The Graduate School of Design educates leaders in design, research, and scholarship to make a resilient, just, and beautiful world.

To succeed in its mission, the GSD must develop an academic community of excellence and diversity. The Faculty Appointments Handbook describes faculty searches, promotions and reappointments, policies and procedures, approved by the Office of the Provost at Harvard University, for individuals who fill faculty positions in the school. The Handbook is intended to complement and extend university policies and, should conflicts arise, university policies shall govern.

The Faculty Appointments Handbook is one of three documents that explain policies and procedures relevant to faculty members at the GSD. The others include the Faculty Policies Handbook, which describes policies and procedures relevant to faculty engagement, employment, and conduct, and the Guidelines for Instruction Handbook, which describes policies and procedures for course planning, delivery of instruction, departmental and program-related resources, and other aspects of curricular engagement.

The total number of positions on the Faculty of Design and, in particular, the balance between senior and junior voting faculty positions are largely governed by the academic requirements of the school and the financial resources available. The GSD intends to select the best available person to fill each position, whether from inside or outside the school. If the best available person to fill a position does not meet the standards of excellence sought for the faculty, the school generally considers it better to leave the position unfilled.

The school seeks to appoint and promote individuals who are highly effective teachers as well as creative and productive scholars and/or practitioners. Individuals are appointed to the voting faculty or the non-voting faculty. Junior and senior positions on the voting faculty are filled through searches for external candidates, promotions of internal candidates, and reappointments of internal candidates.