American College of the Building Arts

Educating Artisans

aka ACBA   |   Charleston, SC   |  www.acba.edu

Mission

The American College of the Building Arts educates and trains artisans in the traditional building arts to foster exceptional craftsmanship and encourage the preservation, enrichment, and understanding of the world's architectural heritage through a liberal arts education.

Ruling year info

1999

President

Lt. Gen. (R). Colby M. Broadwater

Main address

649 Meeting Street

Charleston, SC 29403-4223 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

School of the Building Arts

EIN

57-1075250

NTEE code info

Higher Education Institutions (B40)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2019, 2018 and 2017.
Register now

Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

In 1967, a NTHP report examined the state of architectural education for historic preservation. They found that the role of the traditional building arts was no less critical than that of academic disciplines, yet the artisan skills were quickly dying out in America. No next generation of artisans was being trained. They called for urgent action, but the report received little attention. Its warnings became very relevant, however, when Hurricane Hugo hit Charleston in 1989. Afterward, property owners sought skilled artisans to restore and repair their historic houses and civic buildings. Yet as the report had warned 22 years earlier, few traditionally trained artisans remained. Many had to turn to Europe to find skilled artisans. Property owners and preservationists realized the need to educate a new generation of artisans in America who could ensure that our nation's historic buildings and architectural treasures could be preserved for future generations. This was the genesis of ACBA.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Bachelor of Applied Science in the Building Arts

ACBA draws students from across the United States, offering four-year Bachelor of Arts and two-year Associate of Arts degrees. It is unique among American colleges in that it professionally trains artisans in the traditional building arts while requiring all students to complete a rigorous liberal arts core curriculum. This disciplinary integration prepares students to become leaders in their fields. ACBA's academic programs are housed in Charleston's historic Trolley Barn, c. 1897, located at 649 Meeting Street. Academic specializations include Architectural Carpentry, Blacksmithing, Classical Architecture and Design, Stone Masonry, Plaster, and Timber Framing. ACBA is accredited by the ACCSC. A third-party survey of the past three graduating classes shows that 46 out of 47 alumni surveyed were actively employed in the field for which they trained.

Population(s) Served
Young adults

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

To train and educate future generations of highly skilled artisans to restore, repair and preserve our nation's historic and architecturally significant buildings and cultural treasures, as well as create new work worthy of future preservation. While many good trade schools across the nation can teach a student to lay a brick or weld
a piece of metal, an ACBA education teaches its students much more, as they learn from some of the
finest artisans in their fields. At ACBA students not only learn the skills of their trade, they also acquire the broad liberal arts knowledge that allows them to design, to be a leader in their field, to understand not only how to do something, but to think critically within the context, science, and history of their craft, to manage a business, to communicate effectively with clients, and to effectively market their skills. Traditional colleges offer majors such as history or preservation, and while those programs can educate students about these topics, they do not prepare students for active careers actually working hands-on to preserve, restore, rehabilitate or build architecturally significant buildings and cultural monuments.

Strategic Priorities and Supporting Strategies: FY 21-25

Accreditation/Curriculum Priority
• Reaccreditation: Maintain accreditation; explore regional and programmatic (FY25)
• Curriculum: Evaluate annually; evaluate discipline viability short- and long-term (ongoing); develop plan for
enhancements, e.g. add languages, ability to cognate (FY24); review major requirements for optimum space
usage (FY22)
• Library: Add key selected texts

Facilities Priority
• Campus Capacity Expansion: Explore student housing, classrooms and shop space
• Maintenance: Execute short-term plan; develop long-term maintenance plans (FY25)

Infrastructure Priority
• Managed Growth: Develop strategy to manage growth and increase capabilities; maintain quality
• Policies/Processes: Regularly review/publish/implement policies and processes; focus on HR, regulatory
compliance, IA, financial policies (FY22)
• Staff Development: Build cohesive team; expand professional development opportunities; offer market-rate
compensation (FY25); consider benefits package options (FY25)
• Board Development: diversity, skills, access to networks, fundraising role
• Technology: Implement integrated software package to include comprehensive educational/fundraising/
personnel (FY21)

Sustainability Priority
• Financial Management: Sustain balanced budget; maintain positive net balance; maintain clean annual audit;
Review internal financial policies (FY21)
• Government Compliances: Meet compliance requirements (ongoing)
• Institutional Advancement: Build fully staffed and competitively compensated department (ongoing); review
established policies/systems (annually); meet Institutional Advancement Plan targets with enhanced Board
involvement (ongoing)
• Leadership Succession Planning: Develop short- and long-term leadership succession plan (FY22)
• Strategic Plan/Stoplight Chart: Continue update and analysis of strategic plan benchmarks (ongoing)

Student Attraction/Retention Priority
• Admissions: Matriculate 160 FTE qualified diverse students to fill all trades (FY25); enhance faculty role in
recruitment (ongoing); expand outreach initiatives; attract foreign students (FY23)
• Student Services: Maintain student services functions to support engagement and retention (ongoing)

Positioning/Marketing Priority
• Student Recruitment Marketing: Develop and fund targeted marketing campaign (ongoing)
• Leadership Positioning: Develop annual action plan/funding for speakers, publications, Building Arts Honors
Award, library, etc. (assess annually)
• Strategic Partners: Develop prioritized strategies to leverage key relationships: 1) admissions, 2) academic, 3)
institutional advancement, 4) program
• Alumni: Publish student/alumni directory (FY21); develop engagement plan (update annually)
• Publications: Publish annual reports, Capstone year book, Honors year book, updated marketing collateral

Vision
The American College of the Building Arts will be the leading resource in higher education
dedicated to the innovative and continued practice, study and promotion of the building arts.

Mission
The American College of the Building Arts educates and trains artisans in the traditional building arts
to foster exceptional craftsmanship and encourage the preservation, enrichment and understanding of
the world's architectural heritage through a liberal arts education.

Theory of Change: Our Brand and Promise
By educating artisans in the traditional building arts through an integrated liberal arts and sciences
educational program, and by emphasizing artisan, academic, leadership, ethics and financial
competencies, the American College of the Building Arts develops students to become leaders in their
professions skilled at encouraging and promoting the conservation and knowledge of our
architectural heritage to inform the advancement and evolution of built environment best practices.

Guiding Principles (Developed in 2015)
To achieve ACBA’s mission we will be governed by the following five guiding principles:
♦ Lifelong Commitment: Long-term success will be based upon the development of a committed and
inspired community that is dedicated to the fulfillment of the mission of the College.
♦ Achievement and Excellence: Establish accredited academic programs that result in superior
student competencies in the “Liberal Arts and Building Arts” major that affords students a range of
post-graduation options and offers exceptional opportunities for the College’s broader constituents.
♦ Learning Objectives: Seek opportunities to create/ establish successful educational learning outcomes.
♦ Outreach and Development of Educated Artisans: Inspire future students and supporters by
encouraging and promoting the Building Arts in the United States and throughout the world.
♦ Resources: Identify, develop and manage resources whether human, economic or physical in order to
meet the mission and to ensure directed growth of the institution.

Academics/Curriculum
♦ Accreditation: Achieved with distinction (commendable notations for library, community outreach, strategic plan/execution, facility)
♦ Curriculum: Solidified, added Classical Architecture and Design
♦ Library: Implemented strategic library plan; 13,000 titles catalogued; losses below national average; added eight titles to the Jefferson Collection of rare, historic books, none of which are in any SC library
♦ Program Growth: Increased capability in iron and wood
♦ Student/Faculty Publications: First scholarly publication by ACBA Professor Christina Butler, Lowcountry at High Tide, published by USC Press 2020; Lost Charleston, by staff member Leigh Handal, published by Pavilion Publishing September 2019
♦ Chief Academic Officer: Hired full-time, on-site scholar
♦ Externships: Criteria formalized, vetted, matched to curriculum/skill development

Facility
♦ New Campus: Building opened and campus consolidated
♦ Facility Maintenance Plan: Short-/long-term plan in place/executed
♦ North Building: In design

People and Programs
♦ Policies and Procedures: Rigorous evaluation and updates in processes in conjunction with accreditation
♦ Staff Development: Added trade professors in blacksmithing, design and drafting, preservation, and wood
♦ Governance: Professionalized with Board manual, responsibilities clarified, Board review and formal orientation; five new trustees
♦ Student Life: Solidified strategies to ensure exceptional experience; hired Director of Student Services and Externship Coordinator

Financial Stability
♦ Financial: Balanced budget achieved all years
♦ Restructuring: Finances restructured
♦ Institutional Advancement: Hired professional, experienced staff; established processes and procedures
♦ Endowment: Built endowment/reserves $511K total

Recruitment and Retention
♦ Recruitment/Retention: Targets met each year (37 new students in 2018 and 39 new students in 2019); retention
analysis in process, exceeds national trends; graduation rates stable
♦ Housing: Developed housing relationships with third-party sources to support students

Positioning/Marketing
♦ Building Arts Award: Launched signature fundraising event; raised more than $200,000 over first four years
♦ Community Cultivation Events: Introduced numerous groups to ACBA through campus tours
♦ Library: Created new exhibits to engage the public: the Jefferson Collection of rare, historic books, DAR Special Collections Room, artisan window and display of locally salvaged architectural building elements
♦ Thought Leader: Enhanced annual speaker series; ACBA/FSU 3-D recreation; revisiting process
for graveyard/monument preservation; annual ACBA Building Arts Award; faculty and staff
lectures, presentations and publications
♦ Student Employment: Third-party survey taken in 2017 as part of ACCSC accreditation process established that 28 of 28 graduates in the past three graduating classes were all employed within their trade fields

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, Advisory Committee,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    In Spring 2021, ACBA instituted a cognate designation as had been suggested by students, the Program Advisory Board and faculty.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,

Financials

American College of the Building Arts
lock

Unlock financial insights by subscribing to our monthly plan.

Subscribe

Unlock nonprofit financial insights that will help you make more informed decisions. Try our monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights?
Learn more about GuideStar Pro.

Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

American College of the Building Arts

Board of directors
as of 2/4/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Pierre Manigault

Post and Courier


Board co-chair

John LaVerne

Bulldog Tours

Tyler Bickerstaff

Robert Thomas Iron Works

Thomas Carpenter

MLB BAMTech Unit

Francine Christiansen

Christiansen Consulting

William Copenhaver

Le Creuset of America

Robert DeMarco

DeMarco Law Firm, LLC

Carson Knizevski

HITT Contracting

Chip Limehouse

South Carolina House of Representatives

Richard Sammons

Fairfax & Sammons Architects, P.C.

John Shannon

Margaret O'Brien

Armstead Pruitt

Ann-Therese Hyman

Cheryl Tague

Principal, Core Home

Stephen Ziff

Ziff Properties

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 01/15/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.