Nine leading U.S. schools and colleges of architecture, planning and design, including The University of New Mexico School of Architecture + Planning, have co-founded the Dean’s Equity and Inclusion Initiative. The partnership aims at working together to nurture a diverse population of emerging scholars focused on teaching and researching the built environment to advance socio-ecological and spatial justice, equity and inclusion.

Launched this summer, the cornerstone of the initiative is a cohort-based fellowship program that supports early-career faculty who seek to engage in an academic career, while also contributing to the pursuit of equity and inclusion in the built environment. The program’s structure fosters a sharing of ideas and perspectives as the fellows are selected to work in new academic settings with the eight partner schools and colleges.

Partners in the Dean’s Initiative are: Tulane School of Architecture; Harvard Graduate School of Design and Harvard’s Dumbarton Oaks institute; University of New Mexico School of Architecture and Planning; University of Oregon College of Design; Cornell College of Architecture, Art, and Planning (AAP); University of Southern California School of Architecture; University of Texas at Arlington College of Architecture, Planning, and Public Affairs; University of Virginia School of Architecture; and Yale School of Architecture. New schools will join as the initiative develops, with the hope of creating a collective effort across the nation.

Each fellow will participate in a one- or two-year cohort, including two summer institutes, hosted at different schools each year. Additionally, each fellow is paired with an internal mentor and an external mentor during their fellowship. The eight partner schools will select fellows with specific attention to BIPOC and other underrepresented faculty from schools dedicated to the built environment professions and practices. Fellows are currently in the process of being selected for the first cohort with some named and now beginning their fellowships. 

“Increasing diversity in ways that value and strengthen equity and inclusion in our institutions requires more than what any one school can do. We believe it takes the collective of design schools to change who we hire, and what we teach and practice,” states the Dean’s Initiative website. “An important contribution is to collectively foster the mentoring of a next generation of diverse faculty into successful academic careers. Working together, we believe that through cross-institutional mentoring and stewardship of early-career faculty, the initiative will expand and enrich the community of BIPOC and URM designers and scholars engaged in tenure-track faculty positions.”

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