Newswise — Nine leading U.S. schools and colleges of architecture, planning and design have co-founded the Deans' Equity and Inclusion Initiative to work 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 nine partner schools and colleges.

Partners in the Deans’ 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 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 nine 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 Deans’ 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.”

For more information, visit


Media interview opportunities:

  • Thaïsa Way, Director, GLS, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Trustees of Harvard University, [email protected]
  • Iñaki Alday, Dean and Koch Chair in Architecture, Tulane School of Architecture, [email protected]
  • Adrian Parr,Dean, College of Design, University of Oregon, [email protected]
  • Meejin Yoon, Gale and Ira Drukier Dean at the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning (AAP), Cornell University, [email protected]
  • Maria Martinez-Cosio, Interim Dean, College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs, University of Texas at Arlington, [email protected]
  • Robert Alexander González, Dean, School of Architecture & Planning, University of New Mexico, [email protected]


Quotes from Deans with fellows this year:

Iñaki Alday:

“Our goal is to bring diverse talent to teach and research in absolute freedom, and to support them to reach excellence in their own intellectual trajectory. The built environment will be more just when designed by great professionals that bring the sensibilities and needs of all our population.”

Adrian Parr:

“We recognize the important role design has to play in supporting and facilitating a more just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive world (JEDI).  The perspectives students are exposed to and the opportunity to share and learn from different experiences eventually re-shape the professional sector, which in turn influences the design and development of more welcoming built environments. The equity and inclusion fellows are central in realizing and infusing the principles of JEDI throughout the classroom, in research, creative practice, and ultimately the profession. The College of Design at the University of Oregon is excited to be collaborating with other institutions across the country on this initiative.”

Meejin Yoon:

"As designers and educators, we share a commitment to needed change in both institutions of higher education and the built environment. Support for design research and scholarship that leads to new practices, knowledges, and spatial imaginaries is critical to building a just, equitable world by the most inclusive means possible."

Maria Martinez-Cosio:

“We seek to reflect the diversity of the populations that we serve in our region and around the world by nurturing talented scholars and practitioners.  As one of the most diverse higher education institutions in the U.S., engaged in cross-disciplinary work in partnership with a variety of underserved communities, we are thrilled to support this effort to continue to diversify the academy.”

Deborah Berke:

“It is important that architecture schools work with one another toward a common cause: to make both architectural education and the profession more inclusive. We can accomplish a lot more together.”