Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiative

As an academic entity, the College of Architecture and Urban Studies is identified with insightful planning, place-making, community, creative design, and visual and construction arts. Through these physical and visual arts, we put into play the concepts and applications that encourage, build, and embrace the multi-cultural diversity of our world.

Members of our educational community have been working hard to address prominent issues in our society. According to strategic plan surveys, issues related to equity and inclusion are a top priority for us moving forward. As part of the ongoing efforts to formalize the diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in the College, an Advisory Committee has been created with representation from faculty, staff and students across CAUS.

This important group is just one part of a larger goal across the university towards a more responsible and accountable educational atmosphere. The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) Advisory Committee for Students, Staff, and Faculty will be a thought-partner to foster open and transparent communication with college senior leadership, working to promote and make progress on strategic priorities related to diversity, equity and inclusion. The committee will also promote connections and alignment of needs, priorities and goals of students, staff and faculty across the college, stressing the importance of, and the college’s collective commitment to, this work.


We are in the midst of radical social change: a global pandemic, a national social justice crisis, and environmental and climate shifts.

Now, more than ever, we must address racism, economic inequality, and bias and discrimination based on identity.

Now, more than ever, we need the innovation and creativity of diverse teams to solve global problems.

Now, more than ever, we must reimagine how we identify, develop, and value talent.

Now, more than ever, we must create more equitable opportunity and access to education.

Now, more than ever, diversity, equity, and inclusion must guide our decisions.

Now, more than ever, we need to create a more just and inclusive society.

The InclusiveVT Difference can make a difference.

Read more here.


DEI Definitions

Diversity: The individual differences and group/social differences that can be engaged in the service of learning and working together.

Equity: An organizational expectation and an individual mindset to ensure that everyone has the resources and opportunities they need to succeed in every stage of education and career development, while at the same time identifying and eliminating barriers that have prevented the full participation of marginalized groups.

Inclusion: The act of creating environments in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported and valued as a fully participating member. An inclusive and welcoming climate embraces differences and offers respect in words and actions for all people. Inclusion integrates the fact of diversity and embeds it into the core academic mission and institutional functioning.


College Statement on January 6 attacks in Washington, DC

Dear CAUS colleagues,

The storming and desecration of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6 by a violent mob represents an attack on one of our most cherished institutions of democracy. Democracy is a form of government that allows for peaceful protest and wondering aloud about the direction of the country but disavows the undermining of a peaceful transition of power or disfranchising the popular vote by an angry crowd. The attempt to prevent our elected representatives from certifying the legal results of a national election by resorting to mayhem and violence was without justification and propelled by regrettable misinformation articulated by politicians who should know better. These scenes and events are deeply troubling in that they have provided Americans a glimpse of the possibility of the end of democracy.

As academics, we the undersigned wish to reaffirm the value of democracy, and the importance of knowledge and truth in establishing and preserving it. The generation of knowledge and the pursuit of truth are fundamental to the continuing pursuit of a free, peaceful and just society. Art, architecture, policy and construction are ways to know and understand our world so that we can build it better. At CAUS, we are committed to being an academic institution that uses the knowledge and skills specific to our disciplines to encourage the development of a critically aware, socially just, and responsible citizenry. We also pledge that we stand against injustice and violence in our daily practice and believe that all Hokies can and should do the same.

Richard Blythe, Dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies

Aaron Betsky, Director of the School of Architecture + Design

Mehrzad Boroujerdi, Director of the School of Public and International Affairs

Brian Kleiner, Director of the Myers-Lawson School of Construction

Ann-Marie Knoblauch, Interim Director of the School of Visual Arts

CAUS Diversity Committee Events Archive

March 19th – The Violent, Beautiful Process of Trailblazing

Tiffany Hosey, BuilDATAnalytics Founder and CEO

February 13th – 10 Things You Need to Know in Life While on Your Leadership Journey

R. Corey Clayborne, Executive Vice President AIA Virginia

January 23 – Black History Month

Bill Gaskins, Maryland Institute College of Art

November 13 – Migration

Intersections: Cross-disciplinary conversations about Social Justice and the Environment

Panel: Nov 13, 4-5pm Art+Architecture Library, Cowgill Hall 100

September 8-13 – Cinema Reset: SOVA x NOLA

Reception: September 11, 4-5pm Cowgill Hall Lobby


Feb 14, 2019 – Ecologies of Memory

Sarah Zewde, Landscape Architect + Urbanist

Jan 24, 2019 – Desire Lines: On Blackness + Possibility in a Green World

Carolyn Finney

Event Photos

October 10, 2018 – Privilege

Intersections: Cross disciplinary conversations about social injustice and the built environment.

Sept 10-14, 2018 – Microaggressions

Microaggressions: A CAUS Diversity Initiative Exhibition


Feb 14, 2018 – Kofi Boone

Towards a Social Resilience

January 25, 2018 – Julian Bonder

Memory-Works: Public Spaces, Monuments & Memorials

For more information on Julian Bonder, check out his bio here.

November 8th, 2017 – partner with University Libraries – Sam Winn


Art + Architecture Library, panel discussion

Focus: Identity

Moderator: Sam Winn, University Libraries Collections Archivist

Panel: Emily Satterwhite, associate professor, Religion and Culture

Ashley Shew, assistant professor, Science and Technology in Society

Jim Bassett, associate professor, Architecture

October 11th, 2017


Odd Fellows Hall, exhibition and virtual tour

Tour Guides: Hilary Harrison, director of history, Blacksburg Museum and Cultural Foundation

Bill Green, professor, Industrial Design


Kathryn Clarke Albright, Associate Dean + Diversity Committee Chair

Virginia Tech’s Principles of Community

Virginia Tech is a public land-grant university, committed to teaching and learning, research, and outreach to the Commonwealth of Virginia, the nation, and the world community. Learning from the experiences that shape Virginia Tech as an institution, we acknowledge those aspects of our legacy that reflected bias and exclusion. Therefore, we adopt and practice the following principles as fundamental to our on-going efforts to increase access and inclusion and to create a community that nurtures learning and growth for all of its members:

  • We affirm the inherent dignity and value of every person and strive to maintain a climate for work and learning based on mutual respect and understanding.
  • We affirm the right of each person to express thoughts and opinions freely. We encourage open expression within a climate of civility, sensitivity, and mutual respect.
  • We affirm the value of human diversity because it enriches our lives and the University. We acknowledge and respect our differences while affirming our common humanity.
  • We reject all forms of prejudice and discrimination, including those based on age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, and veteran status. We take individual and collective responsibility for helping to eliminate bias and discrimination and for increasing our own understanding of these issues through education, training, and interaction with others.
  • We pledge our collective commitment to these principles in the spirit of the Virginia Tech motto of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).


Composed of student ambassadors and faculty from programs across the college. Questions, concerns or suggestions? Email: causdei@vt.edu


Cecily Rodriguez


  • Kathryn Albright
  • Rob Jacks
  • Vern Ferguson
  • Cathyrn Copper
  • Paul Emmons
  • Susan Roseborough
  • Faith Patton
  • Tracey Drowne
  • Natalia Smith
  • Paola Zellner Bassett
  • Elif Tural
  • Nate Heavers
  • Josh Iorio
  • Abiola Akanmu
  • Meredith Drum
  • Nate King
  • Theo Lim
  • David Bieri


  • Briana Traut, A+D
  • Johnson Olayiwola, MLSoC
  • Ninoska Bertran-Turcios, SOVA
  • Zuleka Woods, SPIA