« Love ‘em or hate ‘em, school rankings are influencing prospective students’ decisions on where to apply, and architecture firms’ decisions on whom to employ. RECORD looks at this year’s survey and asks people in academia and the profession what it all means.
The DesignIntelligence rankings are a lightning rod for comment because they have become a tool for students choosing the academic programs that will launch their design careers. Today they are the only attempt to rank accredited Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) and Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) programs in the United States.
James Cramer, the founding president of DFC and publisher and founding editor of DesignIntelligence, says the undertaking wasn’t always a reference for application and enrollment decisions. In the mid-1990s, “it was a privately commissioned report that architecture firms asked Greenway Group [Cramer’s consultancy company] to do. They knew they were unhappy with some schools, and they wanted to find out why,” he notes.
Historically, the rankings have leaned toward occupational preparedness. Administered by the Greenway Group, the rankings rely heavily on a proprietary survey distributed to the hiring authorities of several hundred architecture firms. (See sidebar on “Methodology,” next page.) Moreover, the 20-minute questionnaire focuses on recent graduates’ readiness to enter the architecture profession. The highlight of the survey asks participants to list their top 10 schools based on the practice readiness of their graduates, and follows up with several variations of the question oriented to particular skills. The answers usually reflect each firm’s hiring radius, as well as the broader sweep of reputation. »
(Source: Architectural Record)