In her president's report during the NAR Board of Directors Meeting in Washington, D.C., today, Vicki Cox Golder said REALTOR® University would help raise the bar of the profession through an initiative to create an accredited degree-granting university program.

Richard Rosenthal, a Venice, Calif., broker and NAR Liaison for Special Projects, built on this point in a report on the program. He said a blue-ribbon panel started work this year on the initiative, which will result in degrees in majors that include real estate sales and marketing, real estate brokerage, and appraisal.

Rosenthal said the rationale for this initiative was a lack of a solid, consistent collegiate-level academic framework for real estate, as well as inconsistent development of practitioners. We're an apprentice industry, which in itself is not bad, he said. But each broker teaches it differently. REALTOR® University will be an accredited institution that focuses on what we do.

According to Rosenthal, it will take about two to three years for REALTOR® University to become an accredited institution, a process that will start in the state of Illinois. If you want the 'university' attached to REALTOR®, you have to play by (academia's) rules, he said.

Students will access the REALTOR® University curriculum online via a delivery system not unlike the University of Phoenix and DeVry. In addition to accredited degrees, the university will eventually feature internship and job-placement programs, as well as an applied research center.

This is probably the most exciting thing I've ever worked on in my career with NAR, Rosenthal said. It's something that not only benefits us, but also benefits the people who will come after us.