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College Culture

The Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design strives to empower ethical and critical thinkers who understand the power of design to shape our physical and social environment, are skilled in their craft, and assume leadership roles within their chosen professions. The College provides an educative environment in which students negotiate the complexities of contemporary design practice and of sociopolitical issues.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are core to our College’s mission. Each member shares responsibility in upholding these values. Students, faculty, and staff should demonstrate mutual respect, such as through compassion for others’ lived experiences and professionalism in communication, even in matters of conflict. An equitable environment cultivates a productive educative process. As such, our College and University seek diversity across all differences and support collective conversations towards social justice around race, class, gender, sexuality, ability, religion, ethnicity, and age.

The College prioritizes freedom of inquiry, teaching, and research. Informed differences in opinion allow for productive, multifaceted discourse. We celebrate the intellectual independence of faculty and students and value the complex conversations that our diverse academic community enables. We believe design inquiry is grounded in a pluralist culture that requires commitment to open exploration, collective dialogue, and integrative thinking on the part of all community members.

The College promotes design as a creative process. Design education is a process-oriented and open-ended inquiry yielding multiple responses and continually provoking questions. We acknowledge that the design disciplines are dynamic. Design is central to the way we engage our evolving world and has the power to produce a formal, material, and technological embodiment of that world’s sociocultural, ecological, and economic dimensions. 

The College is an incubator for ideas. Studios, seminars, lectures, and all other educational environments serve as laboratories for design experimentation. All members of our community are encouraged to contribute to the vibrancy and intensity of the work and discussion. Success is measured by the quality of discourse and the design process as well as by the quality of work produced. 

The College holds that constructive critique is a necessary means of engaging the world. Critique in good faith is an act of care and attention embedded with the implication that better is possible. Students are encouraged to engage with critique from their faculty and peers to further contribute to design discourse. Our College embraces students as full partners in their education. We approach critique as a collaborative and constructive practice to create proactive, critical, and optimistic contributors to our design disciplines. 

The College community encourages wellness. We counter the excesses of the demanding and competitive nature of design practice. In planning courses, curricula, and College activities, faculty and staff make efforts to hold space and time for students. We value healthy habits such as proper sleep, healthy eating, regular exercise, and social engagement in and outside of the College. The College connects students with the resources and support necessary to make intentional decisions about setting expectations, prioritizing tasks, and balancing time commitments with their physical and mental wellbeing.  

This is a living document. Each spring, the Dean will convene a task force consisting of College leadership, students, faculty, and staff to review, obtain feedback, and update the culture statement with the intention of publishing the revised statement at the start of the new academic year. This College Culture Statement is not only an aspiration; it is an acknowledgement of the College’s commitment to uphold values and practices of respect, inclusion, and community among its members and their contributions.

Updated May 4, 2021