Accreditation From National Association Of Schools Of Arts And Design Bring Prestige To USC Upstate’s Programs

January 29, 2010 at 10:22 am

The University of South Carolina Upstate recently received accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), which is sure to bring more notice to its ever-expanding arts programs. Currently USC Upstate offers art degree programs – a Bachelor of Arts with an emphasis in graphic design and a Bachelor of Arts in Art Education.

“This is a major accomplishment for USC Upstate as we have such a young program,” said Jane Allen Nodine, professor of art and director of the Curtis R. Harley Art Gallery at USC Upstate. “The Upstate Visual Arts program is less than 10 years old and has only been awarding a degree since 2002. Most colleges or universities have programs that are 20 years or older before they apply for and attain NASAD accreditation.”

Founded in 1944, NASAD establishes national standards for undergraduate and graduate degrees and other credentials. It has approximately 294 accredited institutional members. The granting of accredited Membership by the Commission on Accreditation signifies that an institution has successfully demonstrated compliance with the procedures, standards, and guidelines of the Association. Integral to this voluntary process is ongoing, regularized self-evaluation and peer review.  Accreditation, in practical terms, is a stamp of approval, a sign that an institution ascribes to, believes in, and has met an external set of basic criteria for the programs it offers. In some cases, accreditation assists in the transfer of credits from one institution to another. In all cases, it indicates that threshold standards are adhered to in a fashion that provides a base of academic strength and operational integrity.

Earning this accreditation is a process that has taken five years and countless hours. The NASAD accreditation process consists of a self-evaluation of the institution or unit, an on-site review by a group of evaluators, and judgment by an accreditation decision-making body, normally a commission. Accreditation reviews focus on educational quality, institutional integrity, and educational improvements.

“This challenging process takes a great program and elevates it to an even higher level, giving it national recognition,” said Lisa Anderson, associate professor of graphic design at USC Upstate who also served as lead author of the self-study and response writer and coordinator of the entire accreditation process. “We are certainly proud of this accomplishment and are confident that it will help ensure the success of our students.”

Based on the experiences of other schools that have received accreditation from NASAD, USC Upstate can anticipate an increase in interest in its art programs as accreditation assures students, parents and the public that the University adheres to standards based on the latest research and professional practice. Accreditation also creates a gateway for students to participate in federally-funded and state financial aid programs, as well as creates a benefit for those students who choose to pursue graduate studies as graduates from programs at accredited art colleges qualify to attend other accredited schools to pursue advanced studies, including MFA and doctoral programs.

For more information, contact Jane Allen Nodine, professor of art and director of the Curtis R. Harley Art Gallery at USC Upstate, at (864) 503-5838 or