In 1973 the State University System completed A Study of Florida's Future Need for Architects that concluded that the state would need more than twice the number of professional architects the two schools then existing in Florida could produce. Since the Board of Regents (BOR) had no control over the private University of Miami and the program at the University of Florida was considered too large to expand further, a new school of architecture at one of the other eight universities was proposed.
At the same time, the 1974 version of Florida's Plan for Equalizing Educational Opportunity in Public Higher Education was completed. This document, along with the Federal Equalizing Educational Plan of 1974, called for increasing the number of Black students in the eight state universities, which were traditionally White schools, and for increasing the number of non-Black students at the traditionally black Florida A&M University. The establishment of a professional school that historically attracts very few other-than-White males provided a solution to both the desegregation of FAMU and the need to educate more architects to practice in the state. Consequently, the School of Architecture (SOA) at Florida A&M University (FAMU) was opened in September 1975 as a joint degree program with the University of Florida under the leadership of Dean Richard Chalmers from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
The original plan for the School was to offer a four-plus-two program structure, providing a four-year pre-professional Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies and a two-year professional Master of Architecture. The School was to maximize articulation with the pre-architecture curricula at designated community colleges. The development of the graduate program emphases was done with an effort not to duplicate options offered at the University of Florida. The options chosen were to reflect the emerging needs of the architecture profession and to provide an atmosphere of innovation in the new school.
The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) accredited the Master of Architecture program in 1980. In 1986 the professional Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) program received its first accreditation. Both professional architecture programs have been continuously re-accredited ever since.
In 1981, the Institute for Building Sciences was approved by the BOR, and a faculty member was appointed part-time to direct this umbrella organization for conducting sponsored research projects, community service, and continuing education. The Institute has now completed over $5-million in externally-funded work.
In 1983 the Board of Regents approved the School's request to offer a non-professional Master of Science degree that allows concentration and special study for students who already have a professional degree or for those who do not seek one. At the same time, approval was given to offer the five-year professional Bachelor of Architecture degree, and the Master of Architecture option for students with prior degrees in other fields. Now with three distinct professional architecture degree programs, the School serves the needs of a broad range of students, using its resources more effectively while promoting both the professional and research interests of the graduate faculty.
In 1986 the eight-semester FAMU/USF (University of South Florida) Master of Architecture Cooperative Program was opened to students who have undergraduate degrees in other fields. This program has now received its own accreditation and has become independent from the FAMU School of Architecture. In the same year, the FAMU B.Arch. program received its first accreditation.
In 1988 Roy F. Knight was appointed Dean as the School looked toward the '90s and its 15th birthday. Both professional programs were re-accredited in 1990 and again in 1995 with full five-year terms of accreditation. Professor Knight served as Dean until 1996 when he stepped back into full-time teaching and Rodner B. Wright was appointed as Dean. Dean Wright came to the School from Mississippi State University where he had served as Associate Dean.
In 1992 the School applied for and received federal funding through Title III grants to enhance its previously unfunded student retention endeavors. Andrew Chin was hired as the Student Retention Coordinator, and new activities were initiated. In 1997 the second five-year cycle of Title III funding was renewed. Since our initial funding the School has enjoyed the Title III funding support to enhance the Master of Architecture Program.
As part of the University's 2011 reorganization, the School was organized into two Divisions: the Division of Architecture and the Division of Engineering Technology. In February 2014 the Board of Trustees approved the renaming of the School to the School of Architecture and Engineering Technology (SA&ET). The Division of Engineering Technology offers Bachelor of Science degrees in Construction Engineering Technology and Electronic Engineering Technology, and also maintains an active research program.
The administration, faculty, and staff are committed to meeting the professions' ever-changing challenges by consistently improving the quality of the School's programs, teaching, research, and public service as well as the recruitment and retention of high-quality students.