The Fellowship is an independent study program. Fellows audit courses and may use any library in the Harvard University system. They are free to read, conduct research, write, interview faculty, create and manage symposia and pursue other activities they believe will advance their professional growth. Fellows are expected to fulfill the requirements of courses they audit, attend all Fellowship seminars and dinners, find ways to engage with students and faculty and complete a program evaluation including a report on their work plan accomplishments at the end of the year.
The Work Plan
Each Fellow develops his or her individual work plan with input from the Curator, advice from the previous class of Fellows and suggestions from classmates. The plan is periodically reviewed and updated during the year. At the end of the year a summary of the results of the work plan is included in the final program evaluation.
Fellows are expected to audit at least one course each semester at the GSD. The decision about how many and which courses to take is dependent on the work plan of each Fellow. These decisions are undertaken in conversation with the Curator, the previous class of Fellows and classmates. While the focus of activity is at the GSD, Fellows may audit courses at Harvard College, any of the Harvard graduate schools and MIT. Fellows may not take courses for academic credit and may not be enrolled in a degree program.
The Fellows’ seminars bring the class together once a week to discuss and debate ideas and share their work. Some of the seminars are organized by and for the Fellows only, and some are open to the GSD community and the public. Fellows organize the public seminars on subjects of interest, often bringing outside colleagues to the school to discuss and present innovative projects and ideas.
Following longstanding tradition, the class hosts a weekly or bi-weekly dinner with an invited guest from the professional or academic community. These are opportunities for lively and engaging conversation held in the Doebele House dining room.
Study Tours and Travel
For the past 14 years the class has embarked on an international study tour to exchange ideas with professionals and leaders in other countries. The Loebs travel with a spring semester GSD studio and serve as mentors to the students throughout the semester.
2017 Loeb Fellows joined the studio trip to Brazil for Felipe Correa’s course São Paulo: the Rescaling of Rail Infrastructure and New Models of Domestic Life. Mark Lamster captured the trip in photos.
Each fall a study tour is organized by Loeb alumni. Visits to program and project sites and panel discussions with local design and policy leaders introduce the participants to an intensive Loeb’s eye view of a place. Stimulating debates and the sharing of innovative ideas are interwoven with more informal networking and visiting. These tours are to destinations in continental North America.
The 2016 study tour to the San Francisco Bay Area is captured in a photo essay on the LOEBlog.
Engagement at the GSD
One of the most rewarding aspects of the Loeb year is engagement with students–mentoring, collaborating, critiquing, facilitating internships, and teaching. Loebs have acted as advisors for the African America Student Union and Women in Design, participating energetically in the Black in Design conference and Women in Design’s International Women’s Day programs. Loebs have also hosted events for AASU, WiD, Queer in Design, Latin GSD, and other student groups, as well as students in the MDes Risk and Resilience and Design in the Public Domain concentrations.
Fellows often use the GSD’s January Term as an opportunity to test ideas, advance projects of their own interest, and share expertise with the GSD community by offering J-term Courses ranging from brief workshops to weeklong classes. Exhibits, symposia, and installations are other examples of Loeb contributions to the academic community.