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Alphabetical List of NASAD Publications
Accreditation Procedures, Documents, and Forms
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Assessment and Policy Studies
NASAD Briefing Letters: Spring 2007
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Achievement and Quality: Higher Education in the Arts

Accrediting Commission for Community and Precollegiate Arts Schools (ACCPAS)

Council of Arts Accrediting Associations (CAAA)

Higher Education Arts Data Services (HEADS)

National Office for Arts Accreditation (NOAA)


Assessment and Policy Studies

The hyperlinks in titles below access PDF documents or, in some cases, separate web pages containing links to PDF documents, unless stated otherwise.

Assessment of Graduate Programs in Art and Design provides a framework for analyzing graduate art/design programs and curricula.

Assessment of Undergraduate Programs in Art and Design is designed to assist institutions and individuals to make assessments about undergraduate degrees and develop a holistic view of undergraduate study.

Assessment on Our Own Terms is a look at the question of assessment from an internal disciplinary perspective. This policy brief discusses issues related to evaluation in the visual arts and design; why art- and design-specific evaluations are important to the true nature of these fields; and explaining our craft to those outside the profession. This document is particularly applicable in situations where expert knowledge of the visual arts and design professions is challenged and focus on quality assessments is being diminished in favor of external control.

Briefing Letters: Spring 2007. Eleven NASAD briefing letters distributed to institutional representatives during the period February through May 2007 are available for free download and unrestricted use and distribution by institutions of higher education and other interested parties. The briefing letters provide an overview of several issues associated with the relationship among institutions of higher education and accrediting organizations. Traditionally, this relationship was conceived and operated on the principle that each entity was independent, and independence was to be especially protected with regard to specific academic decisions. Read more and/or download the briefing letters by clicking on the subheading at left, or the title above.


A loose-leaf series of ten topical reports designed to distill major themes, trends, and projections into a form that encourages individual reflection and planning by art/design executives in higher education. The ten issues include: Overview of Future Issues; Demographics and Multicultural Concerns; Art/Design: Values, Traditions, Means, and Product; Professional Education and Training; Economics; K-12 Issues and Influences; Technology and Technique; Values and Ideas; Scholarship, Research and Policy Studies; and Administrative Challenges.


This document contains several optional sets of questions that can be used in various ways in the course of the self-study process and/or as a basis for writing the Self-Study document. It is intended for institutions that wish to explore one or more issues in greater depth during the course of the Self-Study. No institution is required to use this document or the questions contained within it. Institutions are welcome to add, subtract, combine, and otherwise alter any question set to make it applicable to their specific needs.


The following papers were produced by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design on issues relevant to graduate study in art and design.

Studio Art and Design and Research: Multiple Relationships and Possibilities. This policy analysis paper explores research and its relationships to studio work. Its purpose is to provide an analytical policy review of a number of issues associated with studio art and design and research.

Thinking About Terminal Professional Degrees in Art and Design. This policy analysis paper focuses on the question about whether nationally the professional terminal degree in art and design should be a doctorate rather than a Master of Fine Arts. This analysis reflects the fact that the MFA and the Ph.D. serve different basic purposes that remain constant as practice and designations evolve.


The Sourcebook for Futures Planning and its four supplements represent a compendium of methods for analyzing future trends and conditions and their impact on art/design units. Liberally illustrated with charts, the workbook contains planning tools of varying complexity to enable art/design executives to select portions of particular applicability to their situations and experience.

Sourcebook for Futures Planning ~ includes Supplement I which provides additional planning tools and indicates some general applications of Sourcebook ideas.

Sourcebook Supplement II contains applications for K-12 education in art/design and strategic planning for faculty. (Not available to download.) $10.00.

Sourcebook Supplement III contains applications for curriculum and program planning and for diversity and multicultural issues. (Not available to download.)  $10.00.

Sourcebook Supplement IV : Creating Your Self-Study contains the nature and multiple uses of institutional self-study reports. The primary focus is self-study for accreditation reviews, but other applications are possible.


NASAD produced two documents as part of a joint task force for various arts accrediting agencies:

Work of Arts Faculties in Higher Education explains the basic nature of intellectual and creative work in the arts and presents lists of responsibilities undertaken by faculties in various arts disciplines.

Local Assessment of Evaluation and Reward Systems for Arts Faculties in Higher Education poses a series of questions for use in assessing local faculty evaluation and reward systems as applied to arts faculties.


A Guide to Assessing Your Arts School: Questions for Internal Review and Reflection. Developed jointly by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Precollegiate Arts Schools (ACCPAS) and the Arts Schools Network, the new Guide to Assessing Your Arts School is designed to assist personnel in arts-focused elementary, middle, and secondary schools with important responsibilities for planning, evaluating, and implementing effective organizational development. The Guide is an assessment tool that uses questions based on ACCPAS accreditation standards, and addresses a wide range of issues from purposes to finances, governance, staffing, facilities, evaluation, planning, and more. NASAD standards and ACCPAS standards are compatible.

A Guide to Assessing Your Community Arts School: Questions for Internal Review and Reflection. Developed jointly by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Precollegiate Arts Schools (ACCPAS) and the National Guild for Community Arts Education (formerly National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts), this Guide was designed to assist community arts school leaders with the important task of organizational assessment in a format that correlates freestanding sets of assessment questions to ACCPAS standards. Community art and design schools affiliated with NASAD postsecondary member institutions will find the Guide useful irrespective of its ACCPAS content. NASAD standards and ACCPAS standards are compatible.


The following briefing papers were produced by the Council of Arts Accrediting Associations on issues relevant to the arts in higher education.

Children and Youth, the Arts, and Public Policy: Present Urgencies for Higher Education sorts out various definitions of arts education and makes the case for school-based curricular programs for all children led by highly qualified teachers. Covers issues of the arts as basic subjects, experience versus study, funding pressures, the role of specialist arts teachers, and the importance of standards.

Disciplines in Combination: Interdisciplinary, Multi-Disciplinary, and Other Collaborative Programs of Study poses definitions, analyses, questions, and cautions in regard to collaborative work among the arts disciplines and between the arts and outside fields.

Distance Education and the Arts Disciplines provides a checklist of policy issues in this developing field.

Giftedness, Arts Study, and Work answers questions often posed by students and parents about majoring in an arts discipline.

Guiding the Arts Student: Academic Advising, Career Counseling, and Mentoring identifies issues for institutions and administrators concerned with the provision of academic advising, career counseling, and mentoring for arts students. A bibliography is included.

Health Issues for Performing and Visual Arts Students (An Overview of) discusses medical issues for performing and visual arts students in general and by discipline, emphasizing the new relationship between prevention and treatment.

Minority Students and Access to Arts Study surveys issues concerning involvement of minority students in arts study at the pre-collegiate level, as well as current efforts to increase this involvement. Relationships of these issues to higher education are discussed.

Outcomes Assessment and Arts Programs in Higher Education explores the issue of outcomes assessment in higher education from the perspective of arts programs. Makes the point that outcomes assessment in the arts must adopt an artistic approach, not a technological one.

Policy-Making, The Arts and School Change examines the philosophical foundations of policy-making in K-12 education, with particular emphasis on current notions of education reform. It then makes the case for giving the arts a basic place in the K-12 curriculum, in ways which respect the integrity of the arts.

Tough Questions and Straight Answers about Arts Accreditation responds frankly to current national discussions and controversies about accreditation -- costs, benefits, time requirements, duplication of reviews, how standards are set and applied, etc.

Work of Arts Executives in Higher Education outlines the multiple roles and responsibilities of those who direct arts programs in higher education. Shows that in addition to academic administration, arts executives may function as artistic directors, producers, facilities managers and community leaders.


Creation, Performance, Research: Multiple Relationships and Possibilities considers issues of relationships among creation, performance and research within specific arts disciplines, across the arts, and in the relationships of the arts with other disciplines. This policy brief is intended to assist faculties and administrators in looking at these issues comprehensively and strategically as local potentials are reviewed and decisions are made. It addresses questions of equivalency and parity in considerations of faculty work, various definitions of research and their ramifications in arts contexts, multidisciplinary issues, and questions associated with policy and curriculum development.


The following publications were produced by the Working Group on the Arts in Higher Education (WGAHE). These five brochures are suitable for policy development work at local and state levels. (Not available to download.)  Each title is available individually for $1.00, or all five brochures may be purchased together for $4.00.

Arts Education: Beyond Tradition and Advocacy is the Working Group's most popular brochure, giving convincing reasons for rigorous, sequential arts education at the K-12 level. Targeted to education decision-makers beyond the arts education community. (Not available to download.) $1.00.

The Arts, Liberal Education and the Undergraduate Curriculum addresses the importance of art in the education of all college students, the value of liberal education for artists, and the history of American practice in the arts. Particularly useful in campus debates over curricular content and distribution. (Not available to download.) $1.00.

Higher Education and the Arts in the United States explains the various roles higher education plays in the American arts community. Teaching, presentation, scholarship, and service are highlighted. (Not available to download.) $1.00.

The Structure of the Arts in the United States makes a compelling case for cooperation among the education, creation/presentation, and support sectors of the arts. Provides a basis for common local action. (Not available to download.) $1.00.

Teacher Education in the Arts Disciplines undertakes a comprehensive review of teacher preparation issues. Formal education, contextual influences, accountability, and a set of targeted recommendations are presented. (Not available to download.) $1.00.

All five WGAHE Brochures (Not available to download.) $4.00.


The following five papers were produced by AIGA, the professional association for design, and NASAD on issues of graphic design programs in higher education. 

Degree Programs and Graphic Design: Purposes, Structures, and Results addresses two critical issues: relationships among various degree programs and professional preparation, and truth in advertising.

General Education and the Professional Study of Graphic Design addresses the role of general education courses in preparing students for the expanding domain of graphic design.

Making Choices About the Study of Graphic Design is intended to help students consider the extent to which specific graphic design programs can accomplish their published goals and the clarity and accuracy of claims about career preparation.

Selecting and Supporting Graphic Design Facultypromotes thoughtful assessments of faculty qualifications to teach graphic design and of faculty effectiveness.

Technology Thresholds in Graphic Design Programsis intended to facilitate and enrich assessments of technological resources and instruction in college and university graphic design programs.

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