• Fall 2023 Design 3 Live_Work Micro Dwelling TOD Project
    San Antonio College Architecture Program Fall 2023 Design 3 studio taught by Dwayne Bohuslav, Assoc. AIA - photo courtesy Dwayne Bohuslav

Following the 2021–2022 survey Expanding Access to Architectural Education and the identification of transfer-friendly practices, the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) Education Committee was charged with continuing to strengthen articulation between community colleges and professional and preprofessional architecture programs. Articulation agreements are formal agreements between two or more colleges and universities documenting the transfer policies for a specific program.

The committee’s charge was driven by the desire to make access to architectural education more equitable, to create a more inclusive and accessible profession, to support a more diverse student body at architectural institutions, and to address the increasing costs of architectural education. “Few can argue that affordable paths to high-quality architectural education are precious,” says Beth Garver, AIA, dean at the Boston Architectural College and ACSA liaison for the AIAS board of directors. “Community colleges promise a more affordable path for architecture students, who are able to successfully transfer studio course credit and do not need to retake courses with learning objectives they have already demonstrated.”

Currently, there are thirty-seven community colleges in Texas that offer two-year degrees in architecture. However, the State of Texas requires an accredited degree for licensure candidates to meet educational requirements, so it is important to note that alternative introductory programs are not meant to replace existing pathways. Instead, by collaborating with accredited schools of architecture, community colleges can help students work toward obtaining an accredited degree. The identification of transfer-friendly practices is a major component of success in these efforts. 

Thus, in June of 2023, the ACSA held the 2023 Convening to Advance Community College Transfer in Architectural Education, a two-day event organized to produce actionable goals to improve community college transfer policies for students seeking an architecture degree. Participating institutions included the ACSA, AIA, National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), AIAS, and the Coalition of Community College Architecture Programs (CCCAP). Among those attending the event were Dwayne Bohuslav, Assoc. AIA, an architecture professor at San Antonio College and a 2022–2023 Education Committee member; Emmanuel Moreno, a professor at El Paso Community College (EPCC) and board member for the CCCAP; and Joshua A. Foster, founder and CEO of JAF Creative Solutions in Los Angeles, an at-large director for ACSA, and a professor at East Los Angeles College. 

Bohuslav describes that these organizations came together for “workshops and discussions focused on actionable goals to improve community college transfer policies for students seeking an architecture degree.” He adds, “As program coordinator for San Antonio College’s architecture program, I am acutely aware that community colleges across the country want to provide professional degree paths for our underserved graduates.”

At the event, the ACSA Education Committee provided guidance on transfer-friendly practices rooted in three primary themes: relationships, pathways, and support. Says Bohuslav: “The development of a shared, collaborative plan to improve transferring from community colleges and to enable community college students to complete university degrees with little or no additional time is something that San Antonio College has been realizing in its Transfer Advising Guide relationships with the University of Texas at San Antonio, Texas Tech University, and the University of Houston for over a decade. It was very empowering to leave the convening with a sense that the awareness and encouragement of a toolkit for transfer and articulation for all community colleges might sooner than later be realized.”

Moreno has witnessed the program’s growth and the benefits to students in the El Paso region of exposure to architectural education. Currently, EPCC serves as a satellite campus for the Texas Tech University Huckabee College of Architecture, providing a 2+2 path (two years of coursework at a community college followed by two years at an accredited degree program) to obtain a bachelor’s degree. “Students have a branch campus in town and continue their studies,” says Moreno. “Our efforts have proven that the community is very interested in the architecture field.” 

Moreno also serves as a board member for the CCCAP and notes, “We are bridging the gap by an introduction to an attainable education for minority groups who traditionally do not pursue a career in architecture.” 

When asked about his hopes for the future of architecture, Foster says: “Community college programs should be equally spoken about as a starting point in cultivating a new generation of architects. Looking ahead, I envision a landscape where architectural education is not just a privilege for a few, but an accessible opportunity for many to inform all citizens of the built environment no matter what their profession becomes. It’s about breaking down barriers and building bridges—ensuring that students from all walks of life, regardless of their background, can access, afford, and excel in architectural studies.” 

NCARB recently released its Pathways to Practice initiative, which aims to create new routes to licensure that enable individuals who don’t have the means to attend five or more years of college or whose approaches to learning and application of skills do not fit into a traditional accredited education path to become architects. This, in collaboration with the work accomplished by educational advocates, will allow for a more inclusive and diverse profession, adding new opportunities and not diminishing existing pathways. In discussing the initiative, Foster says, “Ultimately, I hope to see a profession enriched by a multitude of voices and experiences, reflecting the true diversity of the communities we aim to serve.”

In the past decade, the soaring cost of architectural education has created a daunting barrier, making it harder for the next generation of practitioners to pursue their dreams. However, there is hope. By fostering a strong partnership between universities and community colleges, we can infuse the architectural industry with a vibrant tapestry of diverse voices, enriching the field as barriers are dismantled. Together, we can pave the way toward a more inclusive profession, where education is accessible to all and every aspiring architect feels welcome to join the journey.  

Gabriella Bermea, AIA, NOMA, is an associate and design architect with VLK Architects. Bermea is the 2024–2025 vice president of practice and recognition for the Texas Society of Architects and the 2024 communications director of the AIA Young Architects Forum.


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This is such a very important subject and I applaud all those individuals mentioned in this article for their dedication and continuing work. Mogas Architecture supports our local architectural programs at both San Antonio College and UTSA by employing, as often as possible, student interns and graduates of these programs.


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