Recently, the Department of Art & Art History took another step toward enhancing its nationally ranked program.
Professor and Department Chair Robert Hower was recently named to the National Association of Schools of Art and Design’s Commission on Accreditation. NASAD is the national accrediting body for more than 330 schools throughout the U.S.
In his new role, Hower will meet with the commission twice a year to make accreditation recommendations to the NASAD board.
“This is an honor,” Hower said. “Everyone who travels and visits an institution or reviews accreditation documentation has a meaningful stake in the process. [NASAD is] an organization that helps institutions establish standards for undergraduate and graduate degrees. So when you are part of the process, you are defining what is important and what the standards should be. It can elevate the whole organization.”
Hower has a 15-year relationship with NASAD. At previous universities — including Kansas State — he worked on that school’s accreditation documentation. At UT Arlington, Hower helped his department win NASAD accreditation on its first submission.
Over the years, Hower has given presentations on program branding and program development at NCAA (National Council of Art Administrators) annual meetings. He has also worked as an outside reviewer for NASAD, documenting applying school’s strengths and weaknesses and possible safety or program concerns.
“When you visit programs that are applying for accreditation, you’re the eyes and ears of NASAD,” he said. “You review and report on what you see to ensure compliance.”
As a commission member, Hower will now review those reports and make recommendations.
Hower said while he is honored to have a larger stake in NASAD and the accrediting process, he is quick to point out how the appointment impacts UT Arlington.
“The most important point is how it makes this department and The University of Texas at Arlington look,” he said. “You want to be respected as a professional, but you want your university and program to be the focus.
“Our goal is to be a Top 25 art and art history department. It’s a challenge. You need to have all the pieces to the puzzle: the advertising, visiting scholars and artists, funding, and our faculty and students who create outstanding work. The NASAD appointment is just one of the pieces.”
For Hower, the “outstanding, service-oriented faculty” in his department has enriched his experience at UT Arlington. He said the quality of instructors, as well as the quality of their work, will benefit students and the university for years to come.
“We attract high-quality people and our reputation is growing,” Hower said. “Our faculty members are very good artists, designers and art historians. The best is yet to come for our high trajectory program.”