A forum, a workshop and a number of special exhibits were staged this fall to usher in the Texas A&M College of Architecture's “Year of Diversity” and more events, arranged by the college’s diversity council, are in the works.
Diversity activities began in late August, with a workshop for college staff aimed at developing cross-cultural sensitivity in the workplace. Particia Larke, professor of teaching, learning and culture at Texas A&M, told participants how cultural understanding, communication and commitment to diversity can help create a comfortable workplace for people from all walks of life.
Staffers also took a quiz identifying their cross-cultural strengths and weaknesses, and discussed them in peer groups.
A standing-room-only crowd attended the Aug. 29 “Year of Diversity” kickoff event in the college's Wright Gallery where Karan Watson, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, discussed university’s commitment to diversity and its importance.
Others speakers at the inaugural event included Christine Stanley, vice-president for diversity, Kenita Rogers, associate dean for professional programs, veterinary medicine and biomedical sciences, Jorge Vanegas, dean of the College of Architecture, and Cecilia Giusti, the college’s associate dean for outreach and diversity and head of the diversity council.
An Oct. 12 diversity event punctuating the college's Hispanic Heritage Month observance, featured a panel of Hispanic former students discussing their own educational and professional journeys. Panel members included:
· Tony Cisneros ‘77, a former Master of Landscape Architecture student, retired after a career heading parks and recreation departments in College Station, Bryan, Mesquite and Corpus Christi;
· Lilia Gonzales ’94, a former Master of Architecture student who is the Texas A&M University architect, and
· Jesus “Chuy” Hinojosa ’58, a former Bachelor of Architecture student and professor emeritus of landscape architecture and urban planning at Texas A&M.
Exhibits commemorating Hispanic Heritage month, Sept. 15 – Oct. 15, were displayed in the Langford B Exhibit Hall an on video kiosk displays throughout the college.
Posters and kiosk displays highlighted the accomplishment of notable Hispanics including Henry Cisneros ’68, a former Master of Urban and Regional Planning student, Santiago Calatrava, a world-renowned architect, and film director Robert Rodriguez. A photo exhibit featuring the Mexican folk art collection of regents professor of architecture John Fairey remains on display in the exhibit hall.
The college was also among the sponsors of Texas A&M University's Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations, including the keynote address by actor and Latino activist Edward James Olmos.
Upcoming Year of Diversity activities at the college include a survey to determine diversity-related perceptions of college students, faculty and staff, and a workshop to help faculty better manage classes with a diverse student population.
T-shirts and tumblers with the distinctive “Year of Diversity” logo are available for $10 and $5 each, respectively, at the college’s business office on the second floor of Langford A.