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Diversity

Department Mission statement

The Department of Landscape Architecture recognizes the value that diverse perspectives can bring to professional education and scholarly endeavor. Accordingly, we are committed to improving our recruitment and retention of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff from groups that are historically underrepresented in our department and profession.

Department‘s Commitment to Social Justice, Equity, and Outreach

We have identified the following strengths in the department and recognize that we should build on these assets as we improve our efforts to increase the diversity of our applicant pool and to improve the retention of current students, faculty, and staff.

  • Faculty research and teaching addresses a broad range of issues relevant to the needs and concerns of underprivileged and/ or underrepresented communities
  • Outreach to k-12 is already a strong part of our studio curriculum and the subject of research of several faculty members thus expanding the community that understands what landscape architects do and what the profession offers.
  • Faculty members lecture and serve as guest reviewers in programs around the world offering opportunities to reach out to potential applicants from multiple and diverse places, cultures, and backgrounds
  • Our faculty is a diverse body of scholars, practitioners, and teachers comprised of tenure-track academics as well as adjunct and affiliated faculty members and lecturers that come from the profession and practice.
  • Community service-learning is a major component of our MLA and BLA curricula. Through the service-learning studios, students and faculty worked primarily with underprivileged communities where they interact with community members including parents and youths and engage in cross-cultural learning.
  • Studios and courses are offered that focus on social equity in local communities thus bringing all students into discussions of social, economic, and environmental justice and equity.

University‘s Commitment to Social Equity

The President‘s message on diversity is noted online as follows:

Diversity is an inherent ingredient in an excellent education. To help the University of Washington reach even higher among the nation’s foremost universities, we must continue to do all we can to create a diverse academic community.

An educational experience that fails to expose students — majority and minority — to multicultural perspectives or that does not include interaction in a diverse community simply cannot measure up. All students leaving the university have to be able to take their places in the global village. We must continue to build a multicultural academic community because it is an inherent ingredient in an excellent education.

The University of Washington has an extensive infrastructure of offices, initiatives, and centers committed to diversity, equal opportunity, and affirmative action. For an overview of the resources available to students, faculty and staff, see the university’s web news and links at Diversity at UW.

The University of Washington operates within a legal framework established by Initiative-200 (I-200) approved by Washington voters in 1998. I-200 states in part: “This initiative prohibits government from discriminating against or granting preferential treatment to individuals or groups based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, public education, or public contracting.” Besides the state law, the university conforms to federal regulations regarding affirmative action and equal employment opportunity. The meshing of these two apparently contradictory laws has been a complex process for all Washington’s public institutions.

In light of this the University has looked to address diversity by expanding the application pool as noted by President Emmert in 2007, “What we discovered at Washington was that there are other ways to ensure diversity and access to higher education, particularly by taking socioeconomic factors into account. One essential element was undertaking an intensive effort to encourage more students from disadvantaged backgrounds to apply to the university.”

In a similar vein, the introductory statement on the UW website of the Vice-President and Vice Provost of Diversity and Minority Affairs gives a sense of the breadth of commitment by the university and the range of resources available for students.

“At the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity, we view all areas of diversity – student, faculty and staff diversity, curriculum, research, outreach, climate – as intertwined and interdependent. Embracing a transformational approach to diversity, we offer a full spectrum of programs that address change in curriculum, research, student and community service that work toward excellence in these areas.”