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Our EDI Approach

EDI and the Built Environment Professions

The College of Built Environments is committed to addressing systemic racism and all forms of oppression and exclusion. We are dedicating ourselves as a community to engaging in active anti-racist and anti-oppressive practices that will enable new foundations from which to think through, engage with, and imagine the future of the built environment both more equitably and with more joy.

As a college focusing on the creation of the built environment, it is imperative that we acknowledge the role that our disciplines and practices have played in constructing and upholding racial and other inequities in the built environment. We dedicate ourselves to a collective commitment to changing these approaches and intensifying our focus on the advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion across our disciplines and practices together as a community.

The College of Built Environment’s strength lies in the diversity of its programs and positions as well as in the breadth of perspectives, backgrounds, and personal experiences that our students, faculty and staff bring to our work. We will use this strength to explore the full potential of our disciplines and their capacity to create a more just and inclusive world

Intercultural Competency Initiative

CBE launched a college-wide initiative on equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) that specifically fosters intercultural competency across the college. Intercultural competence is the ability to accurately understand and effectively adapt to differences. It reflects the degree to which differences in values, expectations, beliefs, and behaviors are effectively bridged in order to achieve learning, research, and workplace objectives. This approach to EDI has been shown to be one of the most effective ways to achieve EDI goals and has been adopted globally across sectors and higher education institutions.

This initiative is a partnership with the University’s Office of Minority and Diversity and Undergraduate Academic Affairs.  Through this initiative, CBE aims to be a model for achieving University-wide goals on equity and diversity through the cultivation of intercultural competency.

A summary of the initiative and its components appear in the appendix to this report.

The CBE Intercultural Competency Initiative has run parallel with the strategic planning initiative and has had the anticipated benefits. We are expanding our intercultural capacity to engage across disciplines and other boundaries, by using a common framework and tools to create shared vocabulary, meaning and goals. We continue to learn and practice through on-going training and practice acknowledging and engaging differences through discussions such as the Hot Topics.

You can find more information in the videos linked below.


Context for our EDI Work

CBE works in alignment with the overarching framework outlined by the UW Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity and the 2017–2021 UW Diversity Blueprint. The blueprint established six key goals:

  • Cultivate an inclusive campus climate
  • Attract, retain and graduate a diverse and excellent student body
  • Attract and retain a diverse faculty
  • Attract and retain a diverse staff
  • Assess tri-campus diversity needs
  • Improve accountability and transparency.

We also support the University’s commitment to anti-racism articulated in a letter from President Ana Mari Cauce to the UW Black Student Union on September 10, 2020.

EDI Leadership for the College

CBE Diversity Council 

The College Diversity Council is composed of faculty, staff and students from all five departments in our college. The Council is chaired by Laura Barrera and Lynne Manzo. For a full roster of Diversity Council members, click here

Professor Lynne Manzo is also the CBE representative for the UW Diversity Council

Click here for more on the Diversity  Council.

Contact the Diversity Council 

Please reach out to either Lynne Manzo or Laura Barrera with any ideas, questions or concerns related to EDI work at the college. Feel free to contact the Diversity Council at or to reach the co-chairs.