Tulane Boosting Diversity in Architectural, Planning and Design Studies

Tulane School of Architecture’s fellows joining as new faculty for the 2021-2023 cohort are Omar Ali (left) and Emmanuel Osorno.

NEW ORLEANS – Tulane University is a founding member of the Deans’ Equity and Inclusion Initiative, a new partnership of nine U.S. schools and colleges of architecture, planning and design working collectively to nurture a diverse population of emerging scholars focused on teaching and researching the built environment to advance socio-ecological and spatial justice, equity and inclusion. 

Launched this summer, the cornerstone of the initiative is a cohort-based fellowship program that supports early career faculty who seek to engage in an academic career, while also contributing to the pursuit of equity and inclusion in the built environment. The program’s structure fosters a sharing of ideas and perspectives as the fellows are selected to work in new academic settings with the nine partner schools and colleges.

“Our goal is to bring diverse talent to teach and research in absolute freedom, and to support them to reach excellence in their own intellectual trajectory,” said Iñaki Alday, dean of Tulane School of Architecture. “The built environment will be more just when designed by great professionals that bring the sensibilities and needs of all our population.”

Partners in the Deans’ Initiative are: Tulane School of Architecture; Harvard Graduate School of Design and Harvard’s Dumbarton Oaks institute; University of New Mexico School of Architecture and Planning; University of Oregon College of Design; Cornell College of Architecture, Art, and Planning; University of Southern California School of Architecture; University of Texas at Arlington College of Architecture, Planning, and Public Affairs; University of Virginia School of Architecture; and Yale School of Architecture. New schools will join as the initiative develops, with hope of creating a collective effort across the nation.

“Increasing diversity in ways that value and strengthen equity and inclusion in our institutions requires more than what any one school can do. We believe it takes the collective of design schools to change who we hire, and what we teach and practice,” said a spokesperson for the project. “An important contribution is to collectively foster the mentoring of a next generation of diverse faculty into successful academic careers. Working together, we believe that through cross-institutional mentoring and stewardship of early career faculty, the initiative will expand and enrich the community of BIPOC and URM designers and scholars engaged in tenure-track faculty positions.”

Each fellow will participate in a one- or two-year cohort, including two summer institutes hosted at different schools each year. Additionally, each fellow is paired with an internal mentor and an external mentor during their fellowship. The nine partner schools will select fellows with specific attention to BIPOC and other underrepresented faculty from schools dedicated to the built environment professions and practices. 

Tulane School of Architecture’s fellows joining as new faculty for the 2021-2023 cohort are: Architecture and Urbanism Fellow Omar Ali, a designer, educator and co-founder of table of co., and Architecture and Social Innovation Fellow Emmanuel Osorno, an architect, designer, educator and the founder of EOstudio. Ali’s research focuses on how liminal urban spaces, or “in-between” spaces like alleyways, can be leveraged to create a more equitable city. Osorno’s most recent work aims to recalibrate the public’s view toward building preservation and social services, leveraging the power of images to infiltrate existing forms of media through which buildings circulate and gain value.  

For more information, visit www.deansequityandinclusioninitiative.com.



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