Diversity at Weitzman

Our Commitment to Diversity

The University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design is committed to creating an educational setting in which all students, faculty members, and staff members are valued.

We strive to create an inclusive culture that celebrates difference and is strengthened by contributions from people of all races, religions, countries of origin, genders, ages, sexual orientations, physical abilities, learning differences, and socioeconomic backgrounds. 

We aspire to support and retain a student body, faculty and staff who are representative of the multiple communities and publics with which we collaborate and work. 

A diverse community here enhances our ability to prepare the next generation of artists, architects, landscape architects, planners, and preservationists to become leaders and innovators in a multicultural society.

Diversity Committee

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change we seek.” –President Barack Obama

Shortly after his appointment in the summer of 2016, Dean Steiner formed a Faculty Diversity Work Group (DWG) to advise him on strategies to (1) increase the diversity of the School’s faculty, staff, and student body; (2) promote a more inclusive community; (3) and foster a learning environment that encourages and celebrates difference. In June 2017, the DWG presented the Dean with a report with recommendations to continue these efforts. In September 2017 the Dean convened a formal Diversity Committee with faculty, staff, and student representation to implement recommendations. In October 2017, Associate Director for Faculty Affairs, Karyn Tufarolo, was named the Weitzman School Diversity Coordinator. This position, working closely with all member of the committee, organizes events, coordinates trainings and discussions on diversity-related issues, updates the diversity section of the school’s website, and reports on the Weitzman School’s progress toward goals outlined in the school’s Faculty Diversity Plan. Activities have included: faculty discussions regarding resources within course content and supporting inclusive classrroms, student diversity town halls, students of color meet-n-greeet, events highlighting elective offerings addressing specific topics of diversity, a conversation about gender-inclusivity in the academic environment, implicit bias workshops, a dialogues across difference workshop, discussions on micoraggressions in the workplace, and more.

University Resources


“The diversity of our university must reflect the diversity of the world around it – and the diversity of the world that we want our students to lead.” - Amy Gutmann, President

Student Resources

Faculty Resources

       Articles regarding Inclusive Teaching

Professional Resources

The following professional resources may be useful for those who want to connect with organizations serving the architectural, urban planning, design, landscape architecure, fine arts or preservation professions. Additional links can be submitted to tufarolo@design.upenn.edu.                                                             

African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund is a funding initiative aimed at protecting and restoring African American historic sites and uncovering hidden stories of African Americans connected to historic sites across the nation.

American Institute of Architects (AIA) advocates for the value of architecture and to give architects the resources they need to do their best work.

American Institute of Architects (AIA) Center for Civic Leadership 

American Institute for Architects (AIA) Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

American Institute for Architects (AIA) Guides for Equitable Practice
Guides for understanding and building equity in the architecture profession

American Planning Association (APA) is a professional organization representing the field of urban planning in the United States.

APA Planning and the Black Community Division (PBCD) of the American Planning Association provides a forum for planners, administrators, public officials, students, and other interested individuals to address issues of significance to the black community.

American Institute for Conservation Architecture Specialty Group (ASG) develops and promotes the conservation of immovable cultural property such as buildings, monuments, outdoor sculpture, and related heritage sites.

American Society of Lansdscape Architects (ASLA) advances landscape architecture through advocacy, communication, education, and fellowship. Sustainability has been part of the mission since its founding and is an overarching value that informs the programs and operations.

American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Diversity Summit  brings together a group of experienced and emerging landscape architects who identify as African American or Latinx to develop strategies that address diversity issues in the field.

Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility works for peace, environmental protection, ecological building, social justice, and the development of healthy communities.

Association of Architecture Organizations conducts public programs that serve nonprofit architectural organizations and interested individuals.

College Art Association of America (CAA) promotes the visual arts and their understanding through advocacy, intellectual engagement, and a commitment to the diversity of practices and practitioners.

College Art Association of America (CAA) Committee on Diversity Practices promotes artistic, curatorial, scholarly, and institutional practices that deepen appreciation of political and cultural heterogeneity as educational and professional values. 

National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) exists to champion diversity within the design professions by promoting the excellence, community engagement, and professional development of its members.

National Organization of Minority Architects - Philadelphia Chapter (PHILANOMA) advances the cause, promotes the development, and addresses concerns of minority design professionals.

National Trust for Historic Preservation  protects significant places representing our diverse cultural experience by taking direct action and inspiring broad public support.

National Urban League strives to enable African American and other underserved urban residents to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power and civil rights.

Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) is a nonprofit membership organization that promotes the study, interpretation, and conservation of architecture, design, landscapes, and urbanism worldwide.

Inclusion in Design

Inclusion in Design is a student-led group that seeks to foster an environment in which students of color, marginalized identities, and allies can thrive. (Marginalized identities include: racial, ethnic, sexual minorities, disabled students, international students etc.) They have organized lunchtime presenters, town halls, a student PechaKucha event, and are working on ways to build connection across the Weitzman design community. Please e-mail inclusionindesign@gmail.com for any inquiries. 

Design in Latin America

Design in Latin America is a student-led group created to share the vibrant, diverse, and singular Latin American cultures with students, faculty members, staff, and the general community at the Weitzman School. Their misson is to address Latin American topics to foster a reciprocal cultural exchange within the Weitzman School, and with other Latin American organizations, on campus and beyond; particularly with students, scholars, researchers, and professionals whose work is informed by, and/or contribute to understand, appreciate and enhance Latin American diversity and address the region’s pending challenges. "The term 'Latin America' was created in early-nineteenth-century France to advance a collective 'Latin' identity rooted in culture, and ever since, it has been enriched, reinforced, questioned, and challenged by theoretical and practical assemblies that emphasize cultural, political, historical, and economic aspects of the region," - Patricio del Real

Women in Architecture

Since the fall of 2016, the Penn Women in Architecture group has been actively examining this historically male dominated profession while providing networking and mentorship opportunities to members. The goal is to mobilize a community of designers and thinkers with the purpose of increasing the incidence and visibility of women in architecture. Their hope is to bring awareness to the gender disparity that exists in the profession and empower each other by fostering growth, promoting success, and above all, cultivating the next generation of female leaders in the profession.

Women in Architecture hosted their first symposium on Women in Architecture, [RE]FORM: The Framework, Fallout & Future of Women in Design, in spring of 2017, as well as several other networking and social events. The next year, they presented a symposium titled [RE]ACTION: Empowering the Future Leaders in Design. Organized by students, this full day workshop featured opportunities for attendees to develop skills to take charge of their careers. Topics included negotiating offers, networking for impact, knowing your rights, navigating construction sites, and vocal empowerment - as well as a panel discussion about navigating architecture and entrepreneurship.   


QueerDesign is a student-run group at the Weitzman School, created to build a community of LGBTQ+ designers to support a space of exchange and judgment free collaboration. Aiming to foster discussions about the meaning of diversity and its intersection with design at Penn and beyond, QueerDesign hopes to connect to existing networks of students and professionals. In addition, the organization explores a number of facets of queer culture and history, specifically within the realm of design. At Penn, QueerDesign partners with other groups on campus to curate a variety of social, educational, and professional events.


Urban China Collective

Established in October 2017, the Urban China Collective (UCC) is a student-run group which serves as a platform to foster understanding of China’s urban development through lectures and workshops at Penn. They seek to strengthen the network of scholars, practitioners, and students devoted to studying China’s urbanization across disciplines and institutions both within Penn community and beyond. 

Events 2019-2020

Below are some of the Weitzman School upcoming events in 2019-2020 supporting discussions relating to equality, social justice, and diversity in many forms within our disciplines.

Events are updated at the beginning of the term and additions to this list should be sent to the Weitzman Diversity Coordinator at tufarolo@design.upenn.edu.

Fall 2019

Mimi Hoang and Eric Bunge: Buildings and Almost Buildings (Sept 4, 2019)
nARCHITECTS is a Brooklyn based architecture office led by Principals Mimi Hoang and Eric Bunge. The practice was founded with the goal of addressing contemporary issues in architecture through conceptually driven, socially engaging and technologically innovative work. Their work instigates interactions between buildings, public space, and their dynamically changing contexts. In recent projects such as Carmel Place (New York City’s first micro unit building), the design center A/D/O, the NYS Equal Rights Heritage Center, and the renovation of Chicago's Navy Pier, nARCHITECTS is tackling pressing issues that our cities face – how we live, work and activate public spaces in response to our nation’s changing demographics, housing shortage, evolving workplace technologies and need for equality in the public realm.

Weitzman Students of Color: Meet-n-Greet (Sept 9, 2019)
The Diversity Committee presents a welcome to our students of color with an opportunity to mingle with the Dean and get to know each other. We ask students to RSVP to tufarolo@design.upenn.edu.

Weitzman Admissions at National Organization of Minorty Architects (NOMA) (Oct 18, 2019)
Brooklyn, NY
The National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) mission is to champion diversity within the design professions by promoting the excellence, community engagement, and professional development of its members.

Weitzman Admissions at the California Forum for Diversity in Graduate Education (Oct 27, 2018)
Sonoma State University
We forward to sharing information about our graduate programs.This consortium of public and private colleges and universities is designed particularly to meet the needs of advanced undergraduates and master's candidates who belong to groups that are currently underrepresented in doctoral-level programs.

(tentative: November 5, 2019)
This event will feature both elective options and student groups focusing on diversity, social impact, and interdisciplinary study. Students and faculty will present interdisciplinary elective highlights in a quick engaging way, student groups will showcase diverse activities, and we will have information tables available at a brief reception to discuss resources and opportunities.  Presented by the Diversity Committee, with snacks provided.

City Planning Talk with Ellen Dunham Jones (Nov 7, 2019)
Ellen Dunham Jones, Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at Georgia Tech, will speak about “Retrofitting Suburbia for 21st Century Challenges."

Women [Re]Build: Stories, Polemics, Futures (Nov 11, 2019)
Book LaunchGraduate Architecture is pleased to host a book launch for Women [Re]Build: Stories, Polemics, Futures, edited by Associate Professor Franca Trubiano and Weitzman School alumnae Ramona Adlakha (MArch'18) and Ramune Bartuskait (MArch'18).

Spring 2020

Esra Akcan: Right-to-Heal: Architecture and Transitional Justice (March 18, 2020)
Consider new ways to understand the global movement of architecture and advocate a commitment to new ethics of hospitality and global justice.

Sophie Hochhäusl: Memories of the Resistance: The Defiant Life of a Female Architect, 1938-1945  (April 1, 2020)
Hochhausl's scholarly work centers on modern architecture and urban culture in Austria, Germany, and the United States, with a focus on the history of social movements, environmental history, and women’s and gender studies.

Postdoctoral Fellowships for Academic Diversity

The Weitzman School is pleased to work with the Provost's Office in support of the Penn Postdoctoral Fellowships for Academic Diversity Program. This is a competitive program whose goal is to increase the diversity of the community of scholars devoted to academic research at the University of Pennsylvania. We seek to attract promising researchers and educators from different backgrounds, races, ethnic groups, and other diverse populations whose life experience, research experience and employment background will contribute significantly to their academic missions. We are pleased to currently host Matt Miller as our Postdoctoral Fellow in City and Regional Planning for a three-year term, and to recognize that current lecturer, Akira Drake Rodriguez, joined the Department of City and Regional Planning via this Provost initiative.

Archive of Past Events

Below are some of our past events promoting discussions relating to diversity, equity, and inclusion:

Spring 2019

Fall 2018

Spring 2018

Fall 2017


Dean Steiner sent the following message to the PennDesign community on Monday, March 20, 2017.

Dear PennDesign Community,

Immigration policy affects all of us, and because the stakes are so high, many of us have felt compelled to affirm our commitment to diversity and inclusion publicly. One forum for doing this is the grassroots social media campaign #YouAreWelcomeHere. The campaign has been championed by schools and other organizations across the country as both a pledge to international students considering study in the U.S. and an affirmation of current students’ invaluable contribution to our communities.

I invite you to add your voice to the campaign and send a message of inclusion. PennDesign’s communications staff are distributing #YouAreWelcomeHere signs throughout Meyerson, Morgan, and Addams over the coming days for everyone’s use. PennDesign will also have signs and a photographer at Happy Hour on Friday, March 24, and the Faculty Meeting on Wednesday, April 19. As President Gutmann wrote last month, “It has never been more vital for us to come together, as one community, to find strength in our diversity.”

Fritz Steiner