Montana State University and the School of Architecture have established the policies and procedures listed below to promote and support diversity and inclusion as well as a positive, enthused and respectful learning environment. Some of these policies address the use of design studio spaces and classrooms as well as conduct guidelines for students.

Other policies that deal with logistics such as enrolling/withdrawing from courses by students or business policies for staff and faculty can be found at the Student Resources and/or Faulty and Staff Resources.


Diversity & Inclusion Support

We believe that excellence at Montana State University is best achieved through a culture of intellectual and personal growth that is diverse and inclusive. Montana State University and the School of Architecture support these efforts through their Diversity & Inclusion Policy and Student Commons.

Diversity & Inclusion at MSU

Diversity and Inclusion Student Commons (DISC)

MSU School of Architecture Learning and Teaching Culture Policy

The School of Architecture at Montana State University seeks to create a positive, enthused and respectful learning environment. To achieve this goal the School has developed the Learning and Teaching Culture Policy to supplement the Montana State University Student Conduct Code and the Montana State University School of Architecture Studio Policies. The Learning and Teaching Policy started its development in and is uniquely responsive to the beliefs, attitudes and aspirations of the students, faculty, and administration of the School of Architecture at Montana State University. The Learning and Teaching Policy document is intended to be the cornerstone of an ongoing process that evaluates the teaching and learning environment of the School annually through a Studio Culture Forum and Learning and Teaching Culture Survey. The outcomes, insights and recommendations of the Learning and Teaching Culture Forum and Learning and Teaching Culture Survey are intended to guide the students, faculty and administration of the School in maintaining an environment that is responsive and current. In combination with the Learning and Teaching Culture Vision Statement and introductions to the Course Content, Pedagogy, and Environment sections of this Policy the annual forum and survey will create a teaching and learning environment responsive to both changing circumstances and the long held values of the Schools’ students and faculty.

Learning and Teaching Culture Vision Statement

As a School of Architecture, we strive for excellence in architectural personal development and a well-rounded education. This is predicated on the belief that truly great architects and professionals possess multiple skills, which enhance their overall capabilities and contributions to society. These skills include commitment to quality of work, diligence, and competence, as well as efficiency, time management, interpersonal skills, and the development of other abilities through extracurricular pursuits.

It is the responsibility of the faculty and administration to model these skills and to encourage their development in students through course content, pedagogy, and the environment in which we teach and learn.

Students are encouraged to take the initiative to actively design the sequence of courses they take to fit, focus, and broaden their interests. The School of Architecture shall make available a variety of course offerings and will monitor University elective course offerings, such that students may develop a diversity of skills and areas of concentration.

Students will be made aware of these, through academic advising.

Course Content

The nature of the curriculum should be progressive with regards to the direction of the profession of architecture. Traditional skills and the development of artistic abilities must be balanced with cutting edge technologies and an education that is adaptive to current global issues and trends. Collaboration, coursework balance, and diversity of resources are all beneficial to a multidisciplinary education.

The following policies associated with course content are intended to optimize the teaching and learning environment within the School of Architecture:

  • The faculty and administration shall coordinate studio and non-studio courses in a manner that maximizes the learning potential of each course and the relationship between courses.
    • Courses should address the course’s relationship to those being taken simultaneously and those taken previously.
    • Where possible, the studio final reviews should include faculty teaching non-studio courses in parallel with design studio courses.
    • Where possible schedules should be coordinated between studio and non-studio courses to establish due dates and test dates that do not overlap providing an opportunity for students to demonstrate mastery of subject matter.
  • The design studio experience is cumulative and therefore measuring the success of students within the design studio sequence should reflect both the breadth of the subjects being integrated in any single semester and the depth of knowledge and skills accumulated in previous courses.
    • The School of Architecture shall identify the goals for each year of the design studio sequence.
    • Studio faculty shall identify the criteria by which studio projects will be evaluated in the course syllabus. All studio projects are expected to demonstrate an appropriate level of critical thought.


How our courses are taught is as important as course content. The faculty and staff are an integral part of a diverse academic and professional community. As such, their unique attitudes and professional interests should be seen as an asset to a well-rounded education. Professionalism, exemplified in conduct and ethics, serves as a window to the architectural profession. Faculty have a great potential for impacting students and the future of the profession; therefore, they have a direct responsibility, through their interactions with students, communication style, and work patterns, to foster behavior and values supportive of a holistic and balanced education and lifestyle.

The following policies linked to pedagogy are intended to optimize the teaching and learning environment within the School of Architecture:

  • Through its curriculum course descriptions and curriculum planning, the scope and character of studio projects should be coordinated by the School of Architecture to promote a rich variety of design experiences and exploration. Students should have the opportunity to experience both individual assignments and group assignments requiring varying degrees of collaboration, scale and level of detail.
  • Collaborative experiences should be an integral part of the student’s architectural education. As deemed appropriate by the instructor of a course or the course coordinator collaboration could occur at various scales including;
    • Working with a partner or group within an individual studio.
    • Working between students in other studios, classes or with students in other schools or colleges.
    • Working with individuals or organizations outside of the University
  • The syllabus should establish the parameters of the course being taught.
    • Overall goals, policies, and due dates will be included in the syllabus.
    • Deviations from the syllabus are discouraged but if required should be announced in advance when possible to permit students adequate time to adjust their schedules accordingly.
    • It is intended that the course schedule provided by faculty will aid students in addressing effective time-management issues throughout the semester.
  • Chief components of the final course grade should be enumerated in the syllabus. Faculty will be available to discuss with students their progress within the course.
  • Due dates for final projects and student presentations shall be coordinated by the School of Architecture administration to provide equality of opportunity for completion of projects, adequate time for preparation of oral presentations by students and to maximize the opportunities for students and faculty to participate in the reviews of all student work. Students will be evaluated based upon the work they have completed at the time at which the project is due.
  • At the end of each semester three separate weeks shall be devoted to studio reviews to provide adequate review time for the review of all student projects. First year studios shall be given one week for reviews, second, third and fourth year studios shall be given one week for reviews, and graduate studios shall have one week for review.
  • When possible, visiting critics should be utilized for a variety reviews. Visiting critics are encouraged to engage the students in a professional manner and provide constructive criticism.
  • The School of Architecture is responsible for making students aware of the qualifications and expertise of each faculty member. Each faculty members Curriculum vita (as described in the NAAB guidelines) should be made available on the School of Architecture web site.


A healthy environment for the School of Architecture relies on the integrity of both the physical workspace and the academic community it houses. The unique nature of the studio should encourage peer evaluation and discourse, self-discipline, collaboration, and critical thought. Maintaining a positive physical work environment is recognized as a vital component that supports creativity, academic rigor, and productivity. The stature of the academic institution should be reflected in the behavior of the community, promoting open and timely communication, respect, safety, and character.

The following policies are intended to maintain and enhance the quality of the environment in which the School of Architecture’s community of scholars pursue excellence:

  • The “Forum” in which students representatives and faculty review the studio culture document and make recommendations to improve the School of Architecture and the Learning and Teaching Culture survey shall occur annually.
    • All students shall be invited to attend the Forum.
    • All students shall be afforded the opportunity to respond to the Learning and Teaching Culture survey.
    • The School of Architecture shall proactively address issues and concerns raised by the student body following each Forum and studio culture survey.
  • Student-Faculty liaisons will be elected from each year of the student body. Any student has the opportunity to sign up for any of the School of Architecture committees.
    • Students will select their representatives each year. Students who join the committees will act as representatives of the student body
    • The responsibility of the position will be to provide bilateral communication between the student body and the faculty.
    • Two Selected faculty members are to be appointed by the School of Architecture administration to act as liaisons with the student representatives.
    • Student and faculty liaisons shall meet on a regular basis to address issues of student and faculty concern.
    • Student liaisons are invited to attend faculty meetings and communicate to their fellow students the subjects of faculty meetings.
  • Maintain effective channels of communication between students and faculty. Outline current events and deadlines will be made available through the School of Architecture website and this information will be available via e-mail or on-line to all students including those studying abroad or on internships.
  • Guest lectures are of great benefit to student growth and the profession. Students should be encouraged to attend.
  • The School of Architecture in coordination with AIAS shall maintain a student mentorship program. The intention of the mentorship program is to link students who have experience within the School to those students following in their footsteps. Students who have experienced the culture, faculty, and course work can help to guide younger students to maximize their potential success within the School.


This Learning and Teaching Culture Policy is written to be adaptable and able to be used to assess and resolve any issues that arise within the School of Architecture. Development of the Learning and Teaching Culture Policy is dependent on long-term maintenance, and education of new faculty and students to ensure longevity and continuation of the ideals detailed within the document.


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MSU School of Architecture Studio Policies

Since the open two-story space in Cheever Hall is the primary teaching and working space for all our majors, the following polices have been established to ensure a safe and courteous environment for all. Students will be held responsible for compliance to these policies. All of these polices are enforced twenty‐four hours a day, seven days a week.*

*These rules also apply to any and all non-Cheever studios operated by the School of Architecture. In such cases, additional restriction may apply (as required) due to the location of any non-Cheever studios.

The disciplinary action for violation of these polices are described at the end of this policy

Health and Safety Issues

The personal safety of our students is our primary concern. The high concentration of flammable materials used in the studio areas creates a serious safety hazard that must be constantly monitored. Due to the nature of the work that is being conducted in the studio, there are an increased number of fire ignition sources. For this reason, it is essential that combustible loading be kept to a minimum. Partitions between individual workspaces must be constructed of Masonite or celotex wall board, rather than cardboard. No horizontal or sloping overhead elements--cardboard, celotex, plexiglass, fabric, etc.--will be placed above any of the studio desks. Individual partitions may not be more than 6' high as measured from.

  • University Smoking Policy: Similar to all buildings on the MSU campus, all of Cheever Hall, is designated NO SMOKING. Smoking is also prohibited in all exterior spaces on the MSU campus.

  • Electrical Safety: Only extension cords approved (three prong‐grounded cords) by the School of Architecture may be used. Drop-down electrical outlets are provided and are to be used in the one-story spaces. Do not overload the electrical receptacles. Limit electrical appliances and devices to what is necessary for the function of the workstation. Space heaters are prohibited. A coffee pot and microwave are available for the use of all students in the common areas. Because of the availability of these appliances in the common area, they are prohibited, for fire safety reasons, in individual workspaces. Electrical extension cords must be kept off the floor. This reduces trip hazards as well as the potential for the cords becoming frayed and arcing.

  • Exit‐ways: All designated exit corridors must be kept clear of furniture, projects, or trash. Maintain clear exit paths and access to all wall- and column-mounted fire extinguishers. Materials may not be attached or suspended from the studio ceilings, soffit, lights, or columns. Exit paths from individual work spaces must be kept clear and unobstructed at all times. All individual exit paths must be at least 24" wide. All common exit paths serving 6 or more people must be at least 36" wide.
  • Spray Booth: All aerosol spraying, such as paints, adhesives, and fixatives, must be done within the spray booth located on the second floor. No spraying is permitted outside of the building. Violators of this policy will be assessed damage charges for cleaning building surfaces.

  • Bicycles, Pets, Skateboards, Etc.: University regulations prohibit bicycles and pets in the building. In addition, no skateboard or roller blades are permitted within the building. Bicycle parking is provided under the connection between Cheever and Haynes, as well as near the south entrance. Bicycles found in Cheever will be impounded by Campus Police.

  • Studio Security: Twenty‐four-hour access to the studios is provided through the CatCard access door on the south and northside entries into Cheever Hall. To maintain the security of the studios do not prop open the exterior doors. If you see stranger in the building(s) after normal hours, ask if you can help them or report them to campus security. As a precaution, keep your valuables, including all drafting equipment, locked in your desk or locker.

  • Alcohol and Drugs: The use of alcohol and non‐prescription drugs is strictly prohibited as outlined in the Undergraduate Bulletin Campus Alcohol and Drug Policy.

Equipment Care

Every dollar the School spends on maintenance and repair is one less dollar available for educational resources. Students will be held financially responsible for any damage done to the building or equipment.

  • Cutting Boards: No cutting is permitted on any table, counter, or desk top surface. A cutting board, which can be purchased from the MSU bookstore, is required of every student in a studio course. They are also available from various sources in town. A shared vertical cardboard cutting tool is provided within the studio space. In addition, a large cutting table, straightedge and cutting tool is available 24 hours a day in the CAA Printing Center.

  • Lockers: First-year students' lockers are located in Cheever Hall. The lockers will be assigned to students at the beginning of fall semester for use through spring semester. All lockers must be cleared out at the end of spring term and will be reissued for summer school as needed. If a locker is not emptied at that time, the lock and contents will be removed and the student will be assessed a $5.00 fine. Do not store materials or projects on top of the lockers.

  • First-Year Desks: First-year Environmental Design Foundation students will use the A‐frame desks. Since several students will use the same desk during the day/week/semester, these desks will not be signed out. All desks must be left clean at the end of each studio period to accommodate the next studio. Trashcans will be located at the end of each row of desks to help facilitate clean‐up at the end of each period. Damage charges will be assessed for any damage to these desks.

  • Second- Through Graduate-Year Desks: Students in second- through graduate-year design studio courses will be provided a desk within their designated studio space at the beginning of each semester. Report any desk problems immediately to the Building Supervisor. No tack surfaces or other partitions may be higher than 6' above the floor or wider than the desk. To prevent further damage to the drafting desk surfaces, DO NOT ATTACH PARALLEL BARS DIRECTLY TO THE DESK. Parallel bars should be installed on a sheet of particle board or plywood, which can than be used on the desk, but not attached directly to the desk.

  • Studio CleanOut and Project Storage: At the completion of each project, all materials relating to that project must be cleared out of the building(s). Past projects may not be stored in the building unless officially retained by the instructor. Any materials or projects not locked in a desk or in storage will be subject to immediate disposal. First-year studios must be completely cleared at the end of each class period in preparation for the next class. Students working at night in the first-year studio must clear all materials in time for the 8:00 AM class. Critique spaces are not to be used for model building or storage and must be completely cleared at the end of each period in preparation for the next critique. Critique spaces are not to be used as display areas, except at the end of each semester for student presentations. At the end of each semester a studio period will be designate for students to clean their studio space. Cleaning supplies, extra trash cans, etc., will be provided, as well as a dumpster to help facilitate clean‐up.

  • Extraneous Furniture, Rugs, Etc.: Due to space limitations in the studio area, no extra furniture or personal belongings are permitted in the studio. Any personal property not removed at the end of the semester will be subject to disposal by the School.

Studio Behavior

  • Noise Control: Because the studios are open‐plan spaces with concrete surfaces, noise can become a major annoyance. Only audio equipment with personal earphones is permitted in the studios. All speaker‐equipped audio equipment found in the studios will be confiscated by the School. No shouting or loud behavior is permitted in the studio.

  • Studio Graphics: As this is a public building, housing a professional program dedicated to the study of design of the physical environment, it is imperative to project a professional image. Any graphic material that may be perceived as offensive, rude, or inappropriate is not permitted in the studio.

  • Computer Usage: During studio hours, students are required to utilize the networking connections for studio related use only. Non‐ studio or non-class related computer usage is not allowed during studio class time. Individual instructors may specify additional policies related to computer usage. In addition all students must abide by the University’s computing policies.

  • University Conduct Guidelines: Since the studio space is a 24-hour University classroom, all of the student conduct guidelines described in this policy will be enforced on a 24/7 basis and can be found at Conduct Guidelines

  • Trash: It is students’ responsibility to clean up after themselves. Trash cans are available. It is the responsibility of each student to keep their individual work area clean and free of accumulated trash.

Fabrication Spaces

  • School of Architecture (SOA) Fabrication Lab: The Cheever Hall wood and metalworking labs, located in the SOA Fabrication Lab, are used by the School of Architecture’s shop-based classes. Classroom operation takes precedent and open shop hours are scheduled around regularly scheduled classes. A schedule of open lab hours will be posted outside the SOA Fabrication Lab at the beginning of each semester. To use the lab, student must pass a laboratory safety orientation provided by the School of Architecture. 

School of Architecture Disciplinary Procedures for Studio Misconduct

The design studio space in Cheever Hall is a twenty‐four-hour laboratory intended for instructional purposes. As such, the University conduct guidelines as described in Section 400 Academic Misconduct & Classroom Disruption Procedures of the Conduct Guidelines and Grievance Procedures for Students will be enforced. These guidelines prohibit the obstruction or disruption of teaching activities and disorderly conduct in the University facilities. Additional policies and procedures are found in the MSU Facilities Use Manual.


Conduct Guidelines and Grievance Procedures for Students

The Dean of Students Office reviews the MSU Conduct Code and Grievance Procedures for Students annually. As changes occur in the organizational, operational, educational, and legal environments, the guide is revised.

Conduct Guidelines and Grievance Procedures for Students


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