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GSAPP Anti-Racism Action Plan

This is an archive page as it was published December 2, 2020. The current version of the action plan can be read here.

This page is dedicated to GSAPP’s ongoing work of addressing anti-Black racism and racial injustice. The result of a semester-long effort, the Dean’s Response Framework was first presented in student and faculty meetings held throughout the Fall 2020 semester.

Diversity Dimensions Consulting prepared a Culture Assessment and Admissions Findings Executive Summary and Recommendations.

The faculty-led Anti-Racism Task Force shared its recommendations in a letter to the GSAPP Community on December 21, 2020.

Response Framework

2 December, 2020

As GSAPP continues its stated commitment and dedication to addressing systemic racism and anti-Black racism across all of its dimensions, I want to again, both personally and on behalf of the School, share my deepest thanks and gratitude for the meaningful statements, urgent demands, and critical insights shared by faculty, students, and alumni through a series of powerful letters I and my colleagues received throughout the summer of 2020. I want to also recognize the time and care so many of you took in mobilizing the administration and faculty through writing, meetings, town halls, workshops, and other forms of collective engagement across students, faculty, and alumni.

These numerous meetings and discussions were seismic in their breadth, scope, impact, and, most importantly, promise for change. When I received the many letters, I wanted to give them the time and attention they deserved so that their impact could be meaningful, realistic, and permanent. I know that the resulting document itself has taken longer than many might have liked, and I am sorry for that; I also know that the frequent meetings and discussions I have been privileged to have with students and stakeholders throughout the semester have been fruitful for me and hope that this document can be seen as part of a larger framework of responsiveness.

I presented my proposed responses to the letters’ demands through the course of several weeks to all of the letter writers—students, student groups, as well as faculty—and am grateful to have received constructive feedback, important new ideas, and further insights that have brought a sense of focus and priorities for the School’s actions and commitments to unfold in the short and long term.

As promised at those meetings, and in light of the incredibly helpful, thoughtful, and extensive feedback I received throughout, the document below constitutes GSAPP’s official response to the letters, with the specific demands found across the letters appearing in italics at the beginning of each section, followed by our responses, as well as the short and long-term actions we are taking as part of GSAPP’s anti-racist action plan for lasting transformation at the School.

—Amale Andraos, Dean

  • Admit to damage done by universities/design schools in ignoring the plight of Black America. Acknowledge and address GSAPP’s role in the erasure, exclusion, and marginalization of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color’s knowledge, work, and voices.

This necessary acknowledgement and engagement asks that we re-read the foundations of what we know, or think we know, in terms of our disciplines and practices, from fundamentally altered perspectives, retracing the erased, rendering once-hidden violence visible, giving voice to the unheard and un-represented, and redrawing the lines and shades that were undone.

On behalf of GSAPP, I acknowledge the institution’s role in erasing, excluding, and marginalizing Black, Indigenous, and People of Color’s knowledge, work and voices. Our disciplines have long centered on Whiteness, in everything from the formation of the architectural history canon to the ways in which urban design, planning, preservation, and development practices throughout the decades have often harmed communities of Color while serving White neighborhoods. Schools of architecture and the built environment have all too often ignored the lived experience of Black Americans, Indigenous people, and People of Color, and GSAPP has contributed to the perpetuation of White supremacy in our disciplines and practices through a number of ways that must be re-examined, such as hiring predominantly White faculty, admitting predominantly White students, or focusing predominantly on teaching the work of White architects, planners, preservationists, urban designers, and developers.

To Unlearn Whiteness and commit to an active anti-racist perspective will enable new foundations from which to think, imagine, and practice differently—more equitably but also, with more joy.

This commitment is not limited to an intellectual project for the School, and it is crucial that we refrain from divorcing heart from mind when discussing these topics. In this light, it is important for GSAPP to stand with our Black students, faculty, staff, and alumni—to both honor their pain and anger and celebrate and amplify their contributions as well as to support all of our students, faculty, and staff in engaging in the sustained work needed for repair to occur and grow, seeding new foundations for the future. GSAPP needs to—and will—question every aspect of the School’s work; there is a collective commitment from faculty and administration to a process of introspection on how change can be implemented and sustained, towards intensifying our focus and collective efforts to lead in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion at the School and across our disciplines and practices.

As a School of architecture and the built environment, it is imperative that we undertake a collective and committed focus in acknowledging the role of our disciplines and practices in constructing and upholding racial inequities in the built environment, inviting all of us to recognize the project of Unlearning Whiteness as one of the most crucial reflections to engage in now, and in the future.

The School’s strength lies in the diversity of its programs and approaches, and especially in the breadth of perspectives, backgrounds, and personal interests and stories of our students and faculty who share in the desire to constantly question what our disciplines and practices are and what they can be. There is not a single way to approach architecture, planning, urban design, historic preservation, or real estate development at the School, and we must acknowledge that we need new spaces and forums to bring our communities together across programs if we are to learn and support one another in becoming an anti-racist institution.

Change will take time and must cut across many aspects of the School—and there are actions we can and are taking immediately, which will be outlined in this document. As a GSAPP leader and as the Dean, I commit to embodying the ongoing nature of this work. It is not a crisis to “get through”—it is a lasting commitment to transforming myself and our School at every level and weaving antiracist practice into the fabric of our culture, our curriculum, our pedagogy, our programming, and our spaces.

  • To remove barriers for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color to be part of our institution as students or faculty.

  • To actively transform the culture of the School into a culture that promotes safe, authentic, transformative care, practices, and dialogue while dismantling White supremacist, patriarchal, and ableist power dynamics at all levels.

  • To align audacious and imaginative action with stated aspirations “to inspire and to foster an open and generous intellectual environment’ by breaking down structural and endemic forms of anti-Blackness that permeate GSAPP’s curriculum, pedagogy, and administration.

At the start of the Fall semester 2020, GSAPP hired Diversity Dimensions Consulting (DDC) to partner with the School in understanding more thoroughly the experience of School culture and to identify concrete actions that can be taken now and in the coming years to bring about sustained change. While the School culture encompasses all of the different components and commitments that you will see in these responses, the aim here is to address the day-to-day climate and experience of being part of GSAPP and the different factors that influence it. As such, you will see actions that may pertain to other areas of inquiry also mentioned in this response.

For two months, DDC held numerous meetings, focus groups, and interviews with students, student groups, full-time and adjunct faculty, staff, and alumni with the following broad actions emerging so far—actions which point to the need to construct an equitable and inclusive culture that starts with the process of admissions, continues through the time of our students at GSAPP, and extends to the life-long support we can provide to them as alumni.

DDC will share its findings with the GSAPP community at the end of the Fall 2020 semester. They will summarize the discussions they had with faculty, students, and staff and offer recommendations for how we can strengthen our admissions process so as to reform recruitment and increase opportunities for BIPOC students.

3. ADMISSIONS – Reform Recruitment and Admissions Process
  • To increase representation of Black students and Students of Color.

We are committed to reforming recruitment and admissions by undertaking extensive outreach towards prospective BIPOC students.

As a principal scope of their work, Diversity Dimensions Consulting was asked to examine the current racial and ethnic diversity of all GSAPP degree-granting programs and to analyze admissions processes across all of the programs. Their team met extensively with Program Directors and Program Staff to evaluate the School’s overall approach to recruiting and admissions, assess its recent practices, and make recommendations for future actions towards increasing representation of Black students and Students of Color.

DDC’s report on Admissions Findings and Recommendations will be completed at the end of the Fall 2020 semester, and key findings will be shared on the website at that time. These include:

  • GSAPP programs enroll a significantly smaller share of African American, Hispanic, Native American, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander students than represented among bachelor’s degree earners. These four non-White groups earned 24 percent of bachelor’s degrees in the U.S. in 2018 but comprised only 6 percent of GSAPP students in Fall 2020.
  • Several GSAPP programs have had more success in recent years in enrolling more BIPOC students: the M.Arch program enrolled 10 percent and the MSCCCP program enrolled 13 percent.
  • The low percentage of African American students enrolled across the GSAPP programs begins at the applicant stage. The percentage of African American and Hispanic applicants (~7%) is significantly lower than the percentage of African American and Hispanic students earning a bachelor’s degree in 2018 among all major fields of study.
  • Most of the universities from which the largest number GSAPP applicants come from are not the schools conferring the largest number of bachelor’s degrees to African American and Hispanic students in architecture and all major fields of study.

While comprehensive recommendations designed to boost applications from underrepresented groups and to infuse equity in the admissions review and selection process are still in formation and will be shared as part of DDC’s final report, they include:

a. Targeted Outreach
Advertise GSAPP programs to institutions that award the largest number of bachelor’s degrees in architecture and all fields to underrepresented minorities, with a focus on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI), and universities in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern region of the U.S. Greater emphasis on outreach to institutions in the Greater New York region that award a large number of bachelor’s degrees in architecture and related fields to BIPOC students.

b. Specific Communication
Utilize videos and visual content on GSAPP’s social media platforms as part of targeted outreach efforts. Expand marketing efforts and educate more potential students and faculty about the focus of each GSAPP program and the potential educational and career opportunities.

c. Anti-Bias Training
To better support GSAPP’s holistic application review process, implicit bias training will be required for anyone serving on an admissions committee. Metrics used in the admissions process that are biased indicators of excellence are being reviewed to ensure that all criteria for consideration align with the goals of each program.

  • To dedicate full scholarships towards Black students and Students of Color.
  • To provide financial support for model making.

a. GSAPP Financial Aid
GSAPP is proud to offer several million dollars annually in institutional financial aid to support the graduate education of the most highly qualified applicants from a wide range of backgrounds and nationalities. Awarded at the time of admission, GSAPP scholarships are competitive and based on a combination of merit and financial need in an effort to reduce financial barriers, increase equity and access to education, and yield the highest caliber students who are able to benefit from and contribute to the GSAPP experience.

b. Full Scholarship in support of underrepresented groups
GSAPP has actively sought to increase its support for the recruitment of historically underrepresented groups by establishing several scholarship funds for this purpose, including the George and Nancy Rupp Fellowship in 2017 honoring the legacy of the former President of the University and the Milton and Yvonne Edelin Scholarship in 2018—the largest gift from a Black alumnus in the School’s history.

In 2020, the School committed $1 million to establish the Norma Merrick Sklarek Scholars Fund to support a cohort of full tuition financial aid awards over the next three academic years. The Scholarship is named in honor of alumna Norma Merrick Sklarek ‘50 B.Arch, who was among the first Black women to receive an architecture degree from Columbia and is recognized as the first Black woman to become a registered architect in the State of New York in 1954.

c. Non-tuition financial aid to assist with modeling
The School recognizes the need to support and create greater equity in student modeling resources. The School established an Emergency Fund to assist students with unexpected expenses exacerbated by COVID-19 and has disbursed $218,000 in the Fall 2020 semester to offset financial hardship during this period. The School is exploring the continuation of the Emergency Fund as an option, as a process that is now set up and has enabled students to apply with special circumstances during the academic year. We continue to seek more permanent funding opportunities.

  • To allocate financial resources to the project of Unlearning Whiteness and in support of BIPOC students and student groups.

In considering the full range of requests in support of our faculty and students, the School is committing to increasing Financial Aid towards BIPOC students (see 4. Financial Aid), allocating support for the ongoing work of faculty, continuing to sponsor attendance to BIPOC and other conferences that students and student groups are interested in, and allocating funds to student organizations as well as to a new administrative position that will provide additional support to students (see 6. Administrative Support.)

GSAPP commits to the following:

a. Faculty Resource Allocation
To initiate and sustain efforts towards the project of Unlearning Whiteness, GSAPP will provide 10 x $10,000 for the next 2 years for faculty-led initiatives. Funding may be renewed for this or another initiative that advances pro BIPOC efforts. A faculty committee will be formed early Spring and a call for proposals will be launched at the end of January 2021.

b. Sponsoring Attendance at BIPOC Conferences
GSAPP is glad to provide ongoing support of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) through the sponsorship of its annual National conference and the support of its nycobaNOMA program (See 13. Partnerships). Since 2017, GSAPP has supported students’ attendance at NOMA’s annual conferences, and we are committed to continuing that support, as well as to increasing the number of tickets as needed. In 2020, we provided 32 tickets to current students with 10 each offered to BSA+GSAPP and to LatinGSAPP.

The School will continue to support these efforts through the Alumni office. Students and student groups are welcome to suggest other conferences they wish to attend, such as the American Planning Association’s New York Metro Chapter (APA-NYM) and their specific focus on addressing equity and inclusivity in planning practices.

c. Allocating Resources to Student Groups
Throughout Fall 2020, GSAPP administrative leadership met with student groups to determine appropriate mechanisms for transparent allocation of student funds as part of the larger effort to establish an official GSAPP Student Organization Handbook.

With feedback from students and in collaboration with the Office of Academic and Student Affairs, the final GSAPP Student Organization Handbook was recently approved, shared with all students and is now available on the website. The handbook provides all recognized GSAPP student organizations with clear information regarding policies and regulations to support student group programming and outlines the role of the Office of Academic and Student Affairs in advising, overseeing, and approving all registered student organizations and initial event programming requests, facilitating co-curricular programming, student-led initiatives, and activities that support academic, professional, civic, as well as community engagement while promoting the diverse interests of the campus community and marshaling the many resources of GSAPP and the University on the student organizations’ behalf.

d. Donating unused GSAPP student funds to Black organizations outside of GSAPP
As per the request of student groups, it is possible for student organizations to donate any unused funds, following University policy. We are in discussion with student organizations and Program Council on the best way to structure this and expect to include more detail in the GSAPP Student Organization Handbook in January 2021.

  • Hire more Black faculty, research assistants, teaching assistants and administration.

a. Increasing Diversity in Faculty and Research Assistants
The Dean and Program Directors commit to hiring more BIPOC faculty, research assistants, and teaching assistants, as well as hiring and supporting more faculty dedicated to under-represented voices and traditions from around the world as well the intersection of race, racism, and the question of Blackness in architecture and the built environment. We will make these efforts as visible as possible through our website. See 14. Program Specific Public Profiles and Personnel Statistics.

b. Student Administrative Support
GSAPP has requested an exception from the University Hiring Freeze committee to hire an administrator dedicated to expanding our student support services and advancing the School’s work in anti-racism and diversity, equity, and inclusion. While this new position will live in the Admissions office to advance and support the School’s commitment to active recruiting and support of BIPOC students, the position is intended to support students from the moment they are applying to the moment they graduate, as well as continue to advance GSAPP’s anti-racist efforts and the transformation of culture at the School. The process of asking for the hire-exception has begun, and students will be invited to take part in the selection process.

c. Increasing Diversity and Visibility of GSAPP Administrative Staff
Too often, GSAPP’s dedicated and incredible administrative staff are made to feel invisible and their invaluable roles and contribution to the School—such as those we recently experienced throughout the COVID crisis, in which it was their efforts that enabled the School to successfully manage and overcome profound challenges—are not well understood. GSAPP commits to celebrating its staff and highlighting their roles, contributions, and stories to be shared with the GSAPP community at large.

  • Commit to restructure all curriculum to acknowledge the history of spatial violence of Black communities and advocate for design schools to train young designers on anti-racist design strategies knowledge. Develop pedagogical approaches and curricular content that no longer advance White supremacist values or practices.

a. Transforming curricula across the GSAPP programs
The GSAPP Anti-Racism Task Force was formed to engage with the question of pedagogy at the School, working through ongoing conversation with faculty, students, and other GSAPP community members, to imagine and work toward an anti-racist GSAPP through the collecting and synthesizing of ideas and tools for making change through curricula and programming.

The Task Force gathered input from across the School through meetings and suggestions and ideas shared through the email GSAPPantiracismTF@lists.columbia.edu and by confidential submission forms through this Google link.

The GSAPP Anti-Racism Task Force was formed not as a representative body but a conduit and tool for change and the assembly of ideas towards the School’s collective efforts. The Task Force includes full-time faculty members Lucia Allais, Kate Ascher (co-chair), Lance Freeman, Malo Hutson (co-chair), Andrés Jaque, Reinhold Martin, and Weiping Wu.

The Task Force hopes to share its initial ideas and recommendations by the end of the year and to develop them more fully with interested faculty, staff, and students during the Spring 2021 semester.

b. Support spaces for discussion across the programs, students, and faculty
Among the recurrent ideas that emerged out of many conversations with students and faculty on how to advance the project of anti-racism at the School are the following suggestions:

  • One all-school course that explores the BIPOC experience in the disciplines of architecture and the Black environment. Courses are being developed for the upcoming academic year.

  • All-School shared reading assignments to be discussed during Fall, Spring and Summer Orientations. The School is committed to amplifying the work of our many leading scholars and practitioners who address the issues of race and anti-Black racism for shared learning and discussion. This initiative will start with the Spring 2021 orientation.

  • Ongoing Discussion Groups (See 8. Training)

c. Studio Culture
We commit to supporting a culture of shared themes across studios to foster, support and expand the School’s ongoing commitment to issues of climate change, racial equity and social justice in the built environment by encouraging and advancing those concerns as shared across the diverse range of GSAPP’s studios.

We will reconsider the lottery system in the architecture studios with the aim of adapting a new algorithm that would distribute students more equitably amongst studios in a class.

d. Sustaining and aligning the transformation of Programs
The Dean and Program Directors commit to regular meetings across programs to share progress on efforts and initiatives made in their respective programs as well as finding opportunities for intersections and shared initiatives. These cross-program meetings have already begun as of the Fall semester.

  • Require annual diversity, sensitivity, and inclusion training for faculty and adjunct faculty, students, and staff.

a. Anti-Racism and Anti-Bias Training
GSAPP will host at least one required interactive workshop per semester to understand bias, its origins, and its influence in professional work. The programming is designed to empower students, faculty, and staff to respond to and combat everyday bias.

b. Ongoing Discussion Groups
To complement anti-racist training for students, faculty, and staff, we will hold a series of ongoing discussions to sustain the GSAPP community’s collective effort towards leading the transformation of its teaching as well as more broadly of the disciplines and practices of the built environment. These discussions will start in Spring 2021.

  • Consistent lack of engagement with those communities impacted by structures of exclusivity, including the history of Columbia University with Harlem. Work to break down the barriers between GSAPP and the community, especially Harlem.

  • Critically engage and exchange with Black communities, scholars, and makers including Harlem and the Spitzer School of Architecture at City College, as well as HBCUs, the Caribbean, and the African continent.

a. Dedicated GSAPP Incubator Prizes
GSAPP is dedicating half of the GSAPP Incubator Prizes over the next 2 years—5 x $10,000—to incentivize GSAPP recent graduates / alumni to critically engage and exchange with Black communities, scholars, and makers including Harlem and the Spitzer School of Architecture at City College, as well as HBCUs, the Caribbean, and the African continent. A committee comprised of faculty, students, and administrators will review applications.

b. Engagement with Harlem
GSAPP recognizes that its curricular engagement with the School and the Columbia Campus’ neighboring communities is not enough—and in fact can at times be detrimental to contributing to understanding and repairing the relationship with its neighbors, as a result of the University’s expansion into Harlem over the decades.

GSAPP commits to identifying meaningful community partnerships by the end of Spring 2021.

  • Dedicate public programming to stimulate dialogue about Whiteness and knowledge of its impact on our disciplines and the School culture.

  • Conduct an inventory of the School’s current and past work on race and make the work more visible and representative of the field and society.

  • Use GSAPP’s influence and agency to engage and lead in the work beyond the School that is needed in the field and its practices and associates to unlearn and challenge Whiteness and White supremacy.

a. Public Programming
Dean Andraos and Program Directors commit to the inclusion of BIPOC speakers in classes where guest lecturers are invited and to continue to seek increases in the inclusion of under-represented voices in the disciplines of the built environment.

Following the Fall 2020 Public Program, Dean Andraos and the GSAPP Program Directors commit to continue to significantly increase the number of BIPOC speakers in the School’s public lecture series.

The School also commits to dedicating ongoing public programming to stimulate dialogue about Whiteness and knowledge of its impact on our disciplines and the School culture.

b. Archive and Communication
In the summer of 2020, GSAPP transformed its website to make visible the past work on racial equity and environmental justice that has occurred in the School over the past years. In addition, this Anti-Racism Action Plan webpage was created as a means to make the ongoing work of the School visible.

GSAPP commits to continuing to make the work of Unlearning Whiteness visible through its website as well as supporting it through its internal and public communications, with ongoing communication as to the School’s anti-racist efforts.

c. Practice
GSAPP commits to supporting its BIPOC faculty who are also professionals in the field by providing a platform for increased visibility and supporting and amplifying their careers however possible as a means to transform professional practice beyond the School.

  • Support sustained access to and development of legitimate scholarly and professional resources.

a. Public Programming Resources
Following the suggestion of a number of students, Avery Library will dedicate space in the library to make available publications related to GSAPP’s public events and lectures. Starting Spring 2021, GSAPP will be purchasing relevant publications in conjunction with its semester public programming to make this available to students through the Library.

b. Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library
GSAPP communicated its faculty and students’ desire to see more BIPOC voices present in the scholarly and design materials available at Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library with director Hannah Bennett. Avery Library staff are committed to this project as part of its own anti-racist efforts and will be communicating about their process and progress in the coming semester.

c. Resources and readings for faculty and students
Resources and readings on Whiteness and White supremacy as well as on the intersection of race and the built environment will be updated every semester as part of the GSAPP Anti-Racism Webpage, following an open call across the School for suggested and recommended readings. Current reading resources can be found here.

  • Strengthen the network of GSAPP Black Alumni and their connection to students. Proactively cultivate a strong network of Black professionals.
  • Include and increase visibility for Black-owned and BIPOC firms in career services.

a. Alumni Conversations
Together with the Alumni Board, GSAPP is committed to unifying the alumni community through inclusive programming that fosters a lifelong relationship with Columbia. The alumni initiated a new series, Alumni Conversations, in July 2020 featuring alumni whose professional work is dedicated to issues of equity, housing, and climate justice.

In Spring 2021, the series will restart with a continued focus on alumni whose practices engage in projects addressing social justice and inequity in the built environment. An open call will invite a current GSAPP student to interview each alumnus for the series. Nominations for speakers are gladly accepted by email at gsappalumni@columbia.edu at any time. 

b. Alumni Mentorship Program
Over the past five years through the leadership of the Alumni Board, GSAPP has hosted a student-alumni mentorship program, matching approximately 75 students annually.

Starting in Spring 2021, in addition to indicating geographic and professional preferences of a mentor, students will be able to request an alumnus who identifies with an affinity represented by the current student groups, namely the BSA+GSAPP, LatinGSAPP, and QSAPP, should they wish. If there are aspects of identity that are important outside of these, students are encouraged to make those aspects known and to indicate their comfort in working with someone who may not meet all of the criteria, appreciating the matches may not be able to fulfill every request. The GSAPP Alumni office is committed to reaching out to the alumni community to seek mentors who fit or come as close to the students’ specific and desired criteria.

c. Support and promote a strong network for Black professionals
With leadership from the MSRED program, GSAPP is also developing a plan to create a more cohesive network of Black alumni from different generations, which can serve as a key professional network for our alumni.

Beginning with a four-part conversation series on the history of racism in the field of Real Estate Development in Spring 2021, GSAPP will seek to create continued programming that will facilitate relationships and build professional skills after graduation. This programming builds on the efforts of the BSA+GSAPP and is intended to support graduates throughout their professional lives. GSAPP expresses its gratitude to Diane Branch ‘03 MSRED, Riley Jones '17 CC (President, Black Alumni Council), as well as Adjunct Assistant Professor Ed Poteat and Holliday Associate Professor Patrice Derrington for their support in these efforts. This initial programming is made possible, in part, by a Provost-sponsored grant awarded to the MSRED program.

d. Increase presence of BIPOC-owned firms through GSAPP Career Services
GSAPP Career Services will highlight firms led and owned by BIPOC professionals in its programming. Firms no longer need to have an open position in order to be invited to participate in the School’s programming. GSAPP Career Services will also seek suggestions from students at the beginning of each semester, including all student groups.

  • Create mentorship partnerships with underserved New York City high schools and remote learning collaborations with HBCUs.

a. Continued partnership and support of NOMA
GSAPP remains committed to its support of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) through sponsorship of its annual National conference. This year, GSAPP provided 30 tickets to current students—with 10 each offered to the BSA+GSAPP and LatinGSAPP—and will continue to support these efforts through the Alumni office. In 2020, GSAPP provided sponsorship to the New York chapter, nycobaNOMA, to support its K-12 programming. In supporting these initiatives, GSAPP also honors Jeh Johnson ‘58 M.Arch, who was one of the 12 founding members of NOMA, as well as countless alumni who have held leadership positions over its history. 

b. Project Destined
This is the third year of the MSRED program’s partnership with Project Destined (PD) whereby MSRED alumni and current students act as tutors and mentors for Project Destined sessions and student projects. Additionally, together with the founder, Cedric Bobo, the MSRED Program Director Patrice Derrington teaches (pro bono) an elective course at the CUNY Lehman College in the Bronx during Fall 2020.  This newly developed curricula between GSAPP and Project Destined for this course is planned to be offered to numerous HBCUs at the undergraduate level to introduce students to a career in real estate. Corporate sponsorship is being sought to provide internships to Project Destined participants and eventually scholarships to pursue the GSAPP MSRED degree.

c. Collaborations with HBCUs and HSIs
GSAPP will continue to seek new partnerships that support BIPOC students, alumni, and professionals across the disciplines of the built environment, as well as support the transformation of the field towards anti-racist approaches to the practice of architecture, planning, historic preservation, urban design, and real estate development.

In particular, GSAPP commits to seeking opportunities for remote collaborations with HBCUs and HSIs, as part of its admissions efforts as well as in support of increased partnerships with institutions that principally serve BIPOC students. In Fall 2020, GSAPP was excited to support alumnus and Adjunct Associate Professor Justin Garrett Moore’s course Difference and Design, which operated as a trans-institutional collaboration between GSAPP and Tuskegee University’s Robert R. Taylor School of Architecture and Construction Science, as part of the Dark Matter University. This partnership allowed for interaction among students from different backgrounds and fields of study, answering key questions such as: “How has the built environment been shaped by difference?”, “How do we make a difference in the design of our spaces, places, and cities?”, and “How do you want to make a difference through your practice as a designer?”

In Fall 2021, GSAPP looks forward to a new collaborative course with Dahlia Nduom, GSAPP alumnus and Assistant Professor in the Department of Architecture at Howard University. The course will focus on the definition of home in the African Diaspora with a particular focus on Ghana and the Caribbean; on traditional modes of dwelling and how these have shifted over time due to changing values and global influence; and on exploring the way people dwell and beginning to understand the spatial implications and systems occurring in the home.

d. Outreach to High Schools
GSAPP recognizes that one of the most effective ways to diversify and transform the profession is by reaching out to and engaging students at a younger age, and the School is committed to developing partnerships with high schools, particularly in New York City. These partnerships are of importance in the context of declining numbers of U.S. residents earning a bachelor’s degree in architecture and related fields.

  • Share class profiles (Race/ethnicity, sex, gender (self-identified), sexual orientation (self-identified), nationality/origin).

a. Public Profiles
GSAPP student and faculty profiles are publicly available at https://opir.columbia.edu/abstract. In addition, Columbia’s International Student and Scholars Office (ISSO) shares statistics and reports on the School’s international population in the Open Doors Report published by the Institute for international Education (IIE) every November.

Adjunct faculty and student officer demographic information is not reported at a University level, but the School is exploring ways to track progress across its programs. Beyond the University website, GSAPP will work on making the available data visible and easily accessible on its website as well.

As shared with students in our meetings, more program-specific class profiles may inadvertently reveal personal data for students enrolled in the smaller programs, and as such, GSAPP prefers not to pursue this more granular approach to sharing profiles of its students, faculty, and staff and maintain the all-school information available.

  • Support must be in place and adequately responded to when Black students are confronted by anti-Black sentiment and deed by fellow GSAPP students, faculty, and/or staff.

a. Policies and Resources
GSAPP recently updated its website for Policies & Resources to clarify where to find University policies related to discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, and gender-based misconduct and where to report prohibited conduct. Communication was sent to faculty and students on 10/14/20 pointing to the updates and can be found here. Faculty will also be encouraged to continue to make themselves sensitive to these issues.

b. Confidential Resources
The University’s confidential resources include Sexual Violence Response (SVR); Counseling Services; Medical Services; the Office of the University Chaplain; and the Ombuds Office, which can be reached at ombuds@columbia.edu or through an online appointment system.