About Us

The Planning Accreditation Board (PAB) accredits university programs in North America leading to bachelor’s and master’s degrees in planning. The accreditation process is based on standards approved by the PAB with input from the public and our sponsoring organizations: the American Planning Association (APA); the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) (the professional planners’ institute within the American Planning Association); and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP).

Message From the Chair

2017 was a very busy and productive year for the Planning Accreditation Board. At our Spring meeting in New York the Board completed five school reviews and updated our Strategic Plan (more on that later). At our Fall Board meeting in Denver we completed six school reviews and two candidacy reviews. The Board also worked with our sponsor organizations (APA/AICP and ACSP) to develop a new fee structure. The new approach will facilitate budget planning for everyone, and provide funding needed to advance the use of technology to ease the accreditation process through a web-based application called JURA. The Board also streamlined the Site Visit schedule to be more efficient and productive for programs and Site Visitors. During its meetings, the Board identified several “Noteworthy Practices” that programs have undertaken towards meeting the accreditation standards. The list of noteworthy practices can be found on PAB’s website

On March 3, the Planning Accreditation Board voted to approve the 2017 accreditation standards. This was a very satisfying end to a process that began over four years earlier when we started collecting feedback from the first programs and teams using the overhauled 2012 accreditation standards. Information was posted on the PAB website, and shared with Site Visitors and programs, three of which volunteered to serve as “beta testers” of the standards during the 2017-18 academic year. This work was the result of input and thoughtful comments from many PAB constituents as well as our sponsor organizations. The 2017 standards are better because of this collaborative effort and will help ensure even higher quality education for future urban planners.

Also, as a follow up to the adoption of the revised standards, new Site Visitor training modules were recorded and will soon be available online.

As mentioned above, at our Spring meeting in New York PAB undertook a process to update and renew our 2012-2016 Strategic Plan. The workshop was facilitated by Karen Waltz FAICP who did a fantastic job guiding the Board through the process. The Presidents of APA and AICP, along with APA’s Executive Director participated (ACSP’s President was unfortunately unable to attend due to an illness) in a discussion about trends in the profession and their implications for PAB and its work. There was also a discussion about the ways PAB can contribute to the success of its sponsor organizations.

Following this discussion, the PAB continued its strategic planning retreat through the day on Sunday finalizing the Mission, Core Values and Goals for the next five years as shown below:

Mission Statement: The Planning Accreditation Board’s Mission is to promote excellence among planning programs and to ensure high quality education for future urban planners.

Core Values:

  1. Stewardship – Preserving the knowledge base of the urban planning profession with which the Board has been entrusted and supporting the innovations that enhance this knowledge base over time.
  2. Collaboration – Advancing the dialogue and partnership between the academic and practitioner communities.
  3. Communication – Articulating the value of an accredited urban planning education to students and the communities they will study and serve.
  4. Integrity – Maintaining a commitment to fairness, transparency, consistency and state-of-the-art accreditation practices.
  5. Leadership – Providing leadership in sharing and encouraging instructional innovation.


  1. Support and encourage programs to commit to student learning and programmatic outcomes assessment.
  2. Promote and encourage a systemic approach to diversity and multi-cultural understanding in each planning program.
  3. Promote and encourage a culture of innovation in program content and delivery.
  4. Enhance data collection, analysis, and dissemination regarding planning programs and planning education.
  5. Advance the collaborative relationship with the sponsoring organizations to promote the profession and the academy.
  6. Communicate the value of accreditation to all constituents.
  7. Maintain efficient, relevant and effective operational procedures.

The Board has now started discussing implementation strategies for the new strategic plan and will be working on those over the course of the next five years.

Effective December 1, two Board members left the PAB as their terms expired: AICP appointee Suzanna Schwartz, FAICP of the City of Greensboro (NC) and APA appointee Barry Schultz, J.D. of Devaney Pate Morris & Cameron, LLP (CA). Both were engaged and effective colleagues who will be missed. We are pleased to have two new members joining us: AICP appointee Bristol S. Ellington, AICP of the City of Henderson (NV), and APA appointee Mitchell M. Thrower III, CPA, CIA of Hillsborough County Aviation Authority (FL). Their bios can be found here.

The Board and staff look forward to a continued collaborative and collegial relationship with planning programs, Site Visitors, and our sponsor organizations in 2018 and beyond. On behalf of the Board, we wish you all a happy and healthy holiday season.

Bruce A. Knight, FAICP
PAB Chair
Planning and Development Director
City Of Champaign
AICP Planning Practitioner appointee 2014 – 2019

November 28, 2017

PAB Spring 2017 Report to Sponsoring Organizations

Board Members 2018 - 2019

Need More Information?

Contact PAB

Planning Accreditation Board
2334 W. Lawrence Avenue – Suite 209
Chicago, IL 60625

Ms. Jesmarie Soto Johnson
Executive Director
Telephone: 773.334.7200
Email: jjohnson@planningaccreditationboard.org

Ms. Jaclyn Hade
Associate Director
Telephone: 773.334.7210
Email: jhade@planningaccreditationboard.org