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ARCHITECTURAL EDUCATION AND QUALITY ASSURANCE IN THE EUROPEAN HIGHER EDUCATION AREA: DESIGN RESEARCH AS A PLEA FOR ACADEMIC FREEDOM.

Abstract
By : Sigrid Pauwels, Johan De Walsche, Dra. Lies Declerck

 
The authors reflect on the academic bachelor and master programs of architecture. From the perspective of higher education policy in Flanders, Belgium, they examine the intrinsic challenges of the academic educational setting, and the way architectural education can fit in and benefit from it, without losing its specific design oriented qualities. Therefore, they unravel the process of architectural design research, as a discipline-authentic way of knowledge production, leading to the identification of a number of implicit features of an academic architectural learning environment. The disquisition is based on educational arguments pointed out by literature and theory. Furthermore, the authors analyze whether this learning environment can comply with general standards of external quality assurance and accreditation systems. Doing so, they reveal the Achilles’ heel of architectural education: the incompatibility of the design jury with formalized assessment frameworks. Finally, the authors conclude with an advocacy for academic freedom. To assure the quality of academic architectural programs, it is necessary that universities maintain a critical attitude towards standardized policy frameworks.
Keywords: Educational Policy, Architectural Education, Design Research, External Quality Assurance, Academic Freedom.

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