AIA partners with University of California Hastings to study diversity in architecture profession

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William Bates

WASHINGTON– The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is partnering with the University of California Hastings College of the Law to study workplace culture in the architecture profession.

“It is up to our generation to lay the foundation for positive change,” said AIA 2019 President William Bates, FAIA. “We must do better at drawing upon the talent, creativity, and ingenuity of everyone in our society, without preference for gender, race or zip code. By partnering with institutions like Hastings, we’re able to develop programs that will help us make these meaningful improvements in our profession. ”

Through the partnership, Hastings will conduct an independent study that explores race and gender issues in the architecture profession. Information from the study will be used to advance AIA’s programs focused on improving equity, diversity and inclusion in the profession.

“This provides an important opportunity to build on forty years of racial and gender bias research,” said Joan Williams, Founding Director of the Center for WorkLife Law at University of California Hastings. “The findings will help us to develop a stronger understanding of how bias is impacting the daily experiences of architects.”

AIA has been using research-based strategies to develop programs that address disproportionate demographics in the profession. In 2017, AIA’s Equity in Architecture Commission released results of its research, which formulated recommendations for expanding and strengthening AIA’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion.

As part of those recommendations, AIA worked with the University of Washington and University of Minnesota to develop the “Guides for Equitable Practice.”  AIA sponsored the development of the guides to help educate architects and firms on equity, diversity and inclusion best practices and to provide strategies for incorporating the values in firm culture. Six chapters of guides are available online. Additional chapters will be released later this year.

AIA will share information from the University of California Hastings study later this year. Visit AIA’s website to learn more about the Institute’s commitment to broadening equity, diversity, and inclusion to create a stronger profession.