Commission should approve proposed degree in architecture

Indiana University’s proposed Master of Architecture program, which would be administered in Columbus, is a step from formal approval. And if the Indiana Commission for Higher Education gives it a thumbs-up next month, it will be a victory achieved through hard work and negotiation.

The approval process has taken longer than expected since IU announced the proposed degree in August, but that time has provided a fair review of the proposal and allowed time to work out concerns.

IU and Ball State University reached a six-point agreement to assuage concerns BSU had raised for months about proposed degree’s the impact on its long-standing architecture program.

The agreement seems to benefit all involved, which is good news for Columbus, which would expect to start hosting students in the fall of 2018. Some key points in the agreement:

  • IU will not seek to establish an undergraduate architecture program on any of its campuses.
  • IU will not offer a Master of Architecture degree in any other community in Indiana except Columbus, or online.
  • Both universities will establish a joint architectural research center in Columbus.
  • Both universities will work to develop a formal partnership with the Columbus Indiana Architectural Archives, potentially to be housed at an IU facility in Columbus.

We applaud the dialog between IU and Ball State University that resulted in the agreement, which spells out what should or should not occur in the best interests of everyone.

The agreement sets the stage for widespread support when the commission is expected to vote on the proposal at its March 9 meeting. We hope the commission agrees and votes to approve the degree program.

IU is a world-renowned university, and Columbus has a national reputation for its more than 60 examples of Modern architecture. The partnership between the two, and using the IU Center for Art + Design Columbus to house the program, makes sense.

It would open new opportunities for students seeking a career in architecture, and for the community to benefit through hands-on learning. It would also result in two universities collaborating to create an important resource in an architectural research center.

What has been proposed and negotiated is a winning scenario all involved: the universities, Columbus and architectural students.