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Diversity and Inclusion > Awareness, Agenda, Action!

Awareness, Agenda, Action! DivCo Develops Traveling Program on Building Diversity in Practice

Judson A. Kline, FAIA, LEED AP & Kenneth Casey, AIA
2011 AIA Diversity Council

In the Fall of 2011, the AIA Diversity and Inclusion Council (DivCo), sponsored the creation of a panel program to introduce action steps deemed critical in advancing the initiative of creating a more diverse and inclusive profession. The task: develop plans and strategies to move our profession, the AIA, and its members to action. “CPR…Critical Professional Response: An Action Plan to Build Diverse and Inclusive Practices” was prduced and later presented at the AIA Ohio Valley Regional Conference held in Dayton, Ohio in September 2011. Developed by DivCo members Dr. Curtis Sartor, AIA; Kenneth Casey, AIA; and Judson Kline, FAIA, the session brokered three topics: 1) the history and importance of diversity and inclusion in the profession, 2) a personal journey from a practitioner’s point of view and 3) explore action steps individuals and firms can take to help produce an inclusive and diverse profession. DivCo produced the program to help address building a profession, Institute and practices to include all voices, including race, gender, sexual orientation, physical abilities, or religious beliefs.

In the past AIA has produced policy statements to help frame and guide the direction for the Institute and its members regarding diversity and inclusion. CPR acknowledges diversity as a cultural ethos: a way of thinking or acting to foster inclusion and enhance membership and quality of life in our communities, all programs and initiatives of the AIA.

Addressing the challenge of building an inclusive and diverse profession begins at the practice level. To attain the preferred future inclusive community our firms must begin to develop action plans. By embracing cultural diversity in every avenue, our members can better reflect society.

The focus for CPR and the 12 Strategies is to provide approaches firms can take to build this new diverse and inclusive profession. The 12 Steps offer practical approaches that can be incorporated into business plans to achieve the goals for diversity and inclusion:

12 Step Strategies Leading to a Diverse and Inclusive Profession




Be Visible

Helping to make architecture be seen as a means to affecting the environment and architects need to be observed and engaged in the community

Develop community based outreach projects

Neighborhood meetings

Be Involved

Connecting with local schools through mentoring, career days and architecture week projects

ACE Mentors

Connect with teachers

Be Proactive

Developing office student enrichment programs for externships to see how architects work

Invite students into the office to shadow an architect

Be Inventive

Creating and leading an introduction to architecture program in local schools

Introduce a project

Create a jury

Be a Benefactor

Developing and investing in scholarship opportunities

Set up a fund work with local AIA

Be a Teacher

Offering to teach classes on architecture related subjects.

Teach, Build models,

Be a Mentor

Providing reading, writing, math and science support

Bring project based learning to schools

Be a Counselor to Parents

Creating office open houses inviting students and parents to see what architects do and career opportunity potential.

Open houses

Ask an architect

Be a Tour Guide

Offering to assist in local schools in leading tours of local architecture

Architecture scavenger hunt

Be a Champion

Engaging communities in charrettes to focus attention on issues and look for solutions

Neighborhood Development Assn. projects

Be a Connector

To local universities and community colleges introducing opportunities for college education

Arrange tours and visits

Bring faculty to the schools

Be a Promoter

Create identity via media and make architecture accessible and visible

Get the story out

Engage the community

This matrix provides a few ideas promoted by the program. CPR also highlights other specific resources and connections for members and firms to pursue to achieve this goal. The program concludes by acknowledging what to do and why it is important; then identifies big ideas, the low hanging fruit and finally, suggests the path to developing answers can be approached as a design problem; a process the architectural profession knows and understands well!

Awareness without Action is an emotion. Action without Awareness is an attempt. Action with Awareness, supported by a plan, can accomplish any endeavor! DivCo’s “CPR…Critical Professional Response an Action Plan to Build Diverse and Inclusive Practices” provides the Awareness and the Agenda leading to Action, which will help to achieve the desired future for firms, the institute, the profession and communities.


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