Editor’s note: This story is part of our MC faculty and staff series in which professors and/or staff members discuss relevant topics within their areas of expertise.
Last May, Montgomery College received accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), making it one of only a few two-year schools in the country to achieve this recognition. NASAD accreditation signifies MC’s alignment with national and international standards and ensures the continued viability and quality of our art and design programs. It will improve transfer opportunities for our students and aid in the establishment of new articulation agreements with four-year colleges and universities.
Attaining NASAD accreditation required a great deal of work and collaboration between the departments of Visual Arts, Media Arts and Technology, and Interior Design on the Rockville, Germantown, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring campuses. It began in 2019 with a visit from a NASAD consultant and the selection of faculty representatives to conduct a self-study. Over the course of the next few months (in a process that usually takes two years), the MC team took stock of our programs’ strengths and weaknesses and produced an impressive study that garnered praise from NASAD reviewers.
In preparation for the NASAD accreditation team’s visit, faculty and staff also worked together to install impressive displays of student art. The galleries and halls of the Rockville Art Building and Technical Center, Germantown’s High Technology Building, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring’s Cafritz Arts Center were filled from floor to ceiling with paintings, drawings, sculpture, ceramics, prints, and metal art.
NASAD will improve transfer opportunities for our students and aid in the establishment of new articulation agreements with four-year colleges and universities.
In the spring of 2020, the NASAD team conducted five days of intensive review of our art and design programs. They praised MC’s exceptional preparedness for the visit and commended the strength of our students’ work. They were impressed by our studio facilities, technology, and safety procedures, and noted that students felt that faculty were attentive to their needs. In addition to applauding MC’s commitment to radical inclusivity, the team made note of our excellent Community Arts offerings, Artist-in-Residence, and exhibition programming.
In meetings with the NASAD team, students expressed appreciation for the strong sense of community on each campus and indicated that they felt that faculty were invested in their success. They felt motivated by the faculty’s high expectations of them and noted the exceptional quality of feedback they received in critiques. In addition, students spoke highly of the faculty’s role in helping them navigate their way toward degrees and transfer to four-year institutions, citing the formal and informal advisement they received from individual art and design faculty.
The NASAD team commended such considerations as block scheduling of studio classes, small class sizes, and shared common core curricula that contributed to student satisfaction. In addition to creating a sense of community, these aspects of our art and design programs reduce the time-to-completion of degrees and increase academic success and transfer rates.
NASAD accreditation will aid in the formation of academic partnerships and articulation agreements with area institutions, some of which are already in the final stages of approval. These include Salisbury University at the Universities at Shady Grove, the George Washington University and the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design, Maryland Institute College of Art, Notre Dame of Maryland University, and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Chair of the Rockville and Germantown Art Department, Tendai Johnson, credits the support of College leadership, including Dr. Frank Trezza, Dean of Visual, Performing, and Media Arts; Ed Roberts, Dean of Applied Technologies and the Gudelsky Institute for Technical Education; Dr. Kim Kelley, Vice President and Provost, Rockville Campus; George Payne, Vice President and Provost, Applied Technologies and the Gudelsky Institute for Technical Education, and Dr. Sanjay Rai, Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs, with the project’s success. In addition, the art and design faculty, staff, and chairs, particularly those who served on the NASAD self-study committee, were integral to this landmark achievement.