History of TAPAC (Textile and Apparel Program Accreditation Commission)

Over the years members of the International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA) discussed the pros and cons of establishing an accrediting process for baccalaureate textile and apparel programs.  One of the early steps in this discussion was the adoption of a set of core competencies in 1995, followed by the approval of the ITAA Meta Goals in 2008.  The Meta Goals provided textile, apparel and related programs a foundation recognized by the ITAA membership upon which to develop curricula and student learning objectives.  They also provide a framework for evaluation of curricula and assessment of students’ progress toward achievement of the learning objectives.  anThese Meta Goals have been important components of academic program reviews required in a number of institutions with baccalaureate textile, apparel and related programs.

In 2012 the ITAA Council established a “Task Force to Investigate Accreditation”, chaired by Dr. Gwendoyln O’Neal, Professor and Head of the Department of Consumer, Apparel and Retail Studies, University of North Carolina-Greensboro.  Drs. Holly Bastow-Shoop, Brigitte Burgess, Rinn Cloud, Sherry Schofield, Leigh Southward and Carol Warfield were members of this initial taskforce.  The charge of the task force was to investigate opportunities and options regarding accreditation of programs in textiles, apparel and content areas directly related to interests within ITAA.  Over the years, some of the task force members have cycled off and other members have taken their place.

 From 2012-2017 Dr. O’Neal continued to chair this task force.  ITAA Annual Meetings provided the opportunity for ITAA members to be updated with progress of the task force and to give their questions, suggestions, and insights to stimulate further efforts of the task force.  Between ITAA Annual meetings the task force met virtually several times a year through Skype and conference calls.  After extensive and intensive research, discussion, introspection, and vision, the task force developed the foundation and process for a textile and apparel program accreditation.  The Task Force for Accreditation was formally recognized in 2016 by the ITAA Council as the Board of Commissioners (BOC) for the accrediting organization.   Dr. O’Neal and the BOC discussed the Commission’s progress with ITAA members at the Open Forum during the 2016 ITAA Annual Meeting.  A request was made at that time for program volunteers to participate in pilot accreditation reviews in 2017.  A position announcement was also posted for an Executive Director of the new accrediting organization.

 In early 2017 the BOC adopted TAPAC (Textile and Apparel Programs Accreditation Commission) as the name for the new accrediting organization.  The taskforce had developed formal documents including Bylaws, Accreditation Standards, Accreditation Policies and Procedures, Self-Study Guide, and a Glossary of Terms.  These were submitted to an Editor for final formatting.  Two programs, the Apparel and Textiles program at Kansas State University and the Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design program at the University of Rhode Island volunteered to be the Pilot Programs for TAPAC accreditation review, with site visits scheduled for fall 2017. 

 Dr. Carol Warfield, Professor and Department Head Emerita, Department of Consumer and Design Sciences, Auburn University, was hired July 1, 2017, as the new Executive Director of TAPAC, a half-time position, and charged with directing, managing, and assuring the effective operations of TAPAC.  Dr. O’Neal officially retired as Chair of the BOC in August 2017.

Formal introduction of TAPAC to the ITAA membership occurred at the 2017 ITAA Annual Meeting.  TAPAC Affiliate Member applications as well as Applications for Accreditation Reviewer were available at the ITAA meeting.   The Board of Commissioners (BOC) for 2017 included:

Dr. Elena Karpova—President, Iowa State University, karpova@iastate.edu

Dr. Kathleen Rees—President Elect, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, kathleen.rees@tamuk.edu

Dr. Sherry A. Schofield—Secretary, Florida State University, sschofield2@fsu.edu

Dr. Tammy R. Kinley—Treasurer, University of North Texas, Tammy.Kinley@unt.edu  

Dr. Rinn Cloud—Chair, Nominating Committee, Baylor University, rinn_cloud@baylor.edu

Dr. Jane Hegland—ITAA President-Elect, South Dakota State University, Jane.Hegland@sdstate.edu

Dr. Andrew (Andy) Reilly—University of Hawaii at Manoa, areilly@hawaii.edu

Dr. Leigh Southward, University of Arkansas, csouthwa@uark.edu

Dr. Marianne Bickle—ITAA Liaison, Ex-Officio Member, BICKLE@hrsm.sc.edu

Ms. Karen Swanson, Target Product Development, Industry Representative & Ex-Officio Member, Karen.Swanson@target.com 

Dr. Carol Warfield—Executive Director, Ex-Officio Member, cwarfield@tapac-online.org