The mission of the Yale National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (Yale NOMAS) is to champion diversity within the design profession by promoting the academic excellence, community engagement and professional development of its student members. Our chapter strives to foster greater inclusion, unity and representation of a plurality of voices at the YSoA by creating spaces and opportunities for peer-to-peer and alumni mentorship, increased cultural exposure to and engagement with a more variegated architectural discourse and meaningful partnerships with the New Haven community.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at YSoA
The Visibility Project is an initiative by concerned students and alumni of the Yale School of Architecture to analyze the deeply entrenched prejudices and biases that exist within architectural institutions, beginning with our own. By highlighting inequities in our learning environment, we hope the Visibility Project will help promote introspection, create actionable goals, and facilitate the continuing dialogue between the administration and the students. Our efforts to engage with these inequalities will help us produce an honest reflection of where the school is and where we could be.
Equality in Design is a student led organization that seeks to promote diverse voices in the design community. EID’s role strives to look beyond YSoA, to ensure openness and a will to seek multiple perspectives in design. We seek to provide a platform that values the plurality of ideas and conversations through events, partnerships, talks etc associated or indirectly related to design.
Paprika? is a new platform—a living repository that responds to and holds space for the vital ephemera emerging in and around the rapidly expanding and shifting currents of public health, social justice, and our student community’s experience. It is crucial not to isolate such conversations in a “genre” of discourse. The mission of Paprika? is to foreground and fully integrate these in a constellation of new forms of content generated by and for the community. Paprika? is academic only when necessary and is available to a broad audience on a new dedicated bulletin website and weekly newsletter that serve as a rolling, ad hoc house to convene on discontinuity, precarity and justice.
Our institutions are receiving yet another unearned privilege—the privilege to be shaken. The students of the Masters of Environmental Design program are joining forces with activists, educators and students in and beyond the academy to further an evolving set of conversations about the destructive whiteness of our institutional and professional practices. We want to begin the difficult work of UNLEARNING WHITENESS and developing alternative models of spatial practice in community with one another, no matter how daunting this undertaking may seem.
Of the many resources currently circulating, those collected on the MED page are a small and incomplete subset. They are offered only as an entry point to a constellation of evidence and action. This page will also host updates about upcoming MED-sponsored events during the 2020-21 academic year. Many of these events will be crafted in collaboration with allied organizations and friends here at YSoA. In addition, we invite like-minded students in research-centered programs beyond Yale to engage with us and coordinate our efforts in the broader work against racism and oppression. Feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com with introductions, inquiries and ideas. We are looking for allies far and wide.
Action Items for the YSoA Curriculum
Generated by the school administration in consultation with EID and NOMAS.
- The School is creating an open platform for sharing content, guest lectures, and resources across courses with a school-wide effort to examine issues of race across the curriculum
- The School will add seminars that further diversify content and faculty
- The School will cross-list and/or identify courses across Yale University from other departments and schools. Where appropriate these courses may fulfill requirements towards graduation
- Core studio faculty will clearly communicate the specific intent of each studio, and the pedagogical reasons why exercises are framed as they are, and the studio’s role in the core sequence, so that omissions of issues do not undermine their importance
- Core design studios will consciously work with a diverse range of precedents and faculty will be respectful and encouraging of the diversity of approaches a diverse student body can bring to design
- Core studio coordinators will ensure that all juries are diverse and respectful, and will encourage multi-disciplinary perspectives
- Embed a multi-disciplinary approach and teaching team in the urban design studio to examine and re-think systemic urban policies and structures and the inequities they engender
- The School will work with the Building Project team to more actively engage client, neighborhood, and an understanding of New Haven as a city as well as its history and social dynamics, into the course curriculum
- The School will provide resources to faculty of the required Modern Architecture and Architectural Theory courses to expand and diversify discourse through new content and guest lectures
- The School will offer a pilot course, taught in partnership with Morgan State University to create dialogue between students across institutions
- The School will increase courses in urban studies and policy, through new YSOA offerings and partnerships with other schools at Yale University
- The School will work with faculty to reconceive its required history/theory sequence, de-centering its focus on European and American architecture and thinking, with the goal of undoing the acceptance of an architectural canon
- The School will increase courses that de-center the focus on Europe/America and engage the richness of diverse histories and approaches to architectural design and thought
- The School will offer dedicated courses to social justice issues in architecture
- The School will continue to increase diversity of Core Studio faculty
- The School will continue the effort to create multi-disciplinary teaching teams in specific Core Studios and the Building Project
- The School will develop diverse visualization courses, taught by diverse faculty, to explore new frontiers in architectural representation
- The School will continue to develop institutional partnerships to enrich and expand the discourse around architecture, urbanisms, and built environment social justice
Scholarship and Financial Aid
- The School sees increased scholarship support and financial aid as an essential component for ensuring equitable access to architecture education. Since 2016, annual financial aid awards have increased from $3.6 million to $5 million as the result of generous donations to the school. In the 2019-2020 academic year, 84% of the student body received scholarship support. The school is committed raising $75 million in scholarship endowment to fully support demonstrated need
- The School will grow funding for student groups including NOMAS and EID and increase targeted recruitment efforts by creating a new annual fund donation option dedicated to Diversity | Equity | Inclusion