Honors & Awards programs reviewed 

AIA is committed to becoming a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive membership organization. At the direction of the AIA Board of Directors, AIA commissioned an independent review of its Honors & Awards processes to identify potential implicit and explicit biases, and to make necessary improvements. This review informs the ongoing rigor applied through the programs, identifies areas of improvement, and highlights measures to further support these goals. In December 2021, the Board of Directors approved and adopted the general recommendations and ensuing areas of work highlighted in the review.

The review identified critical strategic and operational aspects of Honors & Awards that require sustained work to:

1) further attract a diverse applicant pool to AIA’s Honors & Awards programs by addressing aspects of the submission process,

2) ensure that AIA fairly and equitably assesses and recognizes deserving individuals and notable projects, and

3) ensure that equity is incorporated in all components of the society’s Framework for Design Excellence, which is the rubric by which projects are measured.

The full slate of recommendations will be implemented over the next two years. Immediately, AIA strengthened its jury appointment process to further sustain its diversity, continued the implementation of common standards across all awards programs, and developed a program to review and expand the EDI elements embedded in the evaluation and selection process.

Improving the diversity of the pool of submissions will further increase the diversity reflected in the candidates that AIA honors and recognizes. This is critical to the long-term success of the profession as a leader committed to positive societal change. We understand that the exceptional award recipients that AIA honors today inspires tomorrow’s innovators and motivates the next generation of leaders.

AIA’s overarching objective is to ensure that in the 21st century, the profession of architecture is known as much for equity, diversity, inclusion, as it is for its ability to help contribute to solutions to society’s most daunting challenges through the power of design.  

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