Monday Minute, February 27, 2012: Quality and Diversity

Tom for Blog 2.jpgDear Colleagues,

Last week, the Department of Landscape Architecture came through an accreditation review with flying colors. The accreditation team said that the professional degree in landscape architecture - the MLA - is very strong pedagogically, very popular with its students, and exceptionally clear in its focus on art, ecology, and community. The team also commended the landscape architecture faculty for integrating their teaching with their research and outreach activities to an extent rarely found in this field. Congratulations to our LA colleagues for a job well done!

The one area of concern that the team raised applies, in many respects, to the entire college: the relative lack of diversity of our student body. At the recruitment events for prospective students this last week and weekend, we emphasized the importance of diversity among our students and the value we place on it. But we need to do more. We should continue to do what we can to attract as diverse a student body as possible through our development work, our admissions process, and with our financial aid packages.

I know that this remains a controversial topic, evident in the current case before the Supreme Court (ironically called Fisher vs University of Texas). Whatever the outcome of this case, we have a responsibility to ensure the diversity of our students, if for no other reason than to prepare all of our students to work more effectively in an increasingly global economy.