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student presenting at fall 2019 doctor of design symposium


The creative energy of the college truly comes to life through our differences, and we are committed to showcasing a variety of design experiences.

At the College of Design, we aspire to a diverse design community that enhances the educational experience of all students. Gradually over the past decade, the college has matured into a community diverse in culture, race, gender, and personal interests. 

Diversity Efforts within the College of Design

To support diversity at the undergraduate level, the College’s Design Lab is educating K-12 students about design as a career opportunity to improve the diversity of the applicant pool. Design Lab is preparing videos and online content to reach underserved students. After school programs are held at underserved schools.

To support diversity in our graduate population, directors of our graduate programs are actively recruiting diverse candidates for graduate programs and taking steps to remove barriers to admission, including changes to CIP codes and by providing financial support.

Additionally, the college utilizes diversity enhancement recruiting fellowships offered by the graduate school to attract and retain students. Through open houses and partnerships with HBCUs, our graduate program leaders reach out to potential candidates to encourage applications to the College of Design.

Activities for 2020-2021:

We are approaching this renewed commitment to fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment within our college from several fronts.

Design Our Community Task Force:

The Design Our Community task force, led by Associate Dean Sharon Joines, has been charged to address racism, diversity, equity, and inclusivity in the college and its impact on society through design. Dr. Joines will create a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) sub-committee with representation from College of Design students, faculty, staff, alumni, and key stakeholders. Internal messages have gone to faculty and staff, asking for self-nominations for this group. Additional messages to students and alumni are forthcoming.

Overview of activities from the past two years:

This taskforce was started 2 years ago to address the challenges faculty and staff felt were being faced by the college. Members of the taskforce assessed the current situation (what was good and what needed to be changed). We engaged in idea generation and made recommendations for changes. After grouping into common themes, we voted to establish priorities. Then we worked our priorities. As a result of our work, many positive improvements and investments in the college and its community members have been made (a few examples include creating third spaces, addressing acoustics and lighting in several studios and critique spaces, and creating a few policies).

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Subcommittee:

After addressing so many of our goals, Dean Hoversten has asked the Design our Community taskforce to address racism, diversity, equity and inclusivity in our college and the impact on society through design. A draft report outlining the Dean’s request and our potential path forward is captured in a document College of Design’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Report.

The first few steps include:

  1. Creating a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) sub-committee (within the Design our Community, DOC, task force) with broad representation from students, faculty, staff, and alumni groups. [Summer 2020]
  2. The DOC-DEI will work to review the culture and climate of the college in order to identify strengths and weaknesses; establish priorities to support longtime change; identify gaps in our policies and procedures, and delineate action items to address shortcomings in our culture. [Fall 2020]
  3. The committee will be engaged to create an actionable plan; identify metrics to track progress, and identify related resources that the college may utilize in the near future to effect meaningful change. [Fall 2020]

Membership in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Subcommittee:

To form the membership of the DOC-DEI, the college asked for self-nominations from faculty, staff, and students. Students self-nominated to their department head, who then made a final selection based on 1) their understanding of the CoD community/their discipline/profession; 2) expression of their commitment to positive change regarding racism, inclusivity, and diversity; and 3) expressed ability to engage in remote collaborative work.

Members of the DOC-DEI will be asked to complete NCSU’s Diversity training, engage with our external consultant and contribute to monthly working meetings. The College of Design’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Draft Report suggests the following work products from the DOC-DEI:

  • The DEI will draft a Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – The draft will be reviewed by the college community
  • The statement of commitment will be added to our strategic plan.
  • Set clear and measurable goals and timelines. The College of Design’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Draft Report also highlights work to be done within the departments, by college community members and by college leadership.

Collaborate with an External Consultant:

We will engage an external consultant to review the culture and climate of the college in order to identify strengths and weaknesses; establish priorities to support longtime change; identify gaps in our policies and procedures; and delineate action items to address shortcomings in our culture. Several candidates have been identified, and a vetting process with input from members of the taskforce is underway.

Offer Listening Sessions:

We offered a listening session for students and recent graduates to facilitate open and honest dialogue within our college on August 5, 2020. Questions that were raised as part of the listening session are addressed here. Additional listening sessions for faculty, staff, and alumni will be held during the fall semester. Please stay tuned for those dates.

Overall Goals:

Each college unit will be asked to establish goals and diversity plans to help us move forward together. You can read more about our expected deliverables in a draft version of the College of Design’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Report.

NC State University’s Commitment to Diversity

Diversity is an inclusive community of people with varied human characteristics, ideas, and world-views and whose interactions both benefit and challenge each other to grow while making the community better.

Such a community will:

  • Enhance access, attract and retain a diverse population and promote equity and equal opportunity.
  • Encourage interaction among diverse people to enrich the educational experience, promote personal growth and enhance the community.
  • Foster mutual respect, value differences and promote cross-cultural understanding.
  • Prepare leaders to live and work in a competitive global community.

By definition, NC State reflects diversity because it comprises a community of individuals from varied backgrounds and demographic categories; it encourages, accepts, and values a diversity of people and ideas; it seeks to promote an environment where equity, respect and understanding represent the norm in the campus climate and; it seeks to prepare entrepreneurs who are effective citizens of a global community. We will know that we have achieved authentic diversity when all four of these objectives are fully realized.

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