By Lian Chang, ACSA Director of Research and Information
How well did your architecture school prepare you for professional practice—or for careers outside of architecture firms? Is the gender imbalance that we see in the profession’s upper echelons beginning to change in the generation of rising architects? How can we identify strategies in architecture schools that are working, giving graduates a leg up when they hit the workforce?
These questions—and recent media reports ranking architecture degrees low in terms of graduate salaries—are on our minds at the ACSA as we develop our Career Outcomes Data Effort, an ACSA-wide survey for schools to use on a voluntary basis with their graduating students. We’re trying to get a fuller and more accurate picture of where architecture graduates are going.
Many schools already have exit and post-graduation surveys, but many do not, and there has not yet been a large-scale effort to gather and share data across North America. The ACSA is responding to this need. We hope that this will help schools to better assess and improve their programs, while also helping out recent graduates—for example, by helping you head into a salary negotiation with more data on what people with comparable degrees and experience are earning in your region. (Archinect's Salary Poll is a great resource in this regard and will continue to offer unique insight; we're hoping that the ACSA's contribution will be to capture a broader, statistically valid sample.)
In August, we reached out to ACSA member schools to find out what their existing practices and needs are in this regard. If you're curious, you can read a summary of what we learned from these conversations. You can also read a list of common survey questions that schools are already using. At the ACSA Administrator's Conference in Providence, November 14-16, we plan to present an initial proposal for discussion and edits with our member schools, with the aim of developing a pilot survey to be delivered in 2014.
What questions would you like to see on this survey? Do you have anything to ask the ACSA about this initiative, or ideas for us? Has your school asked you to complete a survey about your experiences at school and work? Would you like your school to be part of this effort? Please add your questions and comments below--we'd love to hear from you. You can also sign up for updates from the ACSA on this effort. If you're an administrator or faculty member at a school and are interested in having your school participate in in the 2014 pilot survey, please click here.
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The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture is a nonprofit membership organization, founded in 1912 to advance the quality of architectural education. Our members are over 250 schools, including all accredited programs in the USA and Canada, schools seeking accreditation, and non-accredited and international programs--representing over 40,000 architecture faculty and students.