The Regional Planning undergraduate program has earned national accreditation from the Planning Accreditation Board, joining only 13 other undergraduate programs in the United States to be nationally accredited.
Of the 85 planning programs in the country that are PAB accredited, 71 are graduate programs. IUP is the only accredited undergraduate program in Pennsylvania.
Professor Robert Begg, director of the Regional Planning program, cited "the hard work and talent of our faculty, the quality of our students, and support from our alumni and university administration" in making the accreditation possible.
IUP shares this honor with Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California, Berkeley, Columbia University, University of Michigan, Ohio State University, and the Georgia Institute of Technology.
The accreditation process is based on standards approved by the PAB and its sponsoring organizations, the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, the American Institute of Certified Planners, and the American Planning Association. The standards are based on curriculum content and quality measures that encourage appropriate professionalization of students.
"This accreditation indicates the high quality of our undergraduate planning program and the professional education that our students are receiving,” said Professor John Benhart Jr., chair of the Department of Geography and Regional Planning. “Our faculty, students, alumni, and professional network are among the best in the country.”
According to Begg, national accreditation has great benefits for students.
"Potential employers will know that our students possess the professional knowledge and skills to be effective planners, and students will enjoy opportunities, such as scholarships, through professional organizations like the American Institute of Certified Planners."
It also means that IUP graduates may sit for the planning certification examination in a shortened period of time.
Professor Yaw Asamoah, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, noted that the accreditation "helps us to continue to recruit the best students for our program.”
The Regional Planning program began the process in 2007 by inviting an assessment by an external consultant from a university with an accredited planning program. As a result of the positive recommendation, the faculty and administration decided to move forward with the accreditation effort.
A comprehensive self-study report describing and analyzing the undergraduate Regional Planning program at IUP was submitted to the Planning Accreditation Board in August 2010. The report was approved by the board, allowing the program to advance to candidacy in November of 2010. Approximately a year later, a site team from PAB came to IUP to meet with planning faculty, students, and alumni as part of its evaluation process.
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