Established by the legendary architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, the 82 years old school of architecture is now facing loss of accreditation to grant a Master of Architecture degree.

Why? Well according to the Chicago based Higher Learning Commission, a nonprofit accreditation organization, they require that “accredited institutions must be separately incorporated from sponsoring organizations.”

Of course this is not the case for the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture since it has always been run by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation that controls all operations in the school. So, if the school was separately incorporated from the foundation the latter would lose all control over the school.

According to Sean Malone, president and CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, incorporation as a separate institution was not appropriate: “The school would not only have full control of the money and the governing, but the foundation would be required to guarantee well over seven figures and have to guarantee this funding with no direct government or operational control.”

So, what to do? Apparently the school will be focusing on programs that do not require accreditation. Such as a post professional program they have been preparing.

Also, according to Sean Malone the school is open to partnering with another accreditation institute that would allow the school to grant degrees.

 Image of Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Cheney Courtesy of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

One Response

  1. ChristoLock

    What a tragedy Foundation President Sean Malone is leading our school into. Instead of taking the Higher Learning Commission’s simple remedy to allow the school to be independent (he could put his friends on the new board to keep his control), he’d sell our school in a “partnership”. Didn’t they already court potential universities only to find logistics and strong branding yielded no partners at all? Why pursue a dead end that kills Wright’s creation, when the HLC bent over backwards to help?

    When his partnership doesn’t work, he told us of his next big plan: ending the accredited Masters program to only offer Post-Graduate studies, even as universities are phasing these out due to lack of interest. According to those who tried this, architects can’t easily drop out of practice to go back to school, especially when they don’t have to. We need accredited Masters Degrees to become architects, but he’d end that to offer programs nobody wants.

    All his life Frank Lloyd Wright trained architects, his community still sending accredited Masters into the Twenty-First Century with a 92% placement rate, a tremendous success in a world begging for original, sustainable, organic architecture. We learn by doing, building structures, learning historical preservation, mastering digital rendering with professional architects at our side, a near-one-on-one teaching ratio, taking classes with Cambridge professors, international teachers, dining with top architects who visit from around the world because Wright knew that some of the best lessons came when gathered around a candle-lit table, as we did with Renzo Piano a few months back. We live and play on two beautiful campuses. We host lectures, concerts and films. We don’t just study famous sites, we travel to them, walk them, touch them, taking trips to major cities, field trips to other states, spending weeks in far off countries with professors, singing in choirs, acting in Shakespeare, sketching and painting and drawing – developing the whole person, remarkably faithful to Wright’s dream. An 82-year old tradition will end because the Foundation that was created to sustain the school, can’t share.

    Christopher Lock
    Masters student
    Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture

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