knowledge of the professionalism and current issues that are to be considered in the accreditation procedure.

Each of the current executive staff of the KAAB, including the president, secretary general, overseas director, assistant overseas director, domestic director, and assistant domestic director, has extensive experience as a practitioner and/or as an educator. In addition, all members of these executive staff have been educated and conferred accredited professional degree in foreign countries where the accreditation has been fully established. The administrative staff has appropriate work and academic credentials for the positions they fill.

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