A Statement on Education in the Michael Graves College in 2021

These are extraordinary times.  We are confronted with crises that were not even imagined just months ago.  Basic responsibilities of citizenship, of our obligations to each other in defining civil society, have been called into question in recent days.  The coronavirus has altered the manner in which we have provided education to our students.  And the movement to address profound and longstanding social issues in society around us deserves reflection and action in the college as well as outwside it.

We recognize that our students in particular are affected by these issues and have had to address them in profound ways.  In these days of heightened awareness, we write this statement to reaffirm essential principles about the education we provide, the societal context around us, and the commitment we make to link the two:

1. We affirm our commitment to equal justice and respect for all people and expect that our programs will reflect those values in both what we teach and how we teach, and in setting expectations for our graduates.
2. We are committed to providing the highest quality education to our students.

3. We celebrate the diversity of our students and support providing new avenues to professional careers for them.  Furthermore we are committed to faculty diversity reflective of the community in which the school is based and reflective of the student body population.

4. The Michael Graves College emphasizes a way of knowing based on collaboration among students and between faculty and students, where many projects are group-based and depend upon creative serendipity and respectful cooperation.

5. We remain strongly in favor of shared learning environments, where students and faculty learn together and from each other, in a positive, collaborative environment, regardless of whether that education takes place in person or remotely.

6. We are committed to studios as primary instructional spaces where our students learn by doing, where discovery-led research, proposals, experimentation, testing, developing, and synthesizing occurs during studio classes.

7. The MGC studios encourage open dialogue, intellectual curiosity, creativity, and foster an atmosphere of respect, inclusion, and critical collective dialogue. In studios and the world-at-large, we believe diversity drives innovation.

8. We strongly support Wenzhou-Kean University’s mission to bring the highest quality education programs to students who have been traditionally underserved.  We encourage opportunities for students to undertake coursework that engages the local/underserved community.

9. We will utilize all appropriate methods of instruction and resources to serve the best interests of our students.

10. We consider our college to be a family.  As such, we aspire to lifelong learning and support for our alumni as well as our students.  We are committed to structured, measured, and incentivized faculty-to-faculty, alumni-to-faculty, and student-to-future student mentorship.

We commit to individual attention on the professional development of each student, engaging with them supportively, and to opening doors for them to the highest levels of both personal achievement and societal responsibility, as professionals and public citizens.