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Life at the School of Architecture

The School’s activities are centered in its landmark building, Paul Rudolph Hall (formerly the Art & Architecture Building), designed between 1958 and 1963 by Paul Rudolph, who was then the chairman of the Department of Architecture. In 2007 Paul Rudolph Hall underwent an extensive renovation overseen by Gwathmey Siegel and Associates Architects, who also designed the adjacent Jeffrey H. Loria Center for the History of Art, which houses the History of Art department. The Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library is also included in this building complex.

The School of Architecture’s design studios take advantage of light-filled, loft-like open floors. Students’ individual workstations surround common areas where group discussions and reviews take place. Also located within the building are classrooms; exhibition galleries; faculty and administrative offices; and material, wood, metal, computer, and digital-fabrication laboratories. Students have open access to the building twenty-four hours a day throughout the school year.

With a student population of about 200 coming from diverse backgrounds with varying interests and opinions, the School is large enough to support a wide variety of activities and debate. Yet it is small enough to permit students and faculty to know virtually the entire School population as individuals.

Students at the School are encouraged to avail themselves of the entire University. Many students take courses, such as those in history, psychology, studio art, and art history in Yale College and in the Graduate School. Students also take courses in other professional schools such as the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, the Law School, the Divinity School, and the School of Management.

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Throughout the year, nationally and internationally known architects, architectural scholars, and artists are invited to participate in the School’s weekly lecture series. The series is open to the public and is free of charge. In fall 2014, lecturers included:

  • Elizabeth Gray, Architect
  • Sean Griffiths, Architect
  • Charles Holland, Architect
  • Sam Jacob, Architect
  • Kay Bea Jones, Architectural Educator
  • Justin McGuirk, Writer, Critic, and Curator
  • Alan Organschi, Architect
  • Gregg Pasquarelli, Architect
  • John Patkau, Architect
  • Billie Tsien, Architect
  • Annabel Wharton, Educator
  • Tod Williams, Architect

In spring 2015, lecturers included:

  • Tatiana Bilbao, Architect
  • Rafael Birmann, Developer
  • Steve Burrows, Structural Engineer
  • Hernan Diaz Alonso, Architect
  • Jeanne Gang, Architect
  • Sarah Herda, Foundation Administrator
  • Eelco Hooftman, Landscape Architect
  • Leon Krier, Architect
  • Niall McLaughlin, Architect
  • Douglas Rushkoff, Media Theorist and Writer
  • Anthony Vidler, Architectural Educator

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The School maintains an active program of exhibitions. The Architecture Gallery, located on the second floor of Paul Rudolph Hall, is open to the public Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Exhibitions in 2013–2014 included:

  • Infra Eco Logi Urbanism
  • August 25–November 20, 2014
  • Archaeology of the Digital: Media and Machines
  • December 8, 2014–May 1, 2015
  • Edge of Tomorrow
  • Year-End Exhibition of Student Work
  • May 17–July 31, 2015

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The School supports two student-edited publications. Perspecta: The Yale Architectural Journal, the oldest student-edited architectural journal in the United States, is internationally respected for its contributions to contemporary discourse with original presentations of new projects as well as historical and theoretical essays. Perspecta’s editors solicit contributions from distinguished scholars and practitioners from around the world, and then, working with graphic design students from the School of Art, produce the journal. Retrospecta, an annual journal that includes samples of student work and activities at the School during each academic year, is edited by students and published by the School.

The School also publishes Constructs, a twice-yearly news magazine that highlights activities and events at the School, including interviews with visiting faculty members, articles on issues relevant to what is being analyzed and discussed in the design studios, and previews and reviews of the School’s exhibitions and lectures. Constructs also covers important non-Yale events, exhibitions, and publications. Back issues may be searched online at http://architecture.yale.edu/constructs.

The School maintains an active publications program (http://architecture.yale.edu/school/publications). In 2014–2015, the following books, distributed by Actar D, were published:

Rethinking Chongqing: Mixed-Use and Super-Dense (2014), edited by Andrei Harwell (M.Arch. 2006), Emmett Zeifman (M.Arch. 2011), and Nina Rappaport, featuring Edward P. Bass Distinguished Visiting Architecture Fellow Vincent Lo (Shui On Land) and Eero Saarinen Visiting Professors Paul Katz, Jamie von Klemperer, and Forth Bagley (M.Arch. 2001), of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates.

Social Infrastructure: New York (2015), edited by Nina Rappaport, Andrew Benner (’06), and James Andrechuk (’13), featuring the advanced studio of Edward P. Bass Distinguished Visiting Architecture Fellow Douglas Durst and William Henry Bishop Visiting Professor Bjarke Ingels with Andrew Benner (’06).

Cultural Cues (2015), edited by Jeffrey Pollack (’14) and Nina Rappaport, featuring the advanced studios of Louis I. Kahn Visiting Assistant Professors Joe Day, Adib Curie & Carie Penabad, and Tom Wiscombe.

Exhibiting Architecture: A Paradox? (2015), edited by Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen with Carson Chan and David Andrew Tasman (’13), brings together a collection of essays that are an outgrowth of the eponymous symposium at the school.

The following publication, available on demand through the School’s Web site, was published in 2014–2015 and is part of the School’s Studio Book series:

Analytic Model: Interpretive Systems in Architecture (2015), edited by Emmanuel Petit, features the work in the eponymous undergraduate studio course taught at Yale School of Architecture from 2006 to 2014 and includes essays by Emmanuel Petit, Kyle Dugdale (Ph.D. ’15), John McMorrough, and Ana Bokov (’17).

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Yale Urban Design Workshop

Alan Plattus, Director

Andrei Harwell, Project Manager

Faculty Associates: Alexander Felson, Edward Mitchell, Douglas Rae

Student Fellows 2014–2015: Matthew Rauch, Jack Wolfe

The Yale Urban Design Workshop (YUDW) provides a forum for faculty and students from the School of Architecture and other professional schools at Yale to engage in the study of issues, ideas, and practical problems in the field of urban design. Since its founding in 1992, the YUDW has worked with communities across the state of Connecticut, providing planning and design assistance on projects ranging from comprehensive plans, economic development strategies, and community visions to the design of public spaces, streetscapes, and individual community facilities.

The YUDW’s clients include small towns, city neighborhoods, planning departments, Chambers of Commerce, community development corporations, citizen groups, and private developers. Recent and current projects include downtown and neighborhood plans for the Connecticut towns of West Haven, Woodbridge, Bridgeport, and Milford; the design of a low-income housing project in Bridgeport, Connecticut; and a study for the renovation of the Boys and Girls Club of New Haven. In late 2011 the YUDW issued the Fort Trumbull Vision, a blueprint for restarting development of the highly contested area of New London, Connecticut, that was the subject of the landmark Supreme Court ruling in Kelo v. New London. The YUDW completed work on a comprehensive plan for Fishers Island, NY, in 2014, and on a new plan to develop a Thames Heritage Park between Groton and New London, CT, in 2015.

In May 2014, the YUDW returned to the Middle East to continue its work on the planning and design of the region’s first transboundary Peace Park. In collaboration with NGO Friends of the Earth Middle East and faculty from Bezalel Academy, the YUDW led a charrette focused on the detailed planning of the proposed southern gateway to the park at the Old Gesher compound in Israel, where three bridges from the Roman, Ottoman, and British periods span the Jordan River. The YUDW began its work on the Jordan River Peace Park in 2008 when it led a major international design charrette in Jordan, bringing together faculty and graduate students from Yale with Jordanian, Palestinian, and Israeli architects, engineers, and students.

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Student Organizations

Students at Yale have access to a wide range of activities within the School of Architecture and elsewhere in the University or the community. These focus on academic, cultural, political, and community-based interests. At the School one may join the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) and the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA). A student also has the opportunity to be elected to one of several committees, including the Admissions Committee and the Curriculum Advisory Committee. Grassroots initiatives, such as the Leadership, Education, and Athletics in Partnership program (LEAP), the Neighborhood Discovery Program (NDP), the Summer Teen Empowerment Program (STEP), and the Urban Design Workshop, invite active participation in community development.

Outside the School of Architecture, there are many student organizations, including the Bisexual, Gay, and Lesbian Association, the Black Graduate Network (BGN), the Graduate-Professional Student Center at Yale (GPSCY), the New Haven Collaborative (a University-wide community interaction network), the Yale Law School Housing and Community Development Clinic (integrating pro bono legal and architectural services to the New Haven community), and the Women’s Center. Countless groups offer membership in other endeavors. Among these are the Yale Cabaret, the Yale Daily News, the Yale Gospel Choir, and the Yale Russian Chorus. Students may also apply for grants, through Yale University, to support local summer public service internships that already exist or are of a student’s own design.

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Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library

Soon after 1868, the Arts Library was established as part of the Yale University Library, one of the great libraries in the world, and in 2008 it was renamed the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library. Located within the Paul Rudolph Hall–Jeffrey H. Loria Center for the History of Art complex, it contains more than 120,000 volumes on architecture, painting, sculpture, graphic design, urban planning, drama, and the history of art and architecture. It serves as the working library for the School of Architecture, the School of Art, the History of Art department, the School of Drama, and the Yale University Art Gallery, and as an adjunct library for the Yale Center for British Art. The collection includes basic reference works, monographs, exhibition catalogues, an expanding range of digital resources, and histories of the aforementioned fields, bound periodicals, and subscriptions to more than 500 current periodicals and museum bulletins. Approximately 200,000 additional volumes in these fields may be found in related collections at two other Yale libraries: Sterling Memorial Library and the Library Shelving Facility.

The Haas Family Arts Library staff gladly assists students and faculty in exploring the enormously rich library resources at Yale and offer a wide-ranging instructional program aimed at quickly initiating new members of the community into the complex world of information resources.

Visual Resources Collection

The Visual Resources Collection, a department of Sterling Memorial Library, is charged with collection development for digital visual media in the fine arts and architecture. Located in the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library, the Visual Resources Collection offers a Digital Library of more than 250,000 images reflecting faculty teaching and research interests. The historic collections of 35mm slides, lantern slides, and study photographs are archived in the Library Shelving Facility. The staff is available to assist the Yale community with their image needs.

Fabrication Shops

Graduate and undergraduate students use the School’s fabrication shops in support of studio and course work assignments, as well as for independent projects. They include fully equipped facilities for building models, fabricating furniture, sculpting, and exploring building systems. Students work with a wide variety of materials, including wood and wood products, plastics, and ferrous and nonferrous metals. Beyond the normal fabricating equipment and tools usually found in wood and metal shops, the School’s equipment includes laser cutters, a waterjet cutter, three-axis CNC mills, a five-axis robotic-arm CNC mill with a six-foot reach, a digitally controlled foam cutter, and plastic 3-D printers. Students with shop experience may apply to the fabrication shop’s coordinator for positions as shop monitors.

In addition to these facilities in the School of Architecture, Yale has a machine shop in the Chemistry Lab that offers a course on machining. Gibbs Lab offers machining services to students at reasonable rates and sells a range of industrial materials. The New Haven area boasts a large number of suppliers of all types of materials.

All incoming students take the Summer Shops Techniques Course during the week before classes begin. This intensive course teaches students how to work safely in the shop while exposing them to a wide range of tools and procedures. During the year, staff is available to assist students with their projects. Individual instruction is always available from the staff and monitors. First-year M.Arch. I students use the fabrication shops to fabricate elements for the Building Project.

Digital Media Facilities

Digital media and integrated information systems are an integral part of the School’s curriculum. The School provides students with a high-quality and robust information infrastructure, including server space for each student and for individual classes and studios. The School has its own proprietary digital media facilities that consist of a centralized server-pool for high-quality distributed information systems, two advanced computer labs, an imaging and scanning lab, and dedicated printing rooms and plotting clusters outfitted with large-format plotters located throughout the School. All students are provided with a high-end computer workstation, preloaded with a wide array of architectural software and integrated design tools, and two LCD monitors. The School also provides facilities and resources for students’ design, research, computational, communication, and fabrication needs. In addition, wireless access points are located throughout the studios and classrooms to allow students, if they desire, to supplement their school-supplied computer with their own laptop. The School provides large mobile LCD screens with workstations located in the review spaces. Available for checkout at no cost are digital cameras, drawing tablets, and camcorders. In addition, the School operates a large number of large-format plotters and 3-D printers as well as a dedicated render farm. Students at the School also have access to the Digital Media Center for the Arts (DMCA) at 149 York Street, a multimedia facility that was created to explore new areas of education and cross-disciplinary interaction that result when traditional art collides with the computer age.

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Academic Regulations

Grading System

All courses are graded Pass (P), Low Pass (LP), or Fail (F). Credit will be given for any passing grades (P or LP). No credit will be given for a grade of F. For each School of Architecture course, faculty members issue written evaluations of each student. These evaluations remain part of the student’s permanent record but are not included on transcripts.

Course Changes

It is the student’s responsibility to maintain an accurate course schedule in the Registrar’s Office. Any change (drop or add) to the schedule agreed upon at registration should be reported immediately. No adding of courses will be permitted after the second week of any term. A student may drop a course, without grade reporting, up to six weeks from registration. After six weeks from registration until the last day of classes in each term, a student may withdraw from a course. At the time the student withdraws, the notation “Withdraw” will be entered onto the transcript. Course withdrawal forms may be obtained in the Registrar’s Office. Between the end of classes in each term and the beginning of the examination period, no student will be permitted to withdraw from any course. If the instructor of a course reports to the registrar that a student has not successfully completed a course from which the student has not formally withdrawn, a grade of F will be recorded in that course.

Class Cancellations

The School of Architecture does not cancel classes because of adverse weather conditions. Individual classes may be canceled by instructors on occasion, and makeup classes are scheduled.

Portfolio Requirement

All students working toward an M.Arch. degree must maintain a digital portfolio of work done in studio courses. Demonstration of professional development acquired outside of School through experiences, such as self-directed research, fellowships, or paid employment, must also be included in the portfolio and identified separately. As such, this necessity of demonstrated professional engagement qualifies international students to participate in Curricula Practical Training (CPT). This portfolio is reviewed by the Design Committee as a way of evaluating the student’s progress.

While the student’s School portfolio may emphasize the best work of the student’s choice, it must also provide comprehensive coverage of work from each studio project for every term the student is enrolled. Students are encouraged, but not required, to supplement their design studio work with projects from other courses. Such work may be accommodated in a separate section of the portfolio or in a second portfolio.

 The portfolio must include the student’s name, program, date, and a passport-sized photo on the title page. Each project should be clearly labeled, stating the name of the project, term, date, and instructors.

The digital portfolio must be submitted (uploaded as a pdf) for evaluation at the end of the fourth term for M.Arch. I students and at the end of the second term for M.Arch. II students and before graduation for all M.Arch. students.

To receive a diploma, graduating students are also required to submit to the School a hard-media exact copy (CD or DVD) of their digital portfolio. This copy will be placed in the University Archives, where, upon receipt, it will be open to all researchers.

Interim Progress Evaluations

After the end of a student’s fourth term in the M.Arch. I and second term in the M.Arch. II programs, the Design Committee will evaluate these students for consideration for promotion to the remainder of their program. At their discretion, the Design Committee, based upon their evaluation, may require a student to submit a reworked portfolio at a later date and/or take courses that are not in the normal sequence, take additional course(s) beyond those normally prescribed in order to graduate, take a Required Leave of Absence, or withdraw from the School. Submission of portfolios is required for this review.

Refer to the School’s Academic Rules and Regulations for further details regarding academic evaluation.

Final Progress Evaluation Review

In addition to the completion of degree requirements, in order to graduate, all M.Arch. students must pass a final review conducted by the Design Committee. This final review uses a student’s portfolio as a basis for discussion on the student’s general design progress. Students who fail the final review may be asked to submit a reworked portfolio at a later date and/or take courses that are not of the normal sequence, take additional courses that may delay graduation, take a Required Academic Leave of Absence, or withdraw from the School. Submission of portfolios is required for this review.


Attendance is required at Commencement exercises for all degree candidates. Special permission to be excused must be obtained from the dean.

Elective Leaves of Absence

Students are expected to follow a continuous course of study at the School. Students may be granted leaves of absence for periods up to, but not to exceed, one year. Such leaves may be for further career development (professional or scholarship activities) or for personal (such as financial), medical, or parental reasons.

Requests for non-medical leaves must be submitted before the end of the term immediately preceding the term of the intended leave. Those granted leaves must file formal notice of return two months before the end of the term immediately preceding the return to the School. In all cases, leave requests are subject to review and approval of the Rules Committee, which will, in turn, consult with the appropriate faculty and administration offices of the University. Students are eligible for a personal leave after satisfactory completion of at least a full academic year of study. Students are eligible for a medical or parental leave any time after matriculation.

Students who for medical reasons must take a leave of absence are required to get a written letter from a physician on the staff of Yale Health indicating that they are required to withdraw from their academic work. This letter will go to both the registrar and the chairperson of the Rules Committee. Upon requested re-entry into the School, such students must provide a letter from their doctor stating that the cause of their leave has been remedied. In addition, before re-registering, a student on medical leave must secure written permission to return from a physician at Yale Health. The date of return from a medical leave of absence must be discussed with and approved by the dean to allow for successful completion of course work and requirements.

The School of Architecture reserves the right to place a student on medical leave of absence when, on the recommendation of the director of Yale Health or the chief of the Department of Mental Health and Counseling, the dean of the School determines that the student is a danger to self or others because of a serious medical problem.

Students on a leave of absence are not eligible for financial aid, including loans; and in most cases, student loans are not deferred during leaves of absence. Therefore, students who receive financial aid must contact the Financial Aid Office prior to taking a leave of absence. International students who apply for a leave of absence must consult with the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) regarding their visa status.

Although students on a leave of absence are not eligible for the use of any University facilities normally available to enrolled students, they may continue to be enrolled in Yale Health by purchasing coverage through the Student Affiliate Coverage plan. In order to secure continuous health coverage, enrollment in this plan must be requested prior to the beginning of the term in which the student will be on leave or, if the leave commences during the term, within thirty days of the date when the leave is approved. Coverage is not automatic; enrollment forms are available from the Member Services Department of Yale Health, 203.432.0246.

Students on leave who do not return at the end of the approved leave, and do not request and receive an extension from the chairperson of the Rules Committee, are automatically dismissed from the School.

U.S. Military Leave Readmissions Policy

Students who wish or need to interrupt their studies to perform U.S. military service are subject to a separate U.S. military leave readmissions policy. In the event a student withdraws or takes a leave of absence from Yale School of Architecture to serve in the U.S. military, the student will be entitled to guaranteed readmission under the following conditions:

  • 1. The student must have served in the U.S. Armed Forces for a period of more than thirty consecutive days;
  • 2. The student must give advance written or verbal notice of such service to the registrar and the chairperson of the Rules Committee. In providing the advance notice the student does not need to indicate whether he or she intends to return. This advance notice need not come directly from the student, but rather, can be made by an appropriate officer of the U.S. Armed Forces or official of the U.S. Department of Defense. Notice is not required if precluded by military necessity. In all cases, this notice requirement can be fulfilled at the time the student seeks readmission, by submitting an attestation that the student performed the service.
  • 3. The student must not be away from the School to perform U.S. military service for a period exceeding five years (this includes all previous absences to perform U.S. military service but does not include any initial period of obligated service). If a student’s time away from the School to perform U.S. military service exceeds five years because the student is unable to obtain release orders through no fault of the student or the student was ordered to or retained on active duty, the student should contact the registrar and the chairperson of the Rules Committee to determine if the student remains eligible for guaranteed readmission.
  • 4. The student must notify the School within three years of the end of his or her U.S. military service of his or her intention to return. However, a student who is hospitalized or recovering from an illness or injury incurred in or aggravated during the military service has up until two years after recovering from the illness or injury to notify the School of his or her intent to return.
  • 5. The student cannot have received a dishonorable or bad conduct discharge or have been sentenced in a court-martial.

A student who meets all of these conditions will be readmitted for the next term, unless the student requests a later date of readmission. Any student who fails to meet one of these requirements may still be readmitted under the general readmission policy but is not guaranteed readmission.

Upon returning to the School, the student will resume his or her education without repeating completed course work for courses interrupted by U.S. military service. The student will have the same enrolled status last held and with the same academic standing. For the first academic year in which the student returns, the student will be charged the tuition and fees that would have been assessed for the academic year in which the student left the institution. Yale may charge up to the amount of tuition and fees other students are assessed, however, if veteran’s education benefits will cover the difference between the amounts currently charged other students and the amount charged for the academic year in which the student left.

In the case of a student who is not prepared to resume his or her studies with the same academic status at the same point where the student left off or who will not be able to complete the program of study, the School of Architecture will undertake reasonable efforts to help the student become prepared. If after reasonable efforts, the School determines that the student remains unprepared or will be unable to complete the program, or after the School determines that there are no reasonable efforts it can take, the School may deny the student readmission.

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General Regulations

  • 1. Students are required to conform to the regulations established by the School of Architecture. The School of Architecture Handbook contains the School’s Academic Rules and Regulations. This handbook can be found online at http://architecture.yale.edu/handbook.
  • 2. In order to graduate, students must complete all required and elective course degree requirements listed for their academic program. Students are responsible for ensuring that their own course selections meet their degree requirements.
  • 3. It is expected that students will attend all classes regularly. In any course, more than two unexcused absences may result in a failing grade.
  • 4. The School reserves the right to require the withdrawal of any student whose work fails to meet the School’s requirements or whose conduct is deemed harmful to the School. Refer to the General Conduct and Discipline section of the School of Architecture Handbook for details.
  • 5. The School reserves the right to retain examples of a student’s work each term for exhibition purposes, and no work may be removed without permission.

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Committee Structure

The following committees, composed of faculty members appointed by the dean and elected student representatives, assist the dean in the formulation and implementation of policies governing activities of the School:

  • 1. Executive Committee (permanent and other faculty members). Participates in policy making, operational decisions, and faculty appointments.
  • 2. Rules Committee (four faculty members, three students). Reviews, interprets, and implements the Academic Rules and Regulations of the School; recommends policy and procedural changes to the Academic Rules and Regulations of the School; and oversees the Disciplinary Procedures of Unacceptable Conduct. Student representatives are not privy to, nor may they vote on, issues regarding individual student cases.
  • 3. Admissions Committee (seven faculty members, four students). Reviews and makes recommendations on admission policies; reviews all applications for admission and makes admission recommendations to the dean.
  • 4. Curriculum Committee (dean, assistant dean responsible for curricular affairs, and study area coordinators). Reviews and recommends curriculum changes; is responsible for the development of detailed curriculum for each term.
  • 5. Design Committee (design faculty). Discusses and reviews issues that involve the teaching of design; evaluates student design performance.
  • 6. M.E.D. Program Committee (faculty members, two students). Acts as directive body for the M.E.D. program and recommends curriculum changes.
  • 7. Undergraduate Planning Committee (faculty members). Plans and reviews courses in architecture offered to Yale College undergraduate students; oversees Yale College Architecture major.
  • 8. Arts Library Liaison Committee (four faculty members, one student). Advises the Arts Library on acquisition and maintenance issues.
  • 9. Joint-Degree Committee (three faculty members). Recommends to the Rules Committee student course of study proposals for the joint degrees with other professional schools of the University.
  • 10. Curriculum Advisory Committee (three faculty members, four students). Makes curriculum recommendations to the dean.
  • 11. Dean’s Advisory Committee on Student Grievances (two faculty members; two members who may be faculty, administrators, or other individuals employed by the University; one student). Implements General Student Grievance Procedures of the Grievance Procedures of the University
  • 12. Awards and Prizes Committee (seven faculty members). Makes award and prize recommendations to the faculty.

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