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Master of Architecture

Overview: 

The Master of Architecture (M.Arch) is an accelerated path to an accredited professional degree for those who already have an undergraduate degree. Students with little to no design background enter the M.Arch III; those with a non-accredited undergraduate degree in architecture enter the M.Arch II; those with an accredited baccalaureate in architecture enter the M.Arch I.

M.Arch students working on a design/build project / a student consulting with her instructor about her studio project / faculty reviewing student work during an M.Arch "walk-through"

Curriculum
The School organizes teaching into five curricular Streams:

  • Design:  Delivered in a studio environment analogous to professional practice, the Design Stream is where students learn the art and problem-solving skills of design and in which lessons from the other Streams are synthesized and applied to specific architectural problems. Outcomes are evaluated in one-to-one discussions with the studio critic and during presentations to faculty and practitioners.
  • Technology:  Delivered in labs and class environments, the Technology Stream is focused on building technologies and includes explorative studies in Structures, Materials and Methods, and Environmental Control Systems. Structural projects are tested by subjecting student-designed and -built mock-ups to measured stresses until failure; then by review of high-speed film with analysis of the weakness of each design.
  • Design Communications: Delivered in the computer and material labs, studios, and class environments, the Design Communications Stream develops proficiency in oral, graphic, and written communications, with special emphasis on digital design and fabrication skills. Outcomes are measured in Stream-specific assignments, outside competitions, and conference venues, but also in shared assignments between other Streams.
  • History+Theory:  Delivered in lectures, seminars, online courses, and overlapping studio activities, the History+Theory Stream provides foundational knowledge in the history of the built environment, theories of architecture and their role in critical practice, and understanding of the way architects have used precedents and concepts in design. Outcomes are evaluated in quizzes, exams, journals, research papers, and projects.
  • Practice: Delivered in courses, workshops, and overlapping projects with the Studio Stream, the Practice Stream teaches architectural programming, predesign activities, professional ethics, and construction documentation and organization. Outcomes are evaluated in tests, projects, research papers, and presentations.

Phases
The M.Arch is divided into two parts: The Pre-Professional Phase (the M.Arch III program, consisting of Immersion Summer + year 1) and the Professional Phase (M.Arch II-I, years 2-3).

Pre-Professional Phase
This twelve month foundation provides coursework in all five curricular Streams, teaches studio culture, and inculcates students into architecture culture. It is limited to Introductory Claims in fulfillment of the School’s accreditation obligation (see SPC, below). To move to the next phase, students should be able to do basic design, understand fundamental building technologies, be competent with architectural conventions, have a foundation in world history of the built environment, and be competent in basic digital, graphic, and presentation skills.

Professional Phase
The Professional Phase is delivered in two stages:
CORE: The Core Stage inculcates advanced skills and knowledge that must be performed by the individual. This Stage is tested at the Milestone.
APPLICATION: The Application Stage allows students to explore and enrich their Core abilities, work in collaboration, tackle more ambiguous criteria common in practice, conduct research-related design, serve clients and community groups, and work under conditions analogous to critical practice.

Expected Learning Outcomes: 

Two rubrics for learning outcomes exist within the School’s curriculum:

1. SPC: Student Performance Criteria (SPC) are competencies required of every graduating student by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). They are organized into four categories:

  • Realm A: Critical Thinking and Representation
  • Realm B: Building Practices, Technical Skills, and Knowledge
  • Realm C: Integrated Architectural Solutions
  • Realm D: Professional Practice

The NAAB SPC are to be delivered at one of two levels: Understanding or Ability.
The School has broken NAAB’s Criteria into Claims, Partial Claims, and Introductory Claims (see “SoA-NAAB SPC GUIDE” below). This allows us to deliver the accrediting body’s material according to our own curricular perspective; the parsing of NAAB’s more general requirements into smaller, more specific ones also allows greater precision in the assignment of SPC learning and contributes to the development of iterative developmental learning.
Claims are assigned to specific courses in the “M.Arch-NAAB SPC MATRIX” (below). Supporting matrices show how Claims are parsed between curricular Streams. This tool insures that all NAAB SPC are met at the required competency upon graduation.

2. STREAM OUTCOMES: Learning Outcomes have been assigned to each of the School’s Curricular Streams. These are present across the curriculum, not tied to specific courses, although outcomes are evaluated at the conclusion of specific "milestone" courses:

  • Studio: To design comprehensively and synthetically, inclusive of other disciplines and with particular appreciation of climate and setting.
  • Technology: To design with technological criteria, materiality, and constructability, giving particular value to post-carbon sustainability.
  • Design Communications: To execute and present architectural projects with clarity, precision, and conviction, particularly in current professional methods.
  • History+Theory: To research, analyze, and appreciate the historical and theoretical traditions of the discipline, with particular understanding of their practice impact.
  • Practice: To understand, engage, and critically appraise professional practices, with particular commitment to ethical standards, environmental impact, and civic outreach.

See “SoA Learning Outcomes by Curricular Stream” (below) for greater detail of the learning objectives and requirements for learning at the Milestone.

Assessment Activities: 

SoA assesses student work at various points in the M.Arch degree, using Direct and Indirect methods with Internal and External reviewers, at the following Assessment Events:

  • ARC 510c─DIRECT: At the final review, qualified external critics score student work on the five primary Learning Outcomes according to Learning Objectives for an INTRODUCTORY level. The evaluation form is attached below.
  • ARC 510c─INDIRECT: Students self-evaluate using the same score sheet used in the Direct assessment. The survey is attached below.
  • MILESTONE─DIRECT: At the completion of ARC 510e, as part of the Milestone, student portfolios are scored by SoA faculty for 4-5 criteria under each of the five primary Learning Objectives; the work is evaluated at a BASIC level of ability.
  • MILESTONE─INDIRECT: As part of Milestone, students are asked to complete the same survey used in the Direct assessment.
  • ARC 909─DIRECT: At the review of the final Master’s Project, the final project of the M.Arch, selected external critics score the work for the five primary Learning Objectives for a BASIC-to-ADVANCED level. The evaluation form is attached below.
  • ARC 909─INDIRECT: In an Exit Interview and Survey, students are asked to evaluate their classmates in general (and themselves in particular) by the same criteria used in the MILESTONE survey. The survey is attached below.*
  • M.ARCH WALK-THROUGH: At the end of every semester, every course and studio exhibit examples of "high pass" and "low pass" work for every significant assignment. The M.Arch faculty, along with the Director, chronologically review the work, learning objectives, and teaching methods. Special attention is given to knowledge and skills needed at entry/exit points at each semester. The walk-through serves as a forum by which changes to curriculum and teaching methods are discussed and learning objectives are evaluated and moved between courses.

* In 2016, OIA requested that we change the survey to reflect the students' evaluation of their mastery of learning outcome, rather than the quality of specific courses. The survey used from 2014 through 2016 (ARC909 Self Evaluation Survey) and the survey we will use starting in Spring 2017 (ARC909 Self Evaluation Survey REVISED) are attached below.

Measurement
All results must be measurable. For example, if the learning outcome is “students will demonstrate structural principles in the execution of their designs,” then measurable criteria might be: a) structural loads transferred from roof to foundation, b) each structural component of plausible dimension and material, and c) structural system evident in design concept. Each criterion is scored and entered in a table. A sample evaluation, ARC 510c Learning Outcomes Evaluation Form, is attached below.

Assessment
Progress is assessed at various chronological points in the program and achievement determined by both Direct and Indirect means:

  • Direct assessment includes evaluations of projects against specific criteria; assessments are performed by both internal (faculty) and external (qualified guest critic) reviewers.
  • Indirect assessment includes subjective reports by students of their own experience and evaluations by internal (UA Faculty and students) and external reviewers (professionals and non-UA academics).
Assessment Findings: 

The SoA Assessment Standards for the M.Arch Program were initiated in Spring 2015. The following assessment activities occur at the end of each spring semester.

  • ARC 510c─Evaluations by External Reviewers
  • ARC 510c─Self-Evaluations
  • ARC 510e (Milestone)─Student Portfolio Review
  • ARC 510e (Milestone)─Self-Evaluations
  • ARC 909─Evaluations by External Reviewers
  • ARC 909Self-Evaluations

The remaining assessment activity—the M.Arch Walk-Through—occurs at the end of each semester.

FINDINGS

ARC 510c Evaluations by External Reviewers
The panel of external reviews were asked to evaluate final ARC 510c projects presented by students according to the Five Critical Learning Outcomes. The scale used for scoring was: 10 = exceptional, 7 = good, 5 = competent, 3 = weak, 0 = not evident. The results for Fall 2013 and Fall 2014 are:

Stream Evaluated Spring 2015  
Studio 5.40 COMPETENT  
Technology  5.00 COMPETENT  
Design Communication 5.60 COMPETENT/GOOD  
History+Theory 4.60 WEAK/COMPETENT  
Practice 5.52 COMPETENT  

ARC 510c Student Self-Evaluations 
A survey is distributed to ARC510c students at the end of the spring semester. Students are asked to evaluate ttheir performance within the five curricular streams.Students could select from the following grades for each area evaluated:

  • A: Excellence in most areas of evaluation. (assigned a value of 5 points)
  • B: High Competence in most areas of evaluation. (assigned a value of 4 points)
  • C: Fulfilled all course requirements with competence. (assigned a value of 3 points)
  • D: Less than competent work in one or more areas. (assigned a value of 2 points)
  • F: Substantially incomplete and/or unsatisfactory quality (assigned a value of 1 point)

The average scores for self-evaluation within each stream are as follows:

Stream Evaluated Spring 2015  
Studio 3.00 (COMPETENT)  
Technology 3.00 (COMPETENT)  
Design Communication 3.00 (COMPETENT)  
History + Theory 4.00 (HIGH COMPETENCE)  
Practice 3.00 (COMPETENT)  
Average across all curricular streams 3.20 (COMPETENT)  

ARC 510e Milestone Student Self-Evaluation

A survey is distributed to ARC 510e students at the end of the spring semester. Students were asked to evaluate themselves, other students in their section, and other students within the class according to perceived performance in 30 categories within five curricular streams. Students could select from the following grades for each area evaluated:
  • A: Excellence in most areas of evaluation. (assigned a value of 5 points)
  • B: High Competence in most areas of evaluation. (assigned a value of 4 points)
  • C: Fulfilled all course requirements with competence. (assigned a value of 3 points)
  • D: Less than competent work in one or more areas. (assigned a value of 2 points)
  • F: Substantially incomplete and/or unsatisfactory quality (assigned a value of 1 point)

The average scores for self-evaluation within each stream are as follows:

Stream Evaluated Spring 2015  
Studio 3.50 (COMPETENT/HIGH COMPETENCE)  
Technology 3.57 (COMPETENT/HIGH COMPETENCE)  
Design Communication 3.50 (COMPETENT/HIGH COMPETENCE)  
History + Theory 3.50 (COMPETENT/HIGH COMPETENCE)  
Practice 3.60 (COMPETENT/HIGH COMPETENCE)  
Average across all curricular streams 3.53 (COMPETENT/HIGH COMPETENCE)  

ARC 510e (Milestone)Student Portfolio Review

The M.Arch Milestone was introduced in 2014 and “rehearsed” at the conclusion of the spring 2015 semester without jury evaluations and recommendations being actionable. At the conclusion of the spring 2016 semester the Milestone will be carried out and jury evaluations and recommendations will have effect.

Spring 2015: For the M.Arch Milestone 2015 ten students submitted portfolios to be evaluated under 34 criteria. Two students met and exceeded conditions; these students were “rewarded” with a guaranteed placement in their first choice amongst option studios in Fall 2015. The lowest scoring portfolio corresponded to a student who did not pass and is repeating ARC510E. All other students had portfolios scoring between 20 and 32 out of 34. The scores overall were low; students acknowledge having put little effort into the portfolios due to the process having no binding repercussions that year.

This year the milestone process was introduced to both M.Arch III and M.Arch II students; students are being encouraged to start early and work towards this deadline with consistent and incremental effort.
 

ARC 909 Evaluations by External Reviewers
The panel of external reviews were asked to evaluate final ARC 909 (Graduate Thesis) projects presented by students according to the Five Critical Learning Outcomes. The scale used for scoring was: 10 = exceptional, 7 = good, 5 = competent, 3 = weak, 0 = not evident. The results, based on a BASIC to ADVANCED level of ability are:

Stream Evaluated Spring 2015 Spring 2016
Studio 5.67 (COMPETENT)          5.72 (COMPETENT)   
Technology  5.17 (COMPETENT) 5.08 (COMPETENT)   
Design Communication 5.83 (COMPETENT) 5.90 (COMPETENT)   
History+Theory 5.17 (COMPETENT) 5.22 (COMPETENT)   
Practice 5.50 (COMPETENT) 5.67 (COMPETENT)   

A sample evaluation form, ARC 909 Learning Outcomes Evaluation Form, is provided below.

ARC 909 Thesis Student Self-Evaluation 
A survey is distributed to ARC909 students each spring. Students are asked to provide their feedback on curriculum, faculty and staff, resources, and other issues as they experienced them throughout their CAPLA careers. Because this survey is designed as a strategic planning tool and as a gauge of successful learning outcomes, responses not related to learning outcomes (particularly those that include faculty or staff names) are not included in this survey summary.

Sttudents responded to a request to evaluate the quality of SoA curriculum by Stream as Excellent, Good, Fair, or Poor. Their ratings are as follows:

2015

Stream              Excellent Good        Fair          Poor       
Studio 20% 80% 0% 0%
Technology 40% 0% 60% 0%
Design Communications             20% 40% 40% 0%
History+Theory 40% 20% 20% 20%
Practice 0% 40% 40% 0%
Electives 20% 40% 40% 0%

2016

Stream              Excellent Good        Fair          Poor       
Studio 83% 17% 0% 0%
Technology 33% 50% 17% 0%
Design Communications             17% 83% 0% 0%
History+Theory 50% 33% 17% 0%
Practice 66% 17% 17% 0%
Electives 17% 50% 33% 0%

 

Students responded to a request to evaluate the quality of SoA instruction by Year as Excellent, Good, Fair, or Poor. Their ratings are as follows:

2015

Year                                               Excellent Good     Fair        Poor
M.Arch III                                40%         40%         20%            25%
M.Arch II 0% 100% 0% 0%
M.Arch I 60% 40% 13% 0%
Summer Immersion 43% 29% 14% 0%

2016

Year                                               Excellent Good     Fair        Poor
M.Arch III                                50%         50%         0%            25%
M.Arch II 67% 33% 0% 0%
M.Arch I 67% 33% 0% 0%
Summer Immersion 83% 17% 0% 0%

 

Students provided feedback on how well they thought SoA prepared them for post-graduation using the following measures:

2015

Activity/Skill Excellent Good Fair Poor
taking registration exam               0%           40%            60%           0%
professional skills, knowledge, habits 20% 40% 40% 0%
design 20% 60% 20% 0%
fabrication and construction 20% 60% 20% 0%
intellectual inquiry and scholarship 60% 0% 40% 0%
job interviewing and portfolio 0% 20% 40% 40%
sustainability 40% 20% 40% 0%
citizenship and societal contribution 40% 40% 20% 0%

2016

Activity/Skill Excellent Good Fair Poor
taking registration exam               17%           83%            0%           0%
professional skills, knowledge, habits 66% 17% 17% 0%
design 66% 34% 20% 0%
fabrication and construction 66% 17% 17% 0%
intellectual inquiry and scholarship 33% 50% 17% 0%
job interviewing and portfolio 33% 67% 0% 0%
sustainability 83% 17% 0% 0%
citizenship and societal contribution 50% 0% 50% 0%

 

M.Arch Walk-Throughs

Fall 2015

  • ARC 510B: Main change is now two projects instead of one; still a dwelling--
one in Barrio, one in Summerhaven.

  • concern that the sloped site and different climate conditions took away from the studio's intended focus on tectonics; 
site and climate are THE key concerns of the following studio.

  • good material explorations, can be built upon even more through tighter synergy with MMI and STRI

  • recommend also pushing the formatting of final presentations more so that the students develop a better sense of ordering their visual presentations.
improvement from last year in terms of rendering and general graphic presentation.
overall strong projects.
  • ARC 540B: generally good improvements to DCI; rendering completely slipped through the cracks last year; that has now been integrated and the students did a good job; they developed various other digital communications skills and physical model building skills.
  • ARC 510D: More culturally diverse and more evenly balanced incoming 4+2/international students and continuing students.
this group missed out on learning rendering as it was not covered by their studio/DCII prof the year before; an emergency end of semester tutorial needed to be organized; further tutorials need to be set up in the spring to help these students catch up.
similarly there are software work-flow issues that shoudl be addressed.
difficulty discovering the gaps in knowledge before it is too late. recommendation was to front load a smaller study with all drawing and modeling skills as a portion of the requirements to identify gaps in skills and work-flow issues earlier.
get Ray involved with ECSII overlap in week 5-6
still some students not hitting the mark or making deadlines in time; 
it is an 18 cr semester and this remains a heavy burden, esp for students transitioning from other schools and cultures.
  • ARC 540C: integrate use of DCIII parametric testing of passive strategies in / around week 6 + active strategies; perhaps add more exercises to lead up to final project.
  • ARC 451B: M.Arch I
Design Buid studio was very successful adn much awaited experience for 3 of the M.Arch students
  • grads excelled in the Downtown Studio; 
positive impact with their approach to and amount of production; they pushed the bar up and had a positive impact on UGs; 
McIntosh section would have benefitted to have not just one M.Arch in the group--too isolating (
the student in this studio was the lowest performing up to this point. it was a struggle but she prevailed and came through in the end. Her research was amongst the best of the group.)
  • conflict of attention for M.Arch students (between 510F/Vertical studio and 909); even bigger conflict with remote students/
coordination of group research and analysis exacerbated by the students not having a shared space; could there be an M.Arch room/Lounge/wall within the M.Arch space next fall.? SOMETHING they can claim?
 Remote students not able to keep up.
  • GENERAL: great group of students. all faculty was impressed by their collegiality, thoughtful engagement in seminars in all courses.
 General suggestions: need for an M.Arch mixer each semester; get students to be aware of and appreciative of cultural diversity as well as backgrounds; 
get back to holding faculty lectures / pecha kuchas to contribute to general culture of the school; need greater coordination across 4 courses (studio, DC + 2 technology) and increasing student responsibility in seminars.

Spring 2016

No Walk-Through was conducted in Spring 2016, as the School had just completed teh NAAB Accrediation process in February where student work was thoroughly examined by the Visiting Team. The report is attached below.

Change in Response to Findings: 

From information learned in recent year’s M.ARCH WALK-THROUGHS, the following changes are being enacted in AY 2014-2015:

MILESTONE: The M.Arch Milestone takes effect at the end of the M.Arch II year. From the B.Arch Milestone 2, we learned that a comprehensive (non-course specific) evaluation of student portfolios supports students in being more responsible for internalizing learning objectives (as opposed to passing courses) while also giving the School an important assessment of student progress toward degree.

The Professional Practice Stream was strengthened by giving ARC 550c Ethics and Practice fewer SPC and an additional CU (from 2 to 3-CU).
The Technology Stream was strengthened by improving connections between ARC 520f Environmental Controls Systems 2 and two design studios: ARC 510d and ARC 510f.

  1. The instructor for ARC 520f served as a consultant for environmental control systems in both the studios;
  2.  A team of professional engineers and architects were brought in to consult with students on the ARC 510f projects;
  3. Two graded assignments were created in ARC 520f related to student projects in ARC 510d:

a. SECTION: A building section of each student’s studio project showing mechanical systems.

b. MODEL: A physical model of the mechanical systems of each student’s studio project.

Assessments of these initiatives are forthcoming.

From information learned in recent year’s M.ARCH WALK-THROUGHS, the following changes are being enacted in AY 2015-2016:

ARC 510F: Previously a highly programmed studio, the learning objects were pushed down to previous students (with a cascading effect) to allow this to become a vertical, highly-unstructured, enrichment experience. For students who pass the Milestone, this studio will offer options in study abroad, design/build, applied research, and urban design/outreach projects.

 

Updated date: Tue, 10/04/2016 - 14:37