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Practice : Winter 2010
The future of design will reflect a new world of clients who don’t necessarily look or think like clients of the pa st. To prepare students for the de sign profes sions, it is crucial that BAC students, staff, and faculty understand and appreciate an ever-c ha nging global economy. This new world will present a diverse client base with needs that require ex haustive approache s to design that more appropriately integrate identity and culture into all a spects of the built environment. Inspired by the leadership of President Ted Landsmark, BAC Director of Diversity a nd Community Relations Micha el James has worked to evolve the institution’s diversity efforts to better a lign the BAC’s community with this emerging dynamic. Fostering a de sign community that recognizes the need to positively shape the built environment is at the core of the BAC’s diversity efforts. It will be the responsibility of our students to challenge the status quo and place deliberate consideration on the impact that their designs will have on the environments of on underrepresented communities. This is not to be viewed as a hindrance to cre ativity, rather it is a way to achieve design excellence through critical thinking and ground brea king design. Current leaders within the profes sion need to ma ke concentrated efforts that not only prepare the ne xt generation, but also hold themselve s a cc ountable. In this spirit, the Boston Architectural College educ ationa l leadership and sta ff have made a profound commitment, a s a community, to affect a more diver se profes sion. Micha el James rec ently introduc ed a Diversity Action Plan in service to the College’s mission: to provide excellenc e in design educ ation grounded in practice a nd accessible to diverse communities . The objectives in this plan encompass the es tablishment and review of policies and progra mming, a nd the creation of innovative new partnerships to accomplish the plan’s ambitious goals. The Diversity Action Plan will be implemented over three years and has five major objectives: (1) Integrate pluralism and diversity more f ully throughout the organi- zation. (2) Increa se recruitment, retention a nd graduation of minority and female students and from other underrepresented groups . (3) Incre a se recruitment of fa culty and staff who are minority, female and from other underrepresented groups. (4) Utilize diversity training and dia logues to create a more inclusive climate where a ll c ommu- nity members c an thrive. (5) Develop a comprehensive multicultural marketing c ommunications plan. The plan is designed to be ma lleable, allowing for changes as our own understand- ing of diversity and pluralism develops. Many of the strategies in the plan have been in process prior to the implementation of the plan, a llowing for reflection on our e fforts to date. The Boston Architectural College has been able to expose middle and high school s tudents to de sign through our Summer Academy, with support from the Robert Houseman and Richard Kirkham Fund for Divers e High School Students Entering the Design Profe ssions, a nd through the BAC- supported Youth Summit orga nized by the CDRC of Boston. This exposure, coupled with strategic recruitment a nd marketing e fforts, ha s contributed to incre a sed enrollment of underrepresented students. Since 1998 the perc entage of students of c olor enrolled in matriculating programs at the BAC has doubled, and the female s tudent population has more than doubled. While we are energized by the results these e fforts have delivered, there is a need for Evolving boston architectural college’s commitment to diversity This new world presents a diverse client base that requires exhaustive approaches to design more appropriately integrating identity and culture. summer academy students in mccorm ick galler y Cedric Sinclair, Assistant Director of Exter nal and Government Relations 12 pRacTIcE