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Practice : Winter 2010
NEWsWoRThy ] REINvENTIoN aNd INNovaTIoN The faculty role is most essential as it holds both the students’ lea rning and the ongoing development of the bodies of knowledge represented by institution s of higher learning. The development of students, a s they take on the ta sks of b ecoming knowledgeable in any given field, re sides at the center of the educ ational endeavor. At the B oston Architectura l College, students’ development focuses on learning to bec ome profe ssiona ls in the de sign fields, a nd the people who most closely facilitate this de velopmenta l process are the faculty. At the most funda- mental level, the work of the fac ulty is to mentor, a dvise and teach students a nd to enhanc e the de sign fields, themselves, through research, scholarship a nd practice. The fac ulty role represents the relation ship bet ween the institution and its purpose, a nd the meaning of the work of the faculty is e stablished through fulfilling the education al needs of the students who c ome to this particular setting because of the lea rning it offers them. Additionally, the faculty develops the fields of learning, themselves, by critica lly vie wing the knowledge and skills taught a nd by preparing the future generation of both practitioners and knowledge generators in these fields. A s a practice-ba sed institution, the B oston A rchitectural College’s fa culty is uniquely poised to promote a fluid and flexible, integrative understanding of the many applications of design both to building and to thinking. Like many institutions of higher learning that offer profes sional educ ation, a l arge part the fac ulty body is constituted by those who a re a ctive practitioners in their fields and who teach and mentor students and who inform the field s through their own practice and, often scholarship of practice. The institution, its st udents and these faculty members often experienc e this sort of partnership as enriching to all involved. The BAC has a long tradition of enjoying the commitment that this group of faculty bring, either on a volunteer or stipended basis, as it provides substantial and meaningful facilitation of the students’ le arning process at many levels, whether through classroom instruction, thesis a nd practice advising, or participating in portfolio revie ws. Another part of the faculty body is c omprised of a group of people who ena ct the institution’s ac ademic vision, purpose a nd practice through teaching, idea genera- tion and dissemination, a nd the fostering of student development in the various fields in which the College is involved. In addition to te aching students, this group of faculty work to fulfill the mission and vision of the institution by determining the course of programs that ser ve to facilitate the development of students as profe ssiona ls in the design fields through the integration of theory and practice. As a group, they are responsible for creating and ma inta ining ac ademic systems that support students’ learning. In these capacities, this faculty group, in consultation with all faculty members and with approval of the Provost, develops , a dva nc es, re views and approves cu rricula; debates, formulate s and dissemi- nate s ac ademic policie s and procedures; responds to a ll programmatic administrative Every one of these innovations , a nd others, a re debated a nd underta ken in light of our unique character. Four years ago we e stablished a five-year Strategic Pla n that expressed our core va lues through a vision a nd a mission. Our vision is “to be the recognized le ader in the educ ation of de sign profes sional s, c onnecting theory and practice a nd engaging educ ators , practitioners, a llied profes sions and the public.” Our mission is to b e “committed to provide excellence in design education grounded in practice and a cc es sible to diverse c ommunities.” For over the past thirty years, our vision and mission have been inspired by our four tenets of concurrent work and academic learning, practitioner faculty, a ffordability, and open admissions. Literally every change we ma ke is held up to the lense s of our vision, our mission a nd these tenets. Cha nges we’ve made over the pa st years, a nd the ones we’re underta king now a re getting results. We’re gaining recognition through NCARB awards, glowing reaccredi- tation reports from our program s’ ac ademic reg ulators, a nd the recent listing by DesignIntelligence, naming the BAC among the Most Distinguished de sign school s in the United States, to name a few. This five-year we’ve embarked on our next five year Strategic Pla n to create a new frame work for the changes to come. We’re making these changes with a careful eye to what makes us special — to help keep us that way. We will continue to lead, to connect theory and practice, a nd to engage our incre a singly diverse c ommunities. Conc urrency, practice-ba sed learning and teaching, affordability and access to all our design profe ssions will remain at the center of what we do — even as we reinvent how we ac complish those goals. Stay tuned! Or even better: join the conver sation. The Role of faculty provost Julia halevy 8 pRacTIcE