Council for Diversity & Inclusion

Mission & Charge

AAP Statement of Inclusion

AAP is committed to an inclusive and diverse community and an open learning environment that is free from bias. We will not tolerate prejudice in any form or discrimination on any basis. We embrace creative and analytic practices that challenge preconceptions and prejudice; encourage critical engagement with the many forms of built culture; and defend the prerogative of our disciplines to ask difficult and provocative questions.

The Diversity & Inclusion Council's 5-point Charge

  • AAP Diversity and Inclusion Assessment Report
  • Student Support [Admissions/Retention/Career services]
  • Faculty and Staff Recruitment and Retention 
  • Rethinking our Substantive Curriculum [core, distribution, studios/workshops] and Co-curricular Programs [Study abroad, internships, Engaged Work, Events/Talks/Exhibitions]
  • Accountability and Redress

Context

In late fall 2019, Dean Yoon asked faculty and staff to volunteer to serve on the AAP Diversity Committee that would address a range of issues around the university's Belonging at Cornell initiative. At AAP, efforts toward building a community that values and welcomes diversity across our faculty, staff, and students are not entirely new nor novel. In line with the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and in response to the occupation of Willard Straight Hall at Cornell, former AAP Dean Burnham Kelly worked with architecture professor Henry Richardson to form the Office of Minority Affairs in 1970. From then to now, our work toward equity has been taken up by students, faculty, and alumni groups including the Committee on Diversity that have all effected critical change. Today, we have active student organizations and services, faculty volunteerism, and strong alumni commitments to guidance, mentorship, and support for diversity and inclusion programs such as the Cornell Future Architect Award that provides greater access to architectural education and ultimately, greater diversity within the profession.

This June, following the murder of George Floyd and the BLM protests that ignited a racial justice movement in the U.S. and around the world, a group of students and Black alumni came together for a conversation with Dean Yoon to propose important changes for the Department of Architecture. At the same time, students in CRP were in conversation with the department on curricular changes and other possible shifts in co-curricular programming. In a message to the AAP community titled The Urgency of Now, Dean Yoon committed to "real conversations about race and racism in our spaces and systems, about public health and access, and about fundamental shifts in thought that are carried over into a series of tangible, meaningful actions that shape tomorrow today."

The AAP Council for Diversity and Inclusion was formed thereafter in response to urgent demands for structural changes across the college. The council's first meeting, held on June 10, 2020, included the volunteers for the original AAP Diversity Committee as well as others. A second message to the AAP community sent on June 17 laid out the 5-point charge of the Council, around which five subcommittees formed to take action and report on progress. The council is chaired by Associate Professor Neema Kudva, CRP, and Assistant Professor Samia Henni, Architecture, as co-chairs of AAP's D&I council. 

Council Structure

The Council has a membership of 23 people with 21 votes equally divided between students, faculty, and staff from across AAP. Faculty chairs of departmental diversity committees are members of the Council to ensure communication between the Council and committees.

Faculty
Lily Chi, Architecture
Samia Henni, Architecture (AAP D&I Council co-chair)
Neema Kudva, CRP (AAP D&I Council co-chair)
Suzanne Lanyi Charles, CRP (D&I Department Committee chair, CRP)
Medina Lasansky, Architecture (D&I Department Committee chair, Architecture)
Jolene Rickard, Art
Alexandro Segade, Art (D&I Department Committee chair, Art)

Students
Bushra Aumir (B.Arch. '22) 
Kellen Cooks (B.S. URS '23) 
Harman Singh Dhodi (M.R.P. '21) 
Sabrina Chanelle Haertig (B.F.A. '22)
Paloma Vianey Martinez (M.F.A. '21) 
Max Piersol (M.Arch. '20) 
Ph.D. Students: Eun-Jeong Kim (Ph.D. HAUD '25), Shriya Rangarajan (Ph.D. RS '24) and Hanxue Wei (Ph.D. RS '26)

Staff
Maureen Carroll, AAP Director of Admissions
Julianne Hunter, Art and Printmaking Studio Manager
Christina Leung, Exhibitions and Events Coordinator; AAP Communications Web Manager
Jessica del Mundo, Gift Officer
Rosane Mordt, Systems, Reporting, Web, and Database Programmer
Lily Rice, Assistant Director of Student Services
Tyler Williams, Lead Shop Technician

Recommended Actions

The Council recommends that 12 actions be taken to change the inclusion and belonging climate in AAP. 

  • Create a template and guidelines for annual data collection to track scholarship, pedagogy, and climate issues as related to diversity and inclusion in departments and units across AAP
     
  • Make anti-bias reporting transparent, accessible, known, and streamlined
     
  • Re-establish a Diversity Officer position
     
  • Require training for faculty and staff [anti-bias/teaching in the diverse classroom/mental health and wellness]
     
  • Change hiring practices for visiting faculty, teaching associates, and temporary staff to promote diversity
     
  • Promote faculty and staff recruitment and retention by providing professional development, and leadership opportunities for faculty and staff and by reviewing pay structures across different groups to ensure pay parity for women and People of Color
     
  • Develop recruitment strategies and admissions policies to create a more diverse student body at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including post-doctoral students
     
  • Create more robust student support and retention services, including career services and increase access to services 
     
  • Raise funds to recruit and retain diverse student and diverse faculty and staff
     
  • Revisit and revise the substantive curriculum and co-curricular activities — exhibitions, lectures, etc. — to include issues of diversity and inclusion both in terms of content and producers
     
  • Create systems of accountability for everyone in the college including visiting faculty and high-profile visitors; require diversity statements before any hiring decision and give faculty feedback at mid-semester and end of semester
     
  • Recognize and amplify work already being done on these issues by AAP faculty, staff, and students.

The Council further recommends that the recently established D&I committees in the departments of architecture and art, as well as CRP's diversity committee, work on relevant action items and report back by October 5, 2020. All work of the Council will be shared with the community at regular intervals in an effort to maintain full transparency.

 

Workplan

June 2020: Departments form Diversity and Inclusion Committees; AAP Diversity Council Membership; create sub-committees within AAP D&I Council

July 2020: Solicit ideas for actions; organize AAP Diversity & Inclusion Town Hall #1

August 2020: Collate and organize ideas for recommended actions; post recommendations for AAP action plan

September 2020: Develop department-level recommended actions and draft AAP action plan; post draft action plan for community review

October 2020: Gather feedback on the AAP draft action plan; organize AAP Diversity & Inclusion Town Hall #2

November–December 2020: Finalize AAP action plan, post, and begin preparations for implementation at college and departmental levels

January–February 2021: Compile data and metrics for initial Diversity & Inclusion progress report; post the final report

March–May 2021: Compile data and metrics for second Diversity & Inclusion progress report; post the final report; gather feedback on actions and progress; organize AAP Diversity & Inclusion Town Hall #2

Updates & Works in Progress

History of Architecture and Urban Development (HAUD) Assistant Professor Samia Henni and HAUD Ph.D. candidate Ana Ozaki were invited to participate in an Anti-Racist Architectural History Workshop organized by Irene Cheng, Charles L. Davis II, Jia Yi Gu, Ana María León, and Mabel O. Wilson, which was held on July 7.

The first AAP Diversity & Inclusion Town Hall was held on July 10, the next Town Hall will be held in October 2020. 

History of Architecture and Urban Development Professor Esra Akcan organized a public webinar titled "Racism and the Future of Memorials" on July 13. The National Organization of Minority Architecture Students lead the event's Q&A.

Höweler + Yoon's (Eric Höweler, J. Meejin Yoon, principals; collaborators: Mabel O. Wilson, Frank Dukes, Gregg Bleam, Eto Otitigbe) Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at the University of Virginia opened as a public gathering space for remembrance and healing.

A student-facing webinar with external and alumni speakers titled "Reshaping the Intersection" was organized and moderated by CRP students on August 12.

Colloquia, public lectures, and other events are being reevaluated by organizers and departments to ensure greater diversity in visitors to the college.

Department Diversity & Inclusion committees are receiving and actively responding to suggestions for the redesign of classes and studios.

Asian graduate students in CRP are researching and preparing reading and resource lists for anti-racist work.

AAP Asian faculty have joined a university-wide faculty group for work on the anti-racist issues that grad students are raising.

D&I Council members have joined IDP led training to facilitate a community read of Ibram X. Kendi's How to be an Anti-Racist and have participated in the following university-organized events: Cornell Dean of Students Vijay Pendakur's talk Racial Equity in Higher Education, about what it means to redesign higher education for racial equity; Community Conversations on Race and Racism, to discuss the current protest movement and explore ways to support Black colleagues; A Movement, Not a Moment: Addressing Systemic Racism and Building Inclusive Organizations, a four-part series, featuring faculty members who will discuss the history of systemic racism in the United States.

If you have seen, heard, or experienced bias on campus or in the surrounding areas, please file a confidential report here.

Resources

The D&I Council is actively gathering information to keep our community up to date on available support networks and organizations, opportunities for involvement, and bias reporting protocols at AAP and Cornell. 

AAP Diversity Programs & Services

Belonging at Cornell

Bias Reporting: If you have seen, heard, or experienced bias on campus or in the surrounding areas, please file a confidential report here.

If you have general questions or concerns related to your well-being and/or experience at Cornell and AAP please reach out to Jenn Michael, director of student services; or Lily Rice, assistant director of student services. 

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