The College of Architecture and Design at the University of Tennessee is an academic and professional community, committed to promoting an environment of respect and academic excellence. As educators and students, we share a dual responsibility and opportunity to provide and pursue the best education possible.
The term “studio” refers to a series of specific, uniquely structured courses as well as a physical place founded on an educational ideal: the belief in an environment that fosters critical thinking—the forming and testing of ideas.
Our Design School culture is essential for promoting an atmosphere of extraordinary quality in design education. We uphold a mutual attitude of respect and tolerance among faculty and students, understanding that cooperation between diverse perspectives within the college is one of our greatest assets. We stand for a culture of respect and innovation within our college by allowing ideas, processes, and products to develop freely.
While we all share a common interest in design, this does not suggest a singular design perspective. Each member of the community possesses a variety of educational and life experiences that are valuable to the dialogue within our studio. We collaborate, discuss diverse opinions, think critically and express ideas to promote a culture of innovation, exploration, and discovery.
The choices we make to maintain a healthy environment may be difficult. Therefore, we agree to respect the process and products of others’ work, balancing self-expression with the promise to honor diverse opinions. In instances of conflict, the highest standards of ethical, professional behavior– as outlined in Hilltopics–are our guides. We handle all issues in a constructive manner. For the greater good of the community we each oblige ourselves to avoid discussing other members of the community in a derogatory manner. People can only respond to problems of which they are aware. We address all issues with respect, discretion, and humility; typically the first step is to take the responsibility to speak directly with the individual with whom one has a complaint. We respond to conflict in an open-minded, introspective manner, as our collective goal is to engender and sustain a culture defined by respect.
The open and transparent spaces in the Art and Architecture Building, as well as our satellite studio locations, promote natural interaction and communication—a wonderful benefit derived from the proximity of students and educators of many levels and diverse talents and interests. Similarly, display cases and exhibits of design work are interspersed throughout the building’s public spaces encouraging students, faculty, and professionals to engage in meaningful, investigative discussion. This allows each member of the community access to a cross-section of design education. Such an environment necessitates that all students take full advantage of this educational opportunity and work collaboratively. Interaction within the studio laboratory follows the protocol of a professional environment. We treat our studio spaces and the equipment and furnishings in them with respect. As designers of built environments, it is our responsibility to set a precedent of living and working in a respectful and sustainable manner.
Students must maintain a healthy lifestyle to contribute to a healthy and productive studio environment. Students who are exhausted, suffer from poor nutrition, substance abuse, lack of sleep, inadequate physical activity, or seldom interact with family and friends, cannot fully participate in and contribute to a healthy academic community. It is the instructor’s responsibility to distribute a relatively equitable workload throughout the semester while it is student’s responsibility to develop personal time-management skills to meet responsibilities in and beyond the classroom.
Design students at the University of Tennessee possess a fervent, positive work ethic combined with an ardent desire to learn. Studio culture is not merely influenced by internally generated ideas, but by a broader spectrum of academia, life experiences, and professional practice. An extensive study of explorations outside of the College of Architecture and Design is essential for design students’ growth and development into critically minded thinkers. Although courses within a design education require a significant allotment of time, we incorporate personal responsibilities, community outreach, and values outside of the design curriculum into our daily activities.
Critique is a valued and integral part of design education within our College and demonstrates interest in a student’s development. Reviews provide a framework for students to present oral and visual arguments in an environment that encourages civil, engaging feedback and discussions of the issues and possibilities of each project. Active dialogue is encouraged among critics, professors, and students with the common goal of discovery and invention. In order to benefit from reviews, students and faculty must be considerate of each other’s time by participating in thoughtful discussions about the subjects at hand. We intend to consistently offer our contribution to the success of each other.
We each commit to advancing our culture of optimism, respect, inspirational learning, cooperation, collaboration and timelessness balanced with innovation. Each member fosters an environment of inquiry, dialogue, professionalism, and personal growth. As our community grows—as times, ideas and people change and grow—our culture must continually evolve while maintaining its core values. Accordingly, this document will undergo periodic revisions to maintain its relevancy to the community it serves. We are committed to continually strengthen our professional and academic community of present and future designers, ensuring a studio culture that embraces the development of individual and collaborative learning.
*The Studio Culture Policy was developed through the Deans’ Student Advisory Council (DSAC) in collaboration with the college faculty. The policy was adopted by both DSAC and the faculty in spring 2010