The thesis seminars here at UofM for 2011 explore a variety of themes, which I believe all look optimistically at not only the current
strengths of the profession (such as building design, systems integration, and coordination) but also at the potential roles for architects in the 21st century. While other universities may pedagogically reject the “thesis,” a well-executed thesis can not only start a young architect on the path towards architectural self-awareness but also chart new paths for the profession as a whole.   The thesis seminars actively engage in topics pertinent to architects today, such as:  the role of design and making (through fabrication and/or parametrics), global awareness (a thesis on diplomacy and one on squatter settlements), and how we understand the symbolism of architecture
amidst today’s culture.  There is a new format for the thesis, which aims to provide a diverse set of somewhat narrow scopes for the development of each student’s individual thesis.   There is some skepticism from students about the ability to chart one’s own path, but I think their (and my own) concerns will be assuaged.   McLain Clutter’s, our thesis director, goal that the work will be “more sophisticated, personally rewarding, and relevant to the discipline” I believe will be fulfilled in this more structured, thematic exploration.   And here we go!