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A Message from our Director, Kate Schwennsen, FAIA

Fall 2017: This I Believe

The 2017/18 academic year in Clemson and Charleston began with a total solar eclipse. Can you believe it? It was an extraordinary welcome back to all of us who were returning and those who were new to the creative and collegial culture that pervades Lee Hall, the Clemson Design Center in Charleston (CDC.C), the Daniel Center in Genoa, and the Barcelona Architecture Center!

We also began this academic year as an enlarged and re-invigorated community. The faculty, students, staff and programs of Landscape Architecture have been moved from a stand-alone department into the School of Architecture, joining the programs in Architecture, Historic Preservation and Resilient Urban Design. This administrative reorganization builds on shared values, interests, needs, priorities, and resources, providing more seamless and robust collaborative opportunities across and within disciplines. There is palpable new energy in our studios and offices, as we redefine ourselves and our beliefs as a more diverse and inclusive community of designers and preservationists, as we look forward with arms outstretched and minds wide open.

On that amazing day of the total eclipse, broadcast journalist Jay Allison provided an inspiring university convocation lecture, recounting some of the essays in “This I Believe”. The book served as the university’s summer reading assignment for freshmen, and should be familiar to others of you as a recurring program on National Public Radio. Jay’s talk was a reminder of the power of holding beliefs, but as importantly, the importance of clarifying and stating those beliefs. The School of Architecture has a set of core beliefs, agreed to by the faculty, which guide all that we do in our teaching, research and service missions, and which are foundational to our culture. I share these beliefs below, to remind each of us of the values that bind us and guide us.

As students, faculty and staff in Clemson’s School of Architecture, WE BELIEVE in:

EXCELLENCE: Supporting and celebrating a culture of high expectations in all processes and products, rewarding innovation, creativity, critical thinking, craft & making, and intellectual curiosity.

INCLUSIVITY: Actively seeking and sustaining the participation of people in the school with different places of origin, points of view, and ways of knowing.

COLLEGIALITY: Cooperatively working independently and collectively, encouraging individual achievement, collaboration, open discourse and shared decision-making.

ACCOUNTABILITY: Taking responsibility for the consequences of our actions on each other, our many constituents, the planet and the future.

LEGACY: Designing the future upon an understanding and respect for the past, our unique heritage of peoples and places.

CONNECTIVITY: Enjoying and optimizing the contributions of all constituents and locations, from students to alumni, faculty to industry partners, Clemson to Genoa, Charleston to Barcelona, and all points in between.

We look forward to working together in using these beliefs to advance our disciplines to achieve another of my core beliefs: I believe in the power of the designed and built environment to make a positive difference in the lives of everyone, and in the potential of each of us to make a difference.

Kate Schwennsen

Kate Schwennsen, FAIA
Director + Professor


Meet our Director

Director Kate Schwennsen

Kate Schwennsen, FAIA, Professor, is the Director of the School of Architecture, Clemson University.  She joined the Clemson faculty as the school’s chair in August 2010, and has since taken great pleasure in being immersed in the energy, optimism and ambition that permeates Lee Hall, and throughout the school’s Fluid Campus.  She will tell anyone who is willing to listen that every morning when she walks into her office, it just makes her happy.  Kate is a recognized leader in bridging architectural education and practice, and has served in many leadership positions in professional organizations.  Click here to view an article featuring Kate on  "Dean's List: Kate Schwennsen's balancing act at Clemson University".

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Find past messages from our Director here.