Community Values Statement

Harvard University and the Graduate School of Design aspire to provide education and scholarship of the highest quality—to advance the frontiers of knowledge and to prepare individuals for life, work, and leadership. Achieving these aims depends on the efforts of thousands of faculty, students, and staff across the University. Some of us make our contribution by engaging directly in teaching, learning, and research, others of us, by supporting and enabling those core activities in essential ways. Whatever our individual roles, and wherever we work within Harvard, we owe it to one another to uphold certain basic values of the community.

  • Conscientious pursuit of excellence in one’s work
  • Respect for the rights, differences, and dignity of others
  • Honesty and integrity in dealing with all members of the community
  • Accountability for personal behavior

Achieving the mission of the School requires an environment of trust and mutual respect, free expression and inquiry, and a commitment to truth, excellence, and lifelong learning. Students, program participants, faculty, staff, and alumni accept these principles when joining the Harvard Graduate School of Design community.

Community members have a personal responsibility to integrate these values into every aspect of their experience at HGSD. Through our personal commitment to these values, we can create an environment in which we all can achieve our full potential.

Rights and Responsibilities

Each member of the GSD community has rights and responsibilities related to upholding these collective values. The GSD is committed to ensuring these rights and responsibilities through five key areas. These areas contextualize the GSD’s commitment, which is put into practice through the policies and procedures accessible below.

Academic Integrity

The general mission of the GSD is to promote the development of design excellence through teaching, learning, and research. Successful pursuit of this mission is predicated on the considerate behavior and integrity of all members in the academic community. Membership in the GSD community is a privilege conditional upon ethical conduct in academic matters. In addition, all community members share in the GSD's responsibility to maintain an environment conducive to intellectual freedom and the pursuit of knowledge.

Related Policies:
Guidelines for Instruction
Policy on Academic Conduct
Studio Culture Policy
Professional Codes of Conduct 

Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging 

The GSD believes in equipping students with the skills to design spaces for all. To accomplish this, we work to prioritize the innovation and reflection that comes from recognizing diverse perspectives and experiences, and creating space for them in our community. In alignment with our community values, we seek to increase diversity, deepen inclusion, and advance a sense of belonging among students, faculty, staff, and our extended community. Our Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging priorities include recruitment and retention, community engagement, representation, and assessment. Learn more about the GSD's commitment to Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging.

Related Policies:
University Wide Statement on Rights and Responsibilities
GSD Nondiscrimination Policy
Guidelines for Gender Inclusivity in the Workplace
2019 Affirmation of the University’s Policy on Affirmative Action
Sexual and Gender Based Harassment Policy
Accessibility Services

Equitable Accountability

In accordance with Harvard University policy, the GSD does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, national or ethnic origin, political belief, veteran status, or disability. The GSD upholds the acceptance of all within the school community, free from abusive or intimidating behavior, which is strictly prohibited. It is the intention of the University and the GSD to rigorously address conduct or behavior that violates the Community Values, through the various procedures for handling complaints and grievances that are available at both the local and the University level.

Related Policies: 
Procedures for Handling Complaints
Policy on Personal Conduct
Whistleblowing Policy
Faculty Policies Handbook

Respectful and Transparent Engagement 

Transparency in engagement, honesty, and respectful behavior are critical components of being a part of the GSD community. All members of the community are expected to uphold these values and are accountable for their personal behavior in all forms of engagement, whether in person or electronic.  This responsibility applies to interactions at the GSD and when participating in academic or research related activities outside of the school.

Related Policies:
Policy on Personal Conduct
Policy on Individual Financial Conflict of Interest
Copyrighted Materials
Employee Conduct in Staff Personnel Manual
Faculty Policies Handbook
Statement of Policy in Regard to Intellectual Property

Safety, Health, and Wellbeing 

Harvard University and the GSD support the wellbeing of its community, providing resources that holistically support staff, students, and faculty in their academic, professional, and personal endeavors. The GSD prioritizes the health, safety, and security of its community in all of its efforts to provide a positive working and learning environment.

Related Policies:
Dangerous Weapons and Threats
Drugs and Alcohol
Emergency Information
Environmental Health and Safety/Indoor Air Quality
International Travel
Missing Persons
Smoking