As one of our strategic priorities, enhancing diversity and inclusion benefits our college and campus. 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 2016, about 20% of the student body were minority students, using the traditional definition of race and ethnicity. And we are made up of about 50% male and 50% female.
Beyond these traditional definitions comes a more multi-layered definition of “diversity,” which can be derived from economic levels, regional differences, physical challenges, family dynamics, ages, military backgrounds, high school or undergraduate experiences and more, and must include a culture of inclusion.
Our students hail from the plains and mountains, farm country and concrete jungles. They come from The Golden State and The Silver State…and of course, The Volunteer State.
Many of our students are 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.
One of our student organizations, National Organization of Minority Architecture 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.
In 2013 and 2017, two of our students earned the Gensler Diversity Scholarship. 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.