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IU Bloomington to offer Master of Architecture degree with focus on Columbus, Indiana

For Immediate Release Mar 10, 2017
IU Center for Art and Design Columbus
IU Center for Art and Design Columbus

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana University Bloomington will offer a new Master of Architecture degree program based in the campus’s new School of Art and Design, beginning in the fall of 2018.

The program, approved today by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, will have its primary focus in Columbus, Indiana, an internationally recognized center for architecture, with courses also offered on the IU Bloomington campus. The American Institute of Architects rates Columbus as the sixth most architecturally significant city in the United States.

“The addition of the new Master of Architecture degree program, together with the new program in intelligent systems engineering, will contribute enormously to IU’s efforts to create and sustain a culture of ‘building and making’ on our Bloomington campus,” IU President Michael A. McRobbie said. “We view this culture as being essential and transformative for IU, enabling us to maximize the university’s potential for developing its inventions and innovations for the economic benefit of all Hoosiers. At the same time, architecture is a superb complement to IU’s outstanding strengths in the arts and humanities.”

The degree will be developed in collaboration with the Columbus community, including the Columbus Architectural Archives and the Institute for Coalition Building of the Columbus Education Coalition. An initial class of about 20 students is expected. It builds on the IU Center for Art and Design Columbus, which opened in 2011 in downtown Columbus to provide upper-level courses in design.

“With its roots in the strong and successful longstanding partnership between IU and the city of Columbus, one of the world’s greatest centers for modern architecture – and as part of IU Bloomington’s robust School of Art and Design – this program will also be well positioned to meet the considerable need for professional architects and designers both here in Indiana and nationwide,” McRobbie said. “We are deeply grateful to the commission for its support of this important program and its potential to greatly contribute to the growth and vitality of our state. And we wish to thank most sincerely our partners in Columbus for their very strong support for this program over many years.”

“We are thrilled to have this program in Columbus,” said Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop. “Beyond its educational benefits for the students, we see significant cultural and economic benefits, including university support for the Columbus Architectural Archives and greater exposure for the city’s architectural excellence. We believe the students who come through the program will have a slightly different take on the value of architecture and its importance to a community.

“I’d like to thank President McRobbie for his persistence in pursuing approval of this degree program,” Lienhoop said. “His commitment to our community never wavered.”

The program aligns with priorities in the IU Bicentennial Strategic Plan, including a culture of building and making and a commitment to student success, which includes pursuing new academic programs to respond to student aspirations and to regional, state and national needs.

It also responds to Indiana workforce needs. Employment of architects is projected to grow by more than 20 percent through 2022, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

“This new degree is a brilliant step for our state and our School of Art and Design,” said IU Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel. “It is a beautiful next step in a long partnership between IU Bloomington and the Columbus community centered on that city’s stunning architectural history. I am deeply grateful to our Columbus partners and all of our faculty for the vision to imagine this exciting and important program.”

An agreement with Ball State University, which offers undergraduate and graduate architecture degrees, describes how IU’s graduate program will be distinctive and spells out areas for future collaborations by IU and Ball State for the benefit of Columbus and the state of Indiana.

The IU degree program will blend architecture with principles of art and design, provide students with a robust background in coalition building and community partnership, and feature a strong international component and access to courses, seminars, exhibitions and other opportunities through the School of Art and Design.

“The architectural heritage of Columbus will provide our Master of Architecture students with an incredibly rich and innovative educational experience,” said Peg Faimon, dean of the School of Art and Design. “This, coupled with the wide array of opportunities in the School of Art and Design and IU Bloomington, will make this program unique in its ability to educate a new generation of architects ready to take on the challenges of the 21st century.”

The School of Art and Design at IU Bloomington launched last year after being approved by the IU Board of Trustees in August 2015. Part of the College of Arts and Sciences, it combined programs of study from the Department of Studio Art and the Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design.

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