Learning and Teaching Culture Policy
As a new program, the Miller M.Arch. program is faced with a number of opportunities. One of those is the opportunity to create a positive learning and teaching culture from scratch. It is also our responsibility to come up with a system for ensuring that this positive culture continues to thrive as well as adapt over time.
Respect for diverse identities and opinions
The foundation of our learning and teaching culture is respect for one another. We embrace everyone’s individual contributions, and we listen with care to what everyone has to say. We actively recruit a diverse set of faculty, staff, and students, because that diversity is essential to our program. Embracing the unique identities and views of each member of our program goes hand-in-hand with our belief that architectural design is a creative act whose rules are never set in stone.
Visit the Eskenazi School’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion page for more information about the Eskenazi School’s commitment to actively uphold diversity, equity, and inclusion as guiding principles of our research, teaching, and service.
Toward an inclusive teaching and learning environment
Per Indiana University policies, discrimination of any kind is not tolerated, either in courses or in any other campus environment. Discrimination can be described as bias incidents, which is to say events or comments that target an individual or group based on age, color, religion, disability, race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status or veteran status. If you witness a bias incident, you should submit a report online (biasincident.indiana.edu) or call the IU Dean of Students Office (812-855-8187).
Sexual harassment of any kind, and in any setting, is likewise completely unacceptable. Our program actively works to ensure that it does not take place. Please consult the IU sexual misconduct policy, available online here: https://policies.iu.edu/policies/ua-03-sexual-misconduct/index.html
All members of our program—students, faculty, staff, and visitors—are expected to act professionally in all situations, no matter the location or time of day. We encourage students to consult the IU Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, & Conduct: http://studentcode.iu.edu
Faculty and students have a duty to provide constructive criticism in studio as well as classroom environments. This compels us to be watchful about the language that we use to describe each other’s work. Rather than merely telling someone that we do not like their work, which is not a useful form of criticism, we should decipher exactly which aspects of the work need improvement and why. Moreover, it is difficult to identify which parts of a project need improvement without identifying which parts are successful.
For more information about constructive criticism, see https://iuhealth.org/news-hub/constructive-feedback-advice-for-giving-and-receiving .
Working in studio
A central part of architectural education and practice is the studio environment. The studio creates both a pedagogical and spatial framework for learning about and exploring design concepts and processes. Working in an open studio reinforces important traits that all architects will need to succeed in their careers, including:
- A collaborative and team-driven mindset
- An aptitude for healthy dialogue and critique
- Respect and care for the creative ideas and personal space of others
- Understanding and knowledge through iterative making
The Miller M.Arch Program is founded on a belief in creative excellence fostered by a rigorous exploration of ideas in art and architecture within the context of the design studio. As a result, the curriculum is built around the idea of two parallel studios. The first is rooted in visual studies and explores drawing, painting, and representing objects and spaces from observation. The other explores a full range of architectural problems and design briefs at multiple scales.
M.Arch. students are expected to work hard to earn their degree. Yet working hard should not be confused with the low-productivity, sleepless (“all-nighter”) lifestyle that, in the past, has too often been associated with architectural education. For their own sake and for the sake of their future careers, students must learn to budget their time wisely. This means that they must preemptively set aside time to complete different tasks. They must also begin completing these tasks long before they are due. By using time management strategies, students can ensure that they do not find themselves in a situation in which they are putting their heath, as well as the quality of their work, at risk. Such skills are essential to getting the most out of graduate school. They are equally useful when employed in a professional environment.
For more information on resources that Indiana University offers to help you with time management, visit https://ud.indiana.edu/faq/articles/time-management.html.
Health and well-being
If students, faculty, and staff do not take good care of their health, then they not only make it more difficult for themselves to fulfill their educational and professional goals, but they also make it more difficult for the Miller M.Arch. program as a whole to succeed. Conversely, by doing their best to stay healthy, each member of the program strengthens the well-being of everyone else involved in it. The Miller M.Arch Program recognizes that each person has a unique physiological and mental make up and that health is a very intimate and personal matter. Yet we encourage all of our members to pay attention to their health and set aside time for it.
In studio, getting away from your desk at least from time to time can trigger fresh ideas about the design problem that you are working on. Also be aware of the risk of poor ergonomics, which could negatively impact your well-being both in the short and long terms.
Students, faculty, and staff should take advantage of their Indiana University health fee or health insurance benefits to perform regular medical check-ups. IU offers free annual health screenings to full-time faculty and staff employees eligible for IU medical plans. See https://healthy.iu.edu/health-screenings-assessments/screenings/index.html for more information. To learn more about the IU Health Center in Bloomington, which offers highly discounted routine check-ups to full-time students, visit https://healthcenter.indiana.edu.
Please consult the large array of health and wellness resources available to IU Bloomington affiliates: https://studentaffairs.indiana.edu/health-wellness/index.shtml.
Contrary to popular belief, being passionate about architecture (or any other creative field) while being highly proficient in it should not entail sacrificing the rest of your life to its demands. It is just as important for you to cultivate strong, meaningful bonds with friends and family as it is for you to produce top-notch design work. One can certainly do both, even if it means that there may be moments when one side of your life temporarily takes precedence over another.
Engaging in a diverse set of interests, hobbies, and/or recreational activities outside of attaining an architectural education is strongly encouraged by the Miller M.Arch program. We recognize that no member of the program can or should spend all of their waking hours devoted to it. At the same time, we also expect the best from each student, faculty, staff, and visitor who participates in the program. Being strategic and balanced about how you spend your time in each area of your life will make it easier for you to achieve your objectives in all of them.
Dissemination of the Learning and Teaching Culture Policy
This policy will be posted to the Miller M.Arch. website for easy consultation by students, faculty, staff, and visitors. A PDF copy will also be uploaded to the Canvas website of every course in the program.
Regular evaluation and improvement of the Learning and Teaching Culture Policy
Miller M.Arch faculty and staff will meet with students regularly to discuss learning and teaching culture and how to continuously support a healthy and creative learning environment. This document will be periodically updated with new insights gleaned from these meetings.
In compliance with section 6.4 (“Public Access to Accreditation Reports and Related Documents”) of the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) Conditions for Accreditation,
- To promote transparency in the process of accreditation in architecture education, the program must make the following documents available to all students, faculty, and the public, via the program’s website:
- Statements and/or policies on learning and teaching culture
- Statements and/or policies on diversity, equity, and inclusion