Diversity + Inclusion

Advances + Opportunities

As one of our strategic priorities, enhancing diversity and inclusion benefits our students, college and campus. To never stop working toward more diversity, to continually become more inclusive and to achieve equity across our college and the profession, we have made significant advances and will always look for more opportunities to improve.

 

Focus on DEI

In 2019, in response to a call for each college to develop an action plan, we expanded our Diversity Committee, now composed of faculty, staff and students. Committed to actionable change, the committee completed the college’s comprehensive diversity action plan in 2020. But this plan is not just for committee members. Everyone in the college has a role in implementing the thoughtful objectives in the plan to address DEI issues throughout our college.

At the request of the UT vice chancellor of Diversity and Engagement in 2020, we named the college’s inaugural director of Diversity Relations, Asst. Professor Felicia Dean. In 2021, Dean stepped down to focus on teaching and research, and Assoc. Professor and Director of the School of Interior Architecture Milagros Zingoni was appointed to the role. Zingoni is a liaison between the college and many offices at UT to assist the university to achieve an engaged, equitable, inclusive climate conducive to the advancement of diverse faculty and students.

Focus on Students

To us, diversity goes beyond race and gender, because we know a diverse group of students, those who bring varying perspectives because of their roots or life experiences, yields richer ideas and design.

  • In 2021, about 70% of our student body are women. Only a decade before, that number was about 50%.
  • Our students represent a variety of economic levels, regional differences, physical challenges, family dynamics, ages, military backgrounds, high school or undergraduate experiences and more.
  • Our 2019 incoming class was composed of 32% out-of-state students.
  • Many of our students are First Gen, the first in their families to go to college, yet many follow generations of scholars.  Some have families of their own, and for many, this is their first time away from home.
  • In 2021, students in the college and in the School of Art, with whom we share the Art + Architecture Building, planned a celebration of culture for Black History Month. Through this, they were establishing a new culture to unite all disciplines in the A+A, elevate the contributions of Black designers in the curriculum and honor creators of color in February and beyond.
  • One of our student organizations, National Organization of Minority Architects Students (NOMAS), is dedicated to cultural pluralism and seeks to provide a collective voice for underrepresented students by building a sense of community.
  • And through our active student exchange program, we host close to 20 international students each year, adding another layer of diversity to the studios.

Focus on Faculty and Administration

For the first 40 years after the founding of our college in 1965, white American men dominated our student body, professorate, administration and lecture series. Beginning in 2010, we began to accelerate change to become more inclusive and to represent a more diverse perspective.

  • Between 2012-2021, 11 new faculty members were hired—seven women and four men, following the retirement of six men.
  • Of the new faculty members, three represent international populations, and three are underrepresented minorities.
  • Between 2011-2014, four administrative appointments were made—two men and two women.

Focus on Lecturers and Reviewers

  • In 2014-2015, the college hosted an all-women lecture series, including 13 of the most enterprising female architects and designers in the world.
  • Since 2015, more diversity continues to be evident in the panels of jurors for final reviews.
  • In 2019, Sir David Adjaye served as the General Shale lecturer.

Focus on Financial Support

 

Learn about diversity across the University of Tennessee.

 

By continually reinforcing values of civility and collaboration, we will support and learn from each other and move this college forward together.

Scott Poole, Dean

Gensler Diversity
Scholarship Winners

In 2010, 2013 and 2017, three of our students earned the Gensler Diversity Scholarship, Asia Dixon, Tabitha Darko and Mustapha Williams, respectively. Founded by Gensler to cultivate a more diverse professional culture, the scholarship empowers African-American students to make a vivid impression on the architectural profession. Candidates are evaluated on their creative rigor, compelling designs and commitment to user-driven innovation.