Expectations and Policies
The school’s mission is based upon the tenet that great architecture grows from creative inquiry, built on a solid technical foundation, incorporating state-of-the-art research and reflection on society’s changing goals, beliefs, and resources.
We value social, cultural, and intellectual diversity that underpins any vibrant and flourishing community. We believe that architects have various and vital roles in interpreting and determining the status, values, conditions, and direction of society, its culture and quality of life.
Diversity, Equity, and Respect
In support of this belief, the school’s culture policy and programs promote diversity and social equity, taking an active stance on issues of justice and the built environment.
We are committed to a departmental culture in which all students, staff, and faculty members—regardless of race, ethnicity, creed, national origin, gender, age, physical ability, or sexual orientation—can learn, teach, and work to their fullest potential. The Illinois School of Architecture seeks to increase diversity within the profession through its inclusive culture. Through teaching, research, public engagement activities, and ongoing support for diverse students and alumni groups, the School demonstrates its commitment to design excellence based on diversity and social equity.
Culture and Environment
The Illinois School of Architecture fosters an academic culture that emphasizes respect, sharing, engagement, innovation, communication, and academic excellence among all members of our community.
This living policy sets forth guidelines that encourage a positive and productive learning environment in which each of these ideals is equally valued. Faculty promote a learning environment in which students actively explore architecture’s design, historical, cultural, technical, and aesthetic aspects and attain experience in the field through internships and community involvement. We work together honestly, courteously, and with integrity to pursue the shared goal of excellence in architectural education.
Architecture and design excellence grow from critical engagement with diverse people and contexts.
Life at the School of Architecture is based on our belief that the foundations of architectural education are distinctive, immersive, and analytical experiences in a range of physical, cultural, social, political, and economic milieus. The School acknowledges that while its students, faculty, and staff may be at different stages in unlearning racism, it is imperative that the School’s community actively work towards addressing racism within its halls. Please see our detailed statement on anti-racism here.
Students and faculty base all time expectations on the notion of respect. The architecture community will be respectful of class time as well as outside commitments, allowing members to live a balanced lifestyle.
Students should practice effective time management skills that do not necessitate unduly intense and condensed efforts. Students will maintain realistic expectations of their time obligations, resisting the temptation to overextend themselves and work to balance various commitments.
Professors and students should creatively address the critical issues facing architectural education and the profession. Both faculty and students are expected to be present throughout the duration of any established course and to provide constructive feedback and encouragement in a timely manner. Design reviews and other assessments are intended to evaluate but not discredit student projects and efforts. Reviews and evaluations should be informative and critiques will be provided in ways that help students advance creatively, conceptually, and productively.
The design studio is an important component of architectural education. We strive to create an interactive studio environment where students learn from each other as well as their professors. To ensure a beneficial studio review experience, students must be well prepared mentally and be completely ready to present their work. Faculty should ensure that reviewers are well informed on the project specifications prior to the review and are able to advise based on project type, context, location, scope, and project phase.
Professors must provide students with course syllabi for each course at the start of each semester and strive to abide by their syllabi. Changes must be presented to students in written format well in advance of deadlines. Students are expected to be willing participants and engaged in their education.
The Illinois School of Architecture seeks to promote interaction between students and faculty from different cohorts, programs, and disciplines. Students and faculty are encouraged to engage in learning activities outside of the classroom. This includes opportunities that arise through external organizations. Engaging in these opportunities reinforces core values of the school, and builds relationships that continue after graduation.
Students and faculty are encouraged to develop professional relationships that extend beyond the immediate classroom environment. Through invitations for alumni to participate in student reviews, current students and alumni interact and create relationships that often continue into their professional careers. This also provides alumni the opportunity to view student work, engage with faculty, and understand transformations within the school.
The School of Architecture should be a safe, comfortable, and efficient place to work.
To achieve this standard, we maintain the following principles:
- Respect for Equipment: Our equipment will work and be up-to-date, to the best of the school’s ability. Students, faculty, and other users should be taught how to properly use resources/equipment and must report damage as it happens.
- Care: The building environment should provide a clean and healthy working venue. Students are responsible for maintaining their own environment. Emphasis shall be placed on environmental sustainability both inside and outside of the studio. Students are encouraged to explore and communicate architectural expressions in an academic environment, including the school’s facilities, atrium and studio spaces, in a manner that does not pose any threat, disrespect or ulterior motive, which may undermine the integrity of school community.
- Personal Safety/Property: The school will strive to provide security for all members of the school community. The community will respect the property of others, including personal property within shared spaces. In order to maintain property and personal safety, members of the school community are requested to secure buildings and studios. Students are encouraged to travel in groups when they leave campus buildings after dark.
The Illinois School of Architecture fosters a community based upon mutual respect, which promotes interaction and productivity among students, faculty, and staff.
This community should be engaged, inquisitive and supportive. We must practice tolerance of varied ideas, collegially discuss different perspectives and respect diverse perspectives and persons. Students should be informed of, and where possible involved in, the administrative decision-making processes that may affect quality of academic experiences. These include but are not limited to curriculum changes, new school policies, leadership changes and new faculty hires.
Collaboration within the whole community, including students, faculty, staff, and professionals, is highly encouraged in design studios, other courses and independent studies. Through shared projects, courses, lectures, and social activities the architectural community will collaborate with others in the design and arts disciplines and interact with members of the larger university community to provide a well-rounded education, to increase knowledge, and to promote innovation.
When conflicts or disputes arise between faculty and students, among students, or among faculty, all members in the conflict should work to reach a solution in a respectful manner. If an acceptable solution cannot be achieved, parties involved should seek adjudication through the Illinois School of Architecture Student Concerns Committee for all conflicts involving students or the Illinois School of Architecture Faculty Grievance Committee if students are not a party to the conflict.
Implementation and Maintenance
This policy will be distributed to all members of the Illinois School of Architecture community each year through its placement on the school website, posting in visible locations in all school facilities and by physical distribution and discussion at appropriate all-school venues. Faculty should reference this policy as appropriate in course syllabi and discussions.
This policy is a living document to be changed and updated as needed. Periodically, a task force should be created that ensures representation from all student levels and faculty.
This policy was originated in 2010 by a student-faculty task force and revised in 2014, 2016, 2021.