Faculty and staff shape conversation at UB's inaugural Inclusive Excellence Summit

Despina Stratigakos speaks from the podium during the keynote panel discussion at UB’s inaugural Inclusive Excellence Summit. Panelists are, from left, Margarita L. Dubocovich, Sharon Nolan-Weiss, Lee Melvin, Peter F. Biehl, and Robert Shibley. Photo: Douglas Levere

Despina Stratigakos speaks from the podium during the keynote panel discussion at UB’s inaugural Inclusive Excellence Summit. Panelists are, from left, Margarita L. Dubocovich, Sharon Nolan-Weiss, Lee Melvin, Peter F. Biehl, and Robert Shibley, dean of the School of Architecture and Planning. Photo: Douglas Levere

Published May 9, 2018

UB administrators, faculty and staff will need to act with intentionality and university-wide coordination to integrate diversity and inclusion more deeply into all aspects of university operations.

That proposal was a focal point of the keynote panel discussion at UB’s inaugural Inclusive Excellence Summit held last week in the Student Union Theater on the North Campus. Read more at UBNow

Prior to the discussion, Despina Stratigakos, interim vice provost for inclusive excellence and professor of architecture, told audience members the summit represented an opportunity to showcase UB’s position as a national leader in inclusive excellence.

“The ideas, goals and strategies that are being discussed today in workshops, breakout sessions and conversations among members of the UB community are just the start,” Stratigakos said.

“Adopting inclusive excellence as the center of our diversity and inclusion strategy challenges UB to employ the principle as a strategic framework.”

Faculty and staff from the School of Architecture and Planning offered insights on organizational planning for equity and inclusion at UB's Inclusive Excellence Summit last week.

Faculty and staff from the School of Architecture and Planning offered insights on organizational planning for equity and inclusion at UB's Inclusive Excellence Summit earlier this week. Pictured from left to right: Shannon Phillips, Frank Kraemer, Enjoli Hall, Samina Raja, Samendy Brice, Beth Tauke, Brittany Perez. Photo by Jordana Maisel

The School of Architecture and Planning played a central role in the university conversation, sharing its experience in development of the school's strategic plan for equity and inclusion, as well as insights on UB's application of inclusive design across its campuses.

Dean Robert Shibley, who also serves as UB's campus architect, participated in the university leadership panel discussion, facilitated by Stratigakos.

He said UB's campus master plan speaks to the key questions of inclusion, from the campus into the community. “The overall point here is that we do not do ‘to’ our communities. We do ‘with’ our communities,” Shibley said. “We build the structures and, also, the trust that we need through ongoing conversations with residents on the impact of our moves and renovations.”

Among the participants in the “Advancing Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity in Strategic Planning” panel was Shannon Phillips, assisant dean for graduate education and director of diversity initaitives at the School of Architecture and Planning. She discussed the school's diversity plan, now being updated through the school's five-year strategic plan.

"The School of Architecture and Planning recognizes equity, inclusion, and diversity as complementary, reinforcing, and interrelated ideas. As we engage in the strategic planning process this year, we take an opportunity to reflect on our past work, set aspirations for ourselves, and more fully consider how we bring to life the values set forth in our strategic plan to welcome diverse perspectives, create a culture of inclusion, and advance equity in the School of Architecture and Planning."

The school is also home to the Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access, the world's leading center for research on universal design, or design solutions for all. Members of the IDeA Center participated in two panels on inclusive design at UB: "Inclusive Design of Residential Life Facilities: A Comparison of Greiner and Fargo Halls," and "Using Universal Design to Create an Inclusive Campus for UB Students, Employees."

Full list of School of Architecture and Planning participants in the Inclusive Excellence Summit:

  • Samendy Brice (Architecture BS '18 and incoming MArch student)
  • Sadichchha Dhakhwa (MArch '18), student representative on SUNY Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Committee
  • Enjoli Hall (MUP '17), associate planner, UB Regional Institute
  • Frank Kraemer (BAED '16, MArch '19), student representative on SUNY Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Committee
  • Jordana Maisel, director of research, IDeA Center
  • Brittany Perez, director of outreach and engagement, IDeA Center
  • Samina Raja: professor of urban planning and director of UB's Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab
  • Edward Steinfeld, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Architecture and director of the IDeA Center
  • Beth Tauke, associate professor of architecture
  • Joy Resor (MUP '18), student representative on SUNY Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Committee 
  • Jonathan White, senior researcher, IDeA Center