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At the Tulane School of Architecture, equity, diversity, and inclusion are at the core of our mission as an educational institution. We cannot separate our role in nurturing the next generation of practitioners in the built environment from ensuring that what we teach, research, and practice advocates for a more just, diverse, equitable, and inclusive future. As such, substantial work has been accomplished in our equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts in the school in the last two years. Some of the highlights are as follows:
• June 2020: Creation of the Task Force for Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion that looked at the current state of EDI in the school.
• October 2021: REI Groundwater training and VISIONS EDI and anti-racism training for faculty were held.
• January 2021: REDI Task Force submitted final report to the TuSA Faculty, which led to the appointment of Edson Cabalfin as the inaugural Associate Dean for EDI.
• February 2021: Creation of a new EDI page on TuSA website to communicate EDI issues and content. A new EDI standing committee was created composed of faculty staff, and students. Launch of new Tulane Architecture Fellows as part of the Deans' Equity and Inclusion Initiative, a national consortium of architecture schools in the US working together towards diversifying faculty.
• March 2021: Launch and admission of the new Boudreaux Scholarships at TuSA for historically underrepresented and underserved graduate students; Creation of a new EDI Subcommittee of the TuSA Alumni Council; creation of a new EDI award for a graduating TuSA student
• May 2021: Hiring of two Tulane Architecture Fellows; Release of the TuSA Climate Survey that investigated the state of EDI in the school
• November 2021: TuSA “Strategy for Tomorrow” Focus Group Discussions, (Part 1) with students, faculty, staff and alumni as part of the creation of a 5-year EDI Strategic Plan for the university and units.
• February 2022: TuSA “Strategy for Tomorrow” Focus Group Discussions (Part 2) with students, faculty, staff and alumni to get feedback on the draft of the EDI strategic plan; Creation of a new TuSA Black, Indigenous, and Person of Color (BIPOC) student affinity group
• March 2022: launch of the new Angela O’Byrne Alumni Award to be given to a TuSA alumni who has demonstrated outstanding community involvement through architecture
• May 2022: Submission of the final TuSA Strategy for Tomorrow plan to be implemented beginning July 2022.
• June 2023: Submission of the TuSA Strategy for Tomorrow Year 1 Status Report.
While much has been achieved in recent years, we also acknowledge that there is still a great deal of work that lies ahead of us. Since systems of oppression have been in place for centuries, we cannot expect that we can simply dismantle and redesign them overnight. This task is also not the work of only one person nor of one organization but is part of a larger network of collaboration that needs to happen at the personal, interpersonal, institutional, and cultural levels. Within Tulane, the School of Architecture needs to collaborate with other units across campus and the city to truly create an equitable, diverse, and inclusive institution.