Elaine Zmuda 0

IIT College of Architecture Curriculum Concerns

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As students in the College of Architecture, we have had time to reflect on our educations, especially those of us in our later years. We have learned the technical skills we expect to possess as architects and have proven capable performing in professional design settings. However, more importantly, we have learned to be critical thinkers that question design and push the boundaries of the field further. Our education has made us incredibly well rounded and able to tackle problems of any scale or scope, something we fear the school may be losing during this transition period. Although we are upperclassmen soon to leave IIT, we still care about the College of Architecture; it should not just be a good school, but a competitive school where people from around the world come to participate in cutting edge design.

This pedagogical difference was evident in the early stages of our education. There was a clear mission statement of the school and understanding of the direction our education would take us. Now, there is no critical position or cohesion in the curriculum. In the transition period between deans, we believed that there were to be no significant changes to the curriculum without student involvement. Instead, significant changes that have diminished the clear agenda of the school. When we look at the projects of the underclassmen who have started under a changed curriculum, we see work that does not reflect the same experiences we had - experiences in not just technically performing architecture but truly practicing design. If the program continues to lose focus on the critical thinking and practice required of a designer today, the education of future students and the reputation of the school will be jeopardized. Because of this, we are requesting to meet with the curriculum committee to better understand how and why changes have been made already and how students and faculty can work together to ensure the curriculum will satisfy both technical needs and the critical skills necessary for students entering the complex workforce today. We specifically want to focus on increasing the transparency between students and the administration as the curriculum continues to shift in the future, creating clear channels for communication between the students and administration, and begin to create a clear outline of the program so there is no question as to what the mission of the college is and how this informs the progression of the curriculum.

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