Actions Taken to Support Our JEDI Goals

2020 to Present

Goal 1 | Enhance representation in the student body

Actions Taken
  • Admissions Review Committees for our graduate programs work to identify top applicants through a holistic process, with underrepresented students receiving additional scholarship funding consideration.
  • A new mentorship connection method was launched to allow students to seek mentors based on criteria better tailored to individual needs. 
  • CAP received over $390,000 in funding for JEDI scholarships.
  • Student representatives participate as members of all faculty search committees, including the search for a new department chair. 
  • Landscape Architecture Department
    • Opened up Spring term for new admits, providing students more options for enrollment to accommodate diverse scheduling needs.  
    • Direct student support includes graduate tuition awards for recruitment. 
    • Competitive research and teaching assistant positions on a semester-by-semester basis (ranging between $19–22.50/hour). 
    • Employment opportunities in our research centers (for example UTAP). 
    • A few college-based work-study positions if a candidate has qualified for these through the federal student financial aid process. 
    • Established a JEDI Scholarship from DIG Studio.
  • Architecture Department
    • The pre-architecture designation was discontinued to remove the perception of unequal treatment between Pre-Arch and BS Arch students.
    • New scholarships were created for undergraduate Transfer and First-Generation students as well as for school districts with historically high populations of students of color.
    • Developed partnerships with and active recruitment from Pre-Collegiate (First-Generation students), National Hispanic College Fairs, and other organizations and high schools.  
    • A student representative from both the Bachelor of Science and the Master of Architecture programs attends every departmental faculty meeting. 
    • A student from the Master of Architecture program was on the selection committee for CU Denver’s new chancellor in 2019. 
    • Established a new National Organization of Minority Architecture – Students (NOMA-S) and All for Women in Architecture Students (AFWIAS) chapters.
    • Students in the department elect “Studio Representatives” every semester who meet monthly with the associate department chairs. 
  • Urban and Regional Planning Department
    • Accepted students receive personal attention, such as being individually contacted by faculty; invited (and sometimes funded) to attend a robust, full-day program preview event that includes interaction with current students, alumni, and faculty; multiple follow-up contacts with deferring students; etc. 
    • Leveraging research grants and scholarship funds to maximize financial offers that include research assistantship positions as well as scholarships. The average amount of support offered per accepted student has increased from $1,344 in 2015 to $6,900 in 2022 (including JEDI and other college scholarships).

Goal 2 | Employ diverse faculty and staff

Actions Taken
  • Human Resources removed names and university pedigree from all search data for faculty and staff job searches, limiting unconscious bias and forcing decisions to be made solely on the merits of the applicants.
  • Since the introduction of the College of Architecture and Planning's JEDI council, five of the eleven new hires are of underrepresented minority groups.
  • The Department of Architecture established a JEDI Visiting Faculty position. The first incumbent was Sarah Aziz for the 2021-22 academic year. Leyuan Li is coming in January 2023 as the second Visiting JEDI Faculty. The faculty members in this position play an important role in foregrounding issues of equity and diversity in the college.
  • CAP initiated faculty and staff maltreatment discussions in response to CU Denver's Campus Workplace and Culture survey.
  • Language related to JEDI issues was provided to supervisors for use during faculty and staff annual reviews.
  • College of Architecture and Planning appointed Associate Chair of Urban and Regional Planning Jenny Steffel-Johnson as the trained EDI “Search Advocate.”
  • We have broadened our advertising efforts. In addition to the usual advertising from CU, we post externally to other organizations that serve people from historically underrepresented groups. We will continue to explore other areas (listservs, websites, peer departments at other institutions, and additional organizations) that will help broaden this further.
  • We have implemented a New Employee Orientation and Training for new individuals hired to CAP as full-time or part-time faculty members (adjunct/lecturer). This is to provide them with information that will help them integrate well into the College and CU Denver and have a smooth transition. 
  • We have implemented the New Faculty/Staff Training to new faculty and staff of CAP, which is a series of meetings/events throughout the year with various staff and faculty to help orient them with processes/procedures/etc. 
  • This fall we implemented an optional 30-90 day survey sent out to new faculty and staff after their 30- and 90-day work anniversaries. This is to check in on the onboarding experience, how they are adjusting to their new roles, how we can better support them, and areas for improvement. 
  • Architecture Department
    • All faculty sitting on the search committee are required to enroll in training at the university level to ensure a fair and equitable search process. As a result, the last three hires to the tenured/tenure-track faculty have come from diverse, international backgrounds. 
    • The Architecture Department has sought to hire more women and more people of color.  In the fall of 2021, women comprised 48%, and people of color comprised 21% of our lecturer/part-time faculty. In the spring of 2022, those percentages were 45% and 13%, respectively. 
  • Urban and Regional Planning Department
    • As a small department with only 5 tenured/tenure-track faculty, opportunities to add to our full-time faculty ranks are rare. We had unexpected opportunities to hire tenure-track faculty members in 2018 and 2020/21 and we prioritized finding colleagues who both added to the racial/ ethnic/ gender diversity of our faculty, and whose scholarship focused on social justice and community-engaged research. Throughout all stages of the search processes, we implemented procedures to maximize our candidate pools, ensure our evaluations were transparent and equitable, and maintain our commitment to equity and diversity, both among the individual applicants and within their scholarship. 
    • 2020 results: Out of 208 applications, the committee short-listed 13 candidates for the shortlist, including 9 (69%) people of color, 8 (62%) women, 4 (31%) non-US citizens, and 3 (23%) who indicated in their materials that they were members of LGBTQ+ communities. The 7 finalists who were invited for full-day interviews included 5 (71%) people of color, 5 (71%) women, and 3 (43%) non-US citizens. The search process resulted in our hiring a female of color (international). 
    • Three of our seven full-time faculty are female; 9 of 16 part-time faculty (AY 2021-22) are female. We have added excellent faculty of color to our regular part-time roster. 

Goal 3 | Incorporate the values and practices of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in what and how we teach

Actions Taken
  • Our Associate Dean led an effort to visit each cohort to discuss equity and the learning environment and emphasized student responsibilities for inclusion in collaboration. 
  • Lecturers in the Department of Architecture are now required to complete training in equity in the learning environment. 
  • CAP's Student Advising team added a virtual meeting component to accommodate student schedules and individual needs. 
  • Landscape Architecture Department 
    • Un-grading work for equity in beginning design – this is an attempt to level the playing field and foster a sense of belonging in our intro to landscape graphics class. 
    • The biggest change to the program was the reorganization of the curriculum to enhance the student experience by loading the core content knowledge classes into the first year to prepare students equally with the needed skills to be successful in studios that follow. 
    • LDAR 5521: Revisions to our history course content, focus, and presentation to include more diverse landscapes, peoples, places, and cultures.  
    • Natural and cultural systems are covered in LDAR 5572 Ecology for Landscape Architects, LDAR 6670 Plants in Design, LDAR 5532 Landform Manipulation, and in the variety of courses that deal with living systems, as well as studios in which these issues and content come to the fore (e.g. Komara’s Immersive 2020 with water in the West). The concept of sustainability is treated as an ethical concern as well, and thus would be covered in courses that engage issues of environmental balance. Cultural systems are covered in design studios dealing with local communities. Additionally, studio courses address this through projects where systems knowledge is applied. 
    • LDAR 6630 Site Society and Environment (SSE) is the class where site planning, visual impact assessments, landscape performance, and post-occupancy evaluation are addressed. The class covers a triple-bottom-line approach to sustainability and discusses everything that relates to the site, society, and the environment. Site inventory and analysis are expanded upon in this class, which runs concurrent to Studio 1 – students are learning these processes as they start to practice them in design. Every studio has elements of analysis and research on site history, culture, and ecology, and the learning outcomes from SSE are carried beyond into all subsequent studios. 
    • Public policy and social justice are introduced in Site Society and Environment, and Theory & Criticism, but are concerned that our faculty are well-versed in, and students are familiar with red-lining, historic land reappropriation, and issues of race, class, and social structure. Special Topics (for example Contested Terrains as well as Redefining Place: Refugees in the Landscape) address divisive politics and humanize immigrant populations, respectively. Our faculty supports an Olmsted nominee each year and in recent years they have addressed issues of refugees, inclusive design for LGBTQ+ individuals, therapeutic design, resistance, and play. We have had two national award winners and two nominees. and we are proud to be working toward a more equitable curriculum in every class.
  • Architecture Department 
    • Expansion of history survey courses to include a more global scope: in the spring of 2022, the department voted to expand the M. Arch program’s history curriculum to three required history survey courses. This expanded history survey course offering allows for the history and theory faculty to present students with an expanded, non-western perspective on the history of architecture, including regions like India, China, Africa, South America, and other global regions with non-Western traditions.
    • Adding curricular activities that support Equity, Diversity and Inclusion include our Social Context of Design course and our History I, II, and III sequences. 
      • The Social Context of Design course is being taught for the first time in fall semester 2022 by new Assistant Professor José Ibarra. It will evolve over time to address emerging issues in equity, diversity, and inclusion.  
      • A third course in the Master of Architecture history survey sequence is being taught for the first time in spring semester 2023 by Professor Amir Ameri. The intention behind this change is to more effectively expose students to non-Western histories of architecture, thus offering a more global, equitable, and inclusive perspective on the history of the discipline of architecture.
    • ARCH 6290: Special Topics in Cultural Studies: “Disturbing Behavior.” Disturbing Behavior is a graduate research seminar that asks students to conduct weekly expeditions to different constructed landscapes in the region and experience firsthand how they are both affecting and being affected by complex phenomena such as race, social class, and climate change. Site visits range from the very small, such as isolated markers that retell contemporary constructions and experiences of history through the eyes of previously marginalized historical actors, to the very large, like terraformed snow caves and relocated indigenous dwellings. Each environment highlights the ways that the human-made landscape is a cultural inscription that can be read at different scales of resolution to form a measured understanding of who we are and where we’re heading. Co-taught by Professor Aziz and Department Chair, Marc Swackhamer in spring 2022. 
    • All undergraduate and graduate students have unconscious bias and intercultural competency training through studio courses each semester. 
    • The Department has developed two mandatory Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Workshops for both our graduate and undergraduate students to help them become more effective collaborators and leaders. The workshops address Unconscious Bias in one and Intercultural Competency in the other. Dr. Adriana Medina facilitates these workshops, which are funded through a gift from Stantec, Inc. Our B.S.Arch. students attend the Intercultural Competency workshop in their Design Studio IV and the Unconscious Bias workshop in Design Studio V. The M.Arch. students attend the Unconscious Bias workshop during Design Studio III and the Intercultural Competency during Design Studio V. The Intercultural Competency workshop is scheduled into the curriculum so that it coincides with or precedes a studio in which the students are required to work in teams. 
    • The department has overhauled its Professional Practice course to focus as much on how one acts as an architect as what one does as an architect. This involves more discussion and exercises on interpersonal, collaborative, listening, leadership, ethics, judgment, and empathy. 
    • As the department develops and refines its new Learning and Teaching Culture Policy, it will increasingly play a large role in our teaching workshops. The workshops will serve as a key opportunity for sharing this important document with the broader faculty and implementing it to advance the quality of teaching through the lens of equity and diversity. The LTCP will be included as part of the CANVAS shell for every course, and it will be included in every syllabus. 
  • Urban and Regional Planning Department
    • We include on our one-year post-graduation alumni surveys the following question: “To what extent do you feel that the MURP program prepared you to work in a diverse work environment and/or with diverse communities?” Average positive responses range from 76% to 83%, demonstrating clear room for improvement. 
    • Starting in fall 2023, our core Planning Practice & Technology course will become Planning Practice & Engagement, bringing training on equitable, inclusive, and effective engagement techniques into the core curriculum. 
    • Among the explicit course goals in Planning History and Theory are for students to develop an understanding of structural disparities and injustices with regard to race, class, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, and/or physical ability; and to identify concepts and tools planners can employ to disrupt such structures to advance an inclusive public interest and socially just communities. 
    • In the 2022 Spring semester, the Urban Development course had the opportunity to review and provide input on the APA’s draft Zoning Equity Policy Guide being developed by the Zoning and Law Division of the APA. (The lead on this policy task force, Don Elliott, is a MURP long-time adjunct faculty member.) 
    • Within the core Urban Sustainability course, students explore the history and the current state of the environmental justice movement. The course addresses questions such as What are the origins of the uneven distribution of environmental goods and bads with which communities contend?  How can environmental inequity be measured?  And, how do environmental problems reflect and exacerbate social inequities? 
    • Many courses across our curriculum feature real-world projects that focus on bringing meaningful change to disadvantaged communities.
    • In courses across our curriculum, as well as throughout our extra-curricular activities, we intentionally invite diverse guest lecturers. 

Goal 4 | Actively engage with and support JEDI efforts with allied professions

Actions Taken
  • The CAP Advisory Board expanded to increase the diversity of thought, culture, and perspective to embolden the future of CAP. 
  • Landscape Architecture Department
    • Design/build studios (primarily Learning Landscapes with Prof. Lois Brink) that allow students to partner with local licensed practitioners to help produce construction documents and install (build) a learning garden. Students calculate quantities, order materials, and plants, and then measure, cut, paint, and/or install various pieces on site. The success of these projects and the positive feedback we receive from students allow us to offer continued design-build opportunities. It is our goal to offer at least one design-build opportunity every year. 
    • Design Build Community Projects at Schools – Peak in Wheat Ridge and the 2 schools in Aurora 
    • The Landscape Architecture Department has successfully reached out to professional firms to support our students with dedicated JEDI scholarship funds. 
  • Architecture Department 
    • Actively solicit firms with greater diversity, in terms of employee demographics, work types, sizes, locations, and clientele to participate in the annual career fair and sponsor internships. 
  • Urban and Regional Planning Department
    • Two full-time MURP faculty members are on the Colorado APA EDI committee. In 2022, we surveyed professionals across the state about EDI in their workplaces. At the state APA conference in September 2022, we are presenting the survey results, and are hosting a roundtable session entitled, “Investigating Ways Forward for Better EDI Outcomes in the Planning Profession.” 

Goal 5 | Ensure that our facilities and technology are accessible to and supportive of all people

Actions Taken
  • The CU Denver Building's First Floor Lobby is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. MT and is closed on Sundays. For CAP students with activated badges, the building hours are 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. MT every day. Faculty and staff with activated access have 24-hour building access every day of the week.
  • In 2022, the water fountains throughout the building were made ADA-compliant units, and a comfortable, private lactation room was purpose-built on the third floor of the CAP building. There is an ADA-accessible restroom on each floor of the CAP building, and the main lobby entrance has power-assisted doors. 
  • In June 2021, CAP substantially upgraded the Wi-FI in the CU Building, informed by input from building users who indicated areas of poor Wi-Fi access by placing red dot stickers on floor plans posted throughout the building.
    Students and faculty can access the computer lab and printers when the building is open (6 a.m. – 1 a.m., 7 days a week), and 24/7 from remote locations using a VPN option. PaperCut (remote printing software) provides students access to plotters 24/7; prints can be collected at 6 am.. when the building opens
  • Students and faculty have free access to software from their own computers and in the labs including AutoDesk (AutoCAD, Revit, 3DS Max), Adobe Creative Suite (Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, Dreamweaver), SketchUp Pro, and ArcGIS Pro. 
    CAP’s Visual Resources Center (VRC) boasts two dedicated photography rooms, with paper and cloth backdrops, tripods, three professional flash units, and a variety of light modifiers (umbrellas, softboxes, snoots, honeycomb grids) in each room. There is also one VR station with access to Rhino/Revit/Sketchup modeling in VR space, Google Earth, and 3-D VR sketching in Gravity Sketch and Google’s Tilt Brush.  
  • Students have access to image collections such as Artstor, with over 3 million images from top museums, archives, scholars, and artists, all rights-cleared for education and research; a “Shared Shelf” of approximately 50k CAP images on ArtStor; and access to the Archivision base collection and expansion modules 1-9 (approximately 70.6k images). 
  • There is equipment that may be checked out by students and faculty, including DSLR, mirrorless, and “action” cameras (GoPros); camcorders, voice recorders, tripods, phone/tablet adapters for tripods, and boom poles. Additionally, the Visual Resource Center manager is FAA-licensed to fly the CAP-owned DJI Phantom 4+ Pro drone for aerial photography and video in support of teaching, learning, and research. 
  • CAP currently has 10 laptops available for students to check out for up to a semester, and the college is in the process of procuring 5 more. 
  • The Auraria campus library provides free digital library resources (e.g., journal articles, ebooks, media) through WorldCat and Docuseek2, as well as access to both digital and hardcopy items through the inter-library loan (ILLiad).
    content and educational resources. 

Goal 6 | Hold ourselves accountable for advancing JEDI

Actions Taken
  • CAP has adjusted communication approaches regarding important career development services and events to reach more students, through channels they find more accessible, like direct conversation, video, text, and social media.    
  • CAP launched a new JEDI website, listing goals, funding raised, campus and community resources, and updates on work done. 
  • We have analyzed the data from the CWC survey and have initiated processes to address the low level of respect that staff feel from faculty in particular. 
  • Architecture Department 
    • Workshops and training on unconscious bias and inclusive pedagogy for faculty have occurred in the past couple of years. 
    • All undergraduate and graduate students have unconscious bias and intercultural competency training through studio courses each semester. 
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