Our Diversity Plan


The School of Architecture and Planning at the University at Buffalo is the only public, nationally‐accredited program in architecture and planning in New York State. Despite status as one of the top ten most racially and ethnically diverse universities in the United States and number‐one ranking in the percentage of international students among public United States institutions, the school struggles tremendously with recruiting and retaining students who are women and underrepresented minorities—challenges that are equally evident in the architecture and planning professions..

The School of Architecture and Planning at the University at Buffalo is committed to becoming a leader in diversity and inclusion research, policies, and practices both in the university and in architecture and planning nationally. Fostering a culture of inclusion is essential for educating students who will work and live in an increasingly diverse culture. Broadening the diversity of those who study, teach, research, and practice architecture and planning ensures that a wider variety of diverse needs will be met through these professions. The school will harness the data available to measure our progress annually.

A diverse faculty and student body are necessary components of a quality education for all students because diversity:

  • enriches the educational experience by providing students with the opportunity to learn from individuals who differ from them.
  • promotes personal growth and a healthy society by challenging stereotyped preconceptions, encouraging critical thinking and helping students learn to communicate effectively with people of varied backgrounds.
  • strengthens communities and the workplace by preparing students for citizenship in an increasingly complex, pluralistic society, and fostering mutual respect and teamwork.
  • enhances the country's economic competitiveness by effectively developing and using the talents of all citizens.

The School of Architecture and Planning Diversity Plan focuses on improving and supporting diversity in areas including, but not limited to:

  1. race/ethnicity
  2. socio‐economic status
  3. gender
  4. sexual orientation/gender identity
  5. disability
  6. religion
  7. age
  8. life experience
  9. international citizenship

Six goals structure the Buffalo School Diversity Plan:

Publicly Celebrating Diversity: Develop a public image for the School of Architecture and Planning that conveys a message of diversity



1.1 Continue to monitor the language of school website(s) and printed materials to ensure that diversity and inclusion are prominent components of the school. 1.1.1 Academic Affairs and External Affairs in consultation with the Dean’s Council and department chairs keep diversity at the forefront of the school’s publications.

1.2 Publicize our diversity initiatives.

1.2.1. Publish the school’s Diversity Plan and yearly progress report.

1.3 Feature students from underrepresented groups in Buffalo School publications. 1.3.1 External Affairs coordinates with Academic Affairs to select students for publications who reflect the broad diversity of our academic programs.
1.4 Use evaluation methods to strengthen the diversity image of the school from the perspective of a diverse external audience. 1.4.1 Develop and administer surveys that explore the experience of the school’s external audience.

Recruitment: Recruit greater numbers of applicants from underrepresented groups into both the faculty and the student body.

2.1 Increase the diversity in the undergraduate architecture application pool.

2.1.1 Participate in the Architecture + Education Program sponsored by the Buffalo Architecture Foundation, which pairs a graduate architecture student and an architect with public school teachers to infuse architecture into their curriculum.

2.1.2 Participate in Tech Savvy, a program that inspires middle school girls to pursue careers in science, engineering, technology, and math through fun workshops.

2.1.3 Provide continual support to the Architecture and Design Academy, which provides a design curriculum to high school students.

2.1.4 Assist the College and Career Girls Prep Charter School in developing their design curriculum.

2.2 Increase the diversity in the BAED application pool.

2.2.1 Engage public grade school and high school students from underrepresented groups to foster awareness of and interest in planning.

2.2.2 Participate in Tech Savvy, a program that inspires middle school girls to pursue careers in science, engineering, technology, and math through fun workshops.

2.2.3 Build and strengthen the connections between community colleges and the BAED program.

2.3 Increase the diversity in the graduate applicants across programs including MArch, MUP, MS, PhD, and the HP certificate program.

2.3.1 Partner with undergraduate programs with substantive number of students from underrepresented groups.

2.3.2 Develop partnership with faculty and students from the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) architecture and planning programs.

2.3.3  Work with UB’s Center for Academic Development Services and Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) to establish a pipeline to SA+P.

2.3.4 Develop a process for community members who wish to engage historic preservation as auditors. (This population includes mostly adults who are older.)

2.3.5 Recruit international applicants through our study abroad programs.

2.3.6 Work with our alumni in other countries to recruit applicants.

2.3.7 Continue to develop connections between our current international students and prospective students from their home institutions (e.g. mailing publications, social media, grassroots recruitment, etc.).

2.3.8 Approach and recruit from universities with high numbers of international undergraduate students.

2.3.9 Build connections with academic centers outside of the US with the help of our international faculty.

2.3.10 Increase number of Schomburg nominees.

2.3.11 Increase the diversity categories our Schomburg nominees fall within (e.g. more nominees based on LGBTQ, religion, etc.).

2.3.12 Persuade the university to administer the Schomburg through the Office of Graduate Enrollment Management, rather than within the Graduate School.

2.4 Evaluate the diversity of the applicant pools. 2.4.1 Track the number of diverse applicants each year by category (as identified in Gradmit applications).

Student Development: Retain and graduate greater numbers students from underrepresented groups as well as retain and tenure greater numbers of faculty from underrepresented groups.

3.1 Develop and maintain funding sources that are focused on students from underrepresented groups.

3.1.1 Increase the number of McNair scholars.

3.1.2 Develop a SA+P scholarship program for students with disabilities.

3.1.3 Assist SA+P women to seek funding sources specifically designated for women.

3.1.4 Create, host and pursue funding for events that highlight the contribution of underrepresented populations to the disciplines of architecture and planning.

3.2 Establish academic success strategies for students from underrepresented groups. 3.2.1 Modify undergraduate schedules/curricula to meet the needs of students from the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), English as a Second Language (ESL) students, etc..
3.3 Mentor students from underrepresented groups.

3.3.1 Invite alumni from underrepresented groups to serve as mentors for current students.

3.3.2 Academic Affairs team will build strong relationships with students so they have an additional layer of support when they have issues, need advice, etc.

3.3.3 Mentor and encourage diverse students to publish and promote their work.

3.3.4 Encourage students to publish work related to diversity and inclusion

3.3.5 Provide course offerings that deal with issues related to diversity and inclusion.

3.4 Establish external support structures.

3.4.1 Provide financial support and mentorship for PhD students to attend and participate in conferences so that they begin to forge relationships in a community of scholars.

3.4.2 Build on the above model to support masters‐level students with financial need to engage in conferences that will enhance their connections with the profession.

3.4.3 Identify philanthropic and development support for diversity‐based scholarships.

3.5 Expand students’ perspective through international study.

3.5.1 Ensure comparable study abroad participation rates for underrepresented students.

3.5.2 Harness the school’s scholarship resources for students in need who wish to participate in study abroad.

3.6 Support students in crisis situations. 3.6.1 Build a network of support for students who encounter crisis situations.
3.7 Harness scholarship support to fulfill the goals of the diversity plan, and to support those students who have demonstrated need. 3.7.1 Track information on students about type and amount of support provided.

Post Graduate Support: Provide a network of support for B/a+p alumni relative to their careers, desire for lifelong learning and engagement, social interactions, and willingness to provide service and/or support to strengthen and advance the school.

4.1 Connect SA+P graduates to organizations connected with diversity and inclusion.

4.1.1 Continue to connect alumni with the AIA Diversity and Inclusion initiative.

4.1.2 Continue to engage alumni in the universal design community.

4.1.3 Support growth in the NOMA alumni chapter.

4.1.4 Infuse diversity and inclusion into the annual alumni reception at the APA national conference.

4.1.5 Build on EA’s Buffalo In model (an event focused on urban issues in Philadelphia, co‐organized by a woman planning alum) to infuse diversity and inclusion into more alumni programming.

Promotion and Tenure: Support diversity in faculty and staff hiring, promotion and tenure.

5.1 Promote the Buffalo School as a diversity leader in an effort to recruit faculty from underrepresented groups.

5.1.1 Promote faculty and staff work related to diversity.

5.1.2 Publish scholarly work related to our diversity goals.

5.1.3 Announce positions in venues that focus on underrepresented groups.

5.1.4 Identify individuals from underrepresented groups who fit position descriptions, and encourage them to apply.

5.1.1 Support professional development for faculty and staff related to diversity and inclusion.

5.2 Mentor all junior faculty, especially those from underrepresented groups. 5.2.1 As part of the process, help faculty identify their areas of strengths and challenges and encourage them to develop and implement a ‘plan of action’ to meet their goals in the areas of research, teaching and service.
5.3 Seek the advice of experts in staff hiring and student services and the architecture and planning fields to help shape the Buffalo School diversity initiatives for faculty as well as students

5.3.1 Establish a Buffalo School Diversity Advisory Group to assist in the development and refinement of the Diversity Plan.

5.3.2 Meet with UB diversity experts.

Community Engagement: Engage the diverse Buffalo‐Niagara community through research, scholarship, and service.

6.2 Foster excellence in research and service through projects in Center for Architecture and Situated Technologies, IDEA Center, Center for Urban Studies, Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab, UB Regional Institute, and Urban Design Project.

6.2.1 Engage students from underrepresented groups in projects taking place in the research centers.

6.2.2 Continue to support the research centers and their efforts to engage and serve the community (e.g. Food Policy Summit, Citizen Planning School, Perry Choice Neighborhood Initiative, etc.)

The Buffalo School’s diversity plan is crafted and continually updated under the leadership of Dean Robert G. Shibley, FAIA, AICP, and in consultation with key faculty and staff. 

Queries may be directed to the plan’s authors and coordinator, Prof. Beth Tauke

Special thanks to the following contributors: