Getting Oriented


Since the Department is relatively small, interaction with faculty, students and staff is easy and informal.


First you will want to meet our two valued staff members: Diana Adamczyk, Academic Office Manager (, 863-1175) and Marjorie Lane, Administrative Assistant (, 863-1174). Their office, List 223, is the main hub of the Department. They can answer most of your practical questions, including those about payroll, ID cards, keys, photocopying, mail, arranging tech help, etc.

Director of Graduate Studies

The Director of Graduate Studies (hereafter DGS) is Prof. Douglas Nickel, (, 863-2481). He can answer questions regarding the planning of your graduate studies, course and language requirements, as well as TA and proctor assignments, letters of evaluation, etc. Prof. Nickel holds regular office hours in List 416, or you may make an appointment by email.

Graduate Students

Current graduate students in the Department can also provide information and perspectives on the program. Field of study and contact information is available on the “People” section of the Department’s website.

List Art Center Community

The Department shares the 4th floor of the List Art Center with the Art Slide Library and the staff offices of the David Winton Bell Gallery. The Bell Gallery’s exhibition space is located on the 1st floor. The Visual Art Department is also located in List, along with various studio, workshop, and exhibition spaces.



All faculty offices are located on the 4th floor of List.  The Department main office is on the 2nd floor, in room 223. While you serve as a Teaching Assistant, you will be given access to the TA office on the 4th floor in which to hold office hours.  This room is shared by several graduate students with whom you will need to coordinate your office use schedule.  The office is equipped with computers and is networked to a shared printer. Office hours should be posted outside the door to alert your students to your schedule.


Classrooms include two large lecture halls on the 1st floor (List 110 and 120) and two seminar rooms on the 2nd floor (List 210 and 220). All are equipped for digital and film slide projection. Room 120 is equipped for internet access; 110 and 120 also have extensive audiovisual capabilities. The keys needed to access the AV booths in 110 and 120 can be signed out from the Art Slide Library. List 420, a small seminar room, is used for faculty meetings, General and Colloquium Exams. A few undergraduate lecture classes with traditionally large enrollments are held in nearby campus buildings.

Graduate Lounge

The grad lounge is located in List 219. You will be assigned an individual mailbox there. Only grads, faculty, and staff have key access to the lounge, so any deliveries or notes/papers from undergraduate students should be left in the general graduate student mailbox in the main office. Mail is delivered from the general mailbox to personal boxes once daily. A computer for checking email, a microwave, refrigerator, reading material and a bulletin board for graduate announcements can all be found in the graduate lounge. In addition, resources such as a binder containing successful dissertation proposals and grant applications are stored in the lounge for graduate student reference.

Multimedia Computer Lab

Located on the 5th floor of List, these facilities are also open for your use.

Computer Clusters and Training

Of course, there are also computer clusters, scanners, and printers in Brown’s university libraries. Training in a wide variety of software applications is offered by PASS, the computer education group of CIS. (Class listings and registration are online.)


One of the first things you should do is to explore the libraries at Brown and familiarize yourself with their holdings and services, especially the Rockefeller Library, Art Slide Library, John Carter Brown Library, and the Hay Library. The Rockefeller Library (“The Rock”) regularly offers introductions to holdings, searching aids, etc. The main website of the Brown University Libraries is a portal to a vast array of electronic research tools and services; you should familiarize yourself with it as well. Brown’s library system also includes the Orwig Music Library and the Sciences Library, which houses Media Services, on the 14th floor.

Instructional Image Collection

The Art Slide Library collection has closed as of July 2010. However, the slides will remain in some way accessible and will continue to be digitized and catalogued in on-site imaging collection. In addition, Brown subscribes to ARTstor, a digital library of over one million images in the areas of art, architecture, the humanities, and social sciences.

Please contact Art Librarian Karen Bouchard if you have additional questions or need help locating a particular image. She is highly knowledgeable and able to assist you with your research, both with images and with textual sources. You may also advise your undergraduate students to consult Karen for assistance with their research.

Studay Carrels and Library Lockers

You may request a library carrel assignment in the Rockefeller Library by obtaining an application form from the circulation desk on the main floor. The form must be signed by the DGS. In addition to providing you with a place to work, a carrel is useful because you can charge limited circulation books to your carrel indefinitely, rather than charging them to your ID card for a short loan. Books charged to your carrel must be left on the carrel; they cannot be removed from the library unless charged to your ID. Lockers are also available for graduate student use. Keys may be obtained from the circulation desk. There is a small key deposit fee.


As described above, members of the Department have cordial relationships and are always open to informal communication and scheduled meetings. As indicated throughout this handbook, you should initiate a conversation with your advisor and/or the DGS if you have any questions or concerns.

Announcements and Flow of Information

Most departmental announcements and much of the daily information flow are communicated via email. Therefore, it is important that you establish your account as soon as you arrive on campus (see Appendix B for instructions), and that you keep Chantée Watts informed of any changes to your email address. There is also a large Department calendar posted in the entryway of the main office which you may find helpful to consult.

Email Listservs

There are two Department email listservs, maintained by the graduate student representatives, to which you should subscribe. Subscription to HAAGRAD is restricted to Brown History of Art and Architecture grad students only. It provides a forum for all kinds of communication relevant to the HAA grad community, including lecture announcements, calls for papers, job and grant leads, social events, questions, etc. It is also the primary tool by which grad representatives communicate with the Department’s grad students. To subscribe to HAAGRAD, send an email (from the account you want to subscribe) to In the body of the message, type SUBSCRIBE HAAGRAD. The second listserv, HAAGRADFAC, is open to Department grad students, faculty, and staff, and is used for announcements appropriate for this wider audience. To subscribe to HAAGRADFAC, send an email to In the body of the message, type SUBSCRIBE HAAGRADFAC. You will receive an automated response containing further instructions for use.

Graduate Student Representation

Students have formulated various organizational positions within the Department. Positions vary according to the interests of those in residence in any given year, however in general they have included the following.

Graduate Liaison to the Faculty – represents interests of grad students at HAA faculty meetings and in communication with DGS; communicates faculty actions and requests to grads via HAAGRAD listserv. Coordinates activities of grad community, calling meetings and forming working groups as necessary. With the DGS, helps organize a new student orientation and a TA orientation.

Graduate Student Council Rep – attends monthly meetings of the Graduate Student Council; communicates GSC activities to HAAGRAD listserv.

Sheridan Center Rep – communicates information on Sheridan Center programs to HAAGRAD; with Faculty Sheridan Center Rep, helps facilitate and attends micro teaching sessions of those who are seeking Sheridan teaching certificate.

Bell Gallery Rep – attends Bell Gallery exhibition planning meetings (monthly, or less), representing interests of grad community and reporting results to HAAGRAD listserv.

Symposium Coordinator/Committee – organizes Department’s Graduate Symposium.

Lectures Coordinator/Committee – helps organize guest lectures or lecture series, working in conjunction with faculty lecture coordinator.

Department Events

Reception and Holiday Party

In mid-September, a reception is held to welcome the incoming graduate students. All of the faculty and most of the graduate students in the department attend, as do many faculty, staff and colleagues from other departments at Brown and at the Rhode Island School of Design. This is an excellent opportunity to get to know the community, so please try to attend. Likewise, there is an annual winter holiday party held at mid-year. You will be notified by campus mail about the dates.

Research Roundtable Seminar

Research Roundtable, held monthly, is a forum for intellectual exchange among faculty and graduate students and focuses particularly on issues of methodology. Speakers (who may be faculty members, grad students, or occasionally invited guests) may present works in progress or deliver a practice run of a conference paper in order to share their work and receive helpful feedback from colleagues. Roundtables may be held in a seminar room during the lunch hour, or in a lecture hall in the evening (with an informal reception). On occasion, Roundtable may be used for open discussions on professional topics of interest to grad students. First year grad students are required to attend the Roundtable; all others are strongly encouraged to attend.

Guest Lectures

The Anita Glass Lecture is an endowed lecture which allows the Department to bring a major speaker to campus each year. The Department also supports themed lecture series which are formulated to engage those working across a variety of architectural and art historical fields. Of course, the campus of Brown comprises a thriving intellectual community and there are numerous lectures and events hosted by other departments and centers that will be of interest to students in the HAA Department.

External Graduate Conferences

Annual graduate conferences are held at the Frick Museum in New York and at the Society of Architectural Historians in New England. The Department nominates to each of these one student who has an advanced and original contribution to make. Those interested should contact their advisor and the DGS.

Department Graduate Symposium

HAA grad students have often organized a Department Graduate Symposium, hosted here at Brown, usually in the spring. These have been very successful events drawing graduate student speakers from US universities and from abroad. The symposia are organized around yearly themes designed to draw papers of interest to the entire Department community. In addition, individual graduate students have organized a variety of scholarly events in collaboration with other Brown programs, such as the Renaissance and Early Modern Studies Program, the Comparative Literature Department, and the Science and Technology Studies Program. Funding for such events may be requested from the Department, from the Graduate Student Council, from the Graduate School, and from any number of collaborating programs.

Presenter Resources

There are numerous other conferences and symposia – both at Brown and beyond – at which our grad students present papers each year. If you are planning to submit a paper to a scholarly conference, make sure that you use all available resources of the Department. Talk to your advisor about your plans and, if your paper is accepted, present it at a Research Roundtable, or separately in order to receive responses and constructive criticism at a moment when you can still profit from them. The Sheridan Center also offers help for students giving public presentations.

Your Standing in the Department

Specific expectations, program requirements, and grading and evaluation procedures are addressed in subsequent sections of this handbook, however, there is some general information regarding your standing that you may find useful to note.

Graduate Student Files

The Department maintains a file for every graduate student. Your file is a record of your graduate career at Brown that is used to help the faculty assess your progress and to establish internal rankings (see below). Most internal documentation (such as funding awards from the Graduate School or Department, the passage of language exams, etc.) will be entered into your file for you. You have the right to view your file, and you have the right to submit documentation to your file. It is in your best interest to make sure that all of your achievements are documented. For example, if you receive an external grant or honor, you should submit a copy of the award letter to your file via Chantée Watts.

Formal Evaluations and Student Information Sheet

Two items are added to your file on a regular basis. First, each HAA professor with whom you work (whether as a student or a TA) produces a frank written evaluation of your work at the end of the semester. Your evaluations are delivered to your mailbox along with a letter from the DGS which summarizes the faculty’s evaluation of your standing and points out expectations for ongoing work and/or improvement. Copies of these documents are kept in your file. Second, at the beginning of each academic year, you will receive an information sheet in your mailbox, which you must fill out and return to the main office. We urge you to keep this sheet accurate and up-to-date in terms of contact information and academic progress; it is placed in your file and serves as a summary of your progress for the purposes of ranking.

Graduate Student Ranking

Ranking occurs at the end of each semester in a meeting of the full faculty. You should realize that ranking (based on factors described in the “Academic Requirements” section of this handbook) has an impact on your funding. Firstly, Graduate School funding guarantees are contingent upon your maintenance of good academic standing in the program, as determined by the faculty. Secondly, rankings are a factor in determining how Graduate School and Departmental funding is allocated to you. If you have any questions about ranking, please discuss them with the DGS. It is your responsibility to ensure that you understand the ranking process and its significance to your graduate career.

Internal Funding

You should be aware of the various internal funding options available to you at Brown. As you know, the Graduate School offers guaranteed funding packages to incoming students. You may also apply to the Graduate School for small grants to defray the cost of conference or research travel. (See the Graduate School website for details.) Additionally, the HAA Department itself has limited funds for which grad students may apply to aid in scholarly activities. (See your advisor or the DGS for details.)