Studio Culture Policy Overview

Harvard University and the Graduate School of Design aspire to provide education and scholarship of the highest quality—to advance the frontiers of knowledge and to prepare individuals for life, work, and leadership. Achieving these aims depends on the efforts of thousands of faculty, students, and staff across the University. Some of us make our contribution by engaging directly in teaching, learning, and research, others of us, by supporting and enabling those core activities in essential ways. Whatever our individual roles, and wherever we work within Harvard, we owe it to one another to uphold certain basic values of the community:

  • Conscientious pursuit of excellence in one’s work
  • Respect for the rights, differences, and dignity of others
  • Honesty and integrity in dealing with all members of the community
  • Accountability for personal behavior

Achieving the mission of the GSD requires an environment of trust and mutual respect, free expression and inquiry, and a commitment to truth, excellence, and lifelong learning.  Students, program participants, faculty, staff, and alumni accept these principles when joining the Harvard Graduate School of Design community.

Community members have a personal responsibility to integrate these values into every aspect of their experience at the GSD.  Through our personal commitment to these values, we can create an environment in which we all can achieve our full potential.

(Harvard GSD Community Values Statement)

The goal of the GSD studio teaching method is to achieve a free exchange of ideas in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

At the core of all of our activities at the GSD are our collective values of excellence, respect, honesty, integrity, and accountability. The GSD has adopted a Community Values Statement which is regularly communicated to all members of the GSD community.

Studio Culture Policy Document

The dean, chairs and administration have developed written procedures and policies for core and option studios that are sent to all instructors before the semester begins.  The intent of the procedures and policies is to provide clear guidelines and instruction to faculty and also to convey our philosophy about studio instruction; the goal of the studio teaching method is to achieve a free exchange of ideas in an atmosphere of mutual respect.  Information is collected and posted to provide critical information to aid students in their understanding of the practical and pedagogical considerations that go into the studio system at the GSD. The studio culture policy, along with all related information and guidelines, is a product of collaboration and time between faculty, staff, and the Student Forum and is meant to assist and provide support for students during the studio sequence.

Download the GSD’s Studio Culture Policy.