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2022 Accreditation Standards

Amendment to the 2022 Accreditation Standards

Early this year, PAB will begin the process to amend the PAB standards with the goal of refining and clarifying the language and expectations related to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Substantive changes to the standards are not expected.

Recent Supreme Court decisions[1] and the proliferation of State anti-DEI legislation prompted PAB to engage legal counsel in reviewing the 2022 Accreditation Standards. The current DEI language in the 2022 standards has created uncertainty for program administrators and Site Visit Teams, such that the interpretation of the 2022 standards may run counter to PAB’s expectations. PAB standards respect institutional autonomy as they relate to admission practices (e.g., criterion 2A. Student Quality) and DEI efforts “consistent with applicable law and institutional policy” (e.g., criteria 2B. Student Diversity & 3B. Faculty Diversity); however, PAB also recognizes the need for flexibility and clarification with regards to assessment of DEI related standards.

Accredited university planning programs educate and prepare students for a globally connected world and advance the practice of planning through a greater understanding of complex systems, practices and policies that may lead to inequities. PAB will continue to expect accredited programs to demonstrate a commitment to DEI; however, those strategies and efforts will vary by institution. While the current political climate, in some places, may present challenging circumstances, PAB encourages programs to engage in new or innovative strategies to address the ideas and intentions embedded in DEI concepts within their programs and the curriculum.

Further information on the amendment process will be provided in the coming month. The first draft of the proposed PAB standards amendments will be released in April. There will be two 30-day public comment periods. All PAB stakeholders will be notified in advance

[1] Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, no.-20-1199, and Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. University of North Carolina et. al, No. 21-707

Transparency Matters: Addressing Upcoming Changes to the 2022 Accreditation Standards

On February 9, 2024, PAB hosted a town hall to discuss the upcoming amendment to the 2022 Accreditation Standards, particularly regarding Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). All interested stakeholders were encouraged to join and share any concerns and/or expectations. Access the recorded presentation here.

Accreditation Standards Amendment Timeline

The process and anticipated timeline for amending the standards, as specified in the operating procedures of PAB, is as follows:
Note: Exact dates will be provided once available. 

  • March/April 2024: Draft 1 of Amendment to Accreditation Standards approved by PAB
  • April 2024: First 30-day public comment period; all comments posted to PAB website
  • June/July 2024: Draft 2 of Amendment released to APA/AICP, ACSP and the public
  • July 2024: Second 30-day comment period, including advisory recommendations from AICP Commission/APA Board and ACSP Governing Board
  • August/September 2024: PAB releases final Accreditation Standards
  • January 1, 2025: Effective date of implementation of revised Accreditation Standards