2014 is notable in the University’s and the School’s evolution, through the continued advance of Affordable Excellence, championed by President Donald Farish in response to national debate on the value and cost of higher education. The School of Architecture, Art and Historic Preservation is involved in a significant way in these efforts through the recent establishment of the Samsung Design Studio and cloud computing for our students, the extension of the SAAHP Career Investment Program providing paid internships for undergraduate and graduate students, and our continued participation in the Community Partnerships Center. Each is transformative and supportive of the interactive scale and excellence already in place, contributing an additional sense of purpose through partnering with corporate, non-profit and community groups beyond the university.
This Fall the Samsung Design Studio has been established within a new “rCloud” computing environment, achieving expanded access to higher quality computing for our school at lower cost to students. The rCloud environment extends software to our 475+ students including remote access with our 375 Architecture students provided a 27” Samsung monitor and server access from their design studio desks, eight 65” Samsung touch screen monitors in collaborative learning spaces, and a rendering farm for largest files--all replacing the 58 lab machines previously provided. This leading edge computing technology positions our students for significant career opportunities upon graduation while reducing student expenditures by 50-66% for hardware, and 80% for software. We are the first school of our classification to adopt this kind of system. Samsung’s donation of our individual and collaborative interfaces is part of our working with them as a Samsung Education Case Study partner to further develop potentials over the coming years.
The SAAHP Career Investment Program provides funding for on-campus student assistantships and off-campus internships with firms and organizations, and was created in response to national data indicating that paid internships result in significantly higher placements upon graduation. Catalytic start-up financial investment on the part of the university utilizes federal and university funds in support of SAAHP student work experiences. To date our students have received of-campus placements in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Providence, Hartford, with commitments in Miami, Amsterdam and Copenhagen. On-campus assistantships support faculty as research assistants on notable publications and exhibitions. The university has extended support for this unique approach so that now all graduate students receive Career Investment support, as well as undergraduates receiving Work Study funding.
Almost half of the university’s Community Partnerships Center (CPC) engagement to date has involved our students, led by faculty in the school including full time faculty with specific expertise in the subject area involved, and our Visiting Teaching Firms in Residence. Student projects have ranged from master planning, architectural design, historic structures reports and preservation plans, often undertaken with collaborative or parallel participation from business, arts and sciences, and education students. CPC projects have become a notable feature of advanced and graduate study in the school, with many opportunities for project management and leadership for our graduate assistants.
Stephen White, AIA