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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 sociopolitical issues.

The College views design as an investigative process with diverse outcomes. Design is a process-oriented open-ended inquiry yielding unique responses and provoking questions. We acknowledge design disciplines are dynamic, and design is central to the way we engage the world.

The College is an incubator for ideas. Studios, seminars, lectures, and all educational environments are venues for discourse and experimentation. The College participates in and encourages vibrant and intense discussions of issues impacting our world.

The College believes sustainability and ecology are critical to society’s future. The decisions we make possess far-reaching consequences. We must think critically about practice today and the ramifications for the future, including ecological, sociocultural, and economic considerations.

The College engages in constructive critique as a necessary means of engaging the world. The College approaches critique in good faith as an act of care and collaboration. We encourage engagement in critique to create proactive, critical, and optimistic contributions to our design disciplines. We believe design possesses the capacity to make our world better.

The College embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion. Compassion for others’ experiences and respectful communication should be demonstrated, even in matters of conflict. Equitable and accessible environments cultivate a productive educational culture valuing social justice.

The College supports freedom of inquiry. Design promotes exploration, collective dialogue, and integrative thinking. We celebrate intellectual independence and welcome complex conversations informed by differences in opinion, allowing for effective, multifaceted discourse.

The College advocates for an environment of support and wellness. Our community treats each other with kindness, respect, and empathy. While the field of design requires rigor and dedication, the College encourages a healthy balance between work and personal life. Health, welfare, and personal well-being supersede the production of work.

The College encourages collaboration for advancement. We recognize individuals possess unique strengths, gifts, perspectives, and the ability to help one another. We strive to work together cohesively and inclusively for growth.

The College, as a collective, is responsible for its buildings, their use, and the health and safety of its users. This responsibility is exemplified through intentional and sustainable practices demonstrating respect for the buildings, creating a safe and healthy working and learning environment for their occupants, and underscoring our values as environmental stewards on local, regional, and global scales.

This is a living document. Each spring, the College Culture Committee convenes 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 acknowledgment of the College’s commitment to upholding values and practices of respect, inclusion, and community among its members and their contributions. 

Updated August 2023