On Wednesday (April 1) Harvard College Dean Evelynn Hammonds announced the release of the “Report on Harvard House Renewal” in an e-mail to the Harvard residential community. The report is a synthesis of the findings of the House Program Planning Committee, a group charged by Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean Michael D. Smith with envisioning the “ideal” undergraduate House. The committee’s work comes in the context of a University commitment to renewing and refurbishing the undergraduate Houses.
The report will serve as a working document that will help to guide plans for House Renewal. Among its key findings are:
• A need for residential programs that foster greater engagement with faculty;
• A recommendation to share specialty spaces among neighboring Houses;
• The need for varied, casual interaction and study spaces in the Houses; and
• A desire to integrate sustainable design elements into the refurbished Houses.
The University’s plans to renew the undergraduate Houses will happen in three stages: planning and program review; design and development; and construction and renovation. The release of the report marks the end of an internal review of the House system, which included numerous focus groups with students, staff, faculty, and alumni; a survey of House residents; the work of the House Program Planning Committee; and travel to other schools to examine their residential communities. Throughout the spring, Deans Smith and Hammonds will share the report’s findings with others in the community, including alumni, to gain additional insight on House planning and program review.
The report on Harvard House Renewal can be found at www.orl.fas.harvard.edu.
A summary of the report’s findings appeared in the March 5, 2009, issue of the Gazette.