The college received the Inspiring Programs STEM Award.
Texas Tech University at El Paso's College of Architecture (CoA) was named today (Aug. 17) a recipient of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine's 2020 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award. The award is presented to people and programs that encourage and inspire a new generation of young people to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and math.
"Our diverse faculty engages our students directly through tailored curriculum," said Ersela Kripa, acting director of CoA El Paso and an assistant professor. "Our design studios focus on regional and binational issues of migration, cultural exchange, ecology and the ways in which urban and architectural design impacts these issues. The studio curriculum is designed to empower our underrepresented students with the design and representation tools to re-imagine their contested context and to celebrate their diverse cultural heritage.
"As some of our students have grown up on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, their ability to articulate the binational, bicultural and bilingual issues becomes important for their ownership of the narrative. Our goal is to educate tomorrow's leaders and empower our students to practice architecture in their own context and on their own terms."
INSIGHT Into Diversity created the Inspiring Programs in STEM Award to recognize colleges, universities and organizations that do their part to improve access to STEM fields for students from underrepresented groups through programming.
"We are very proud that the Texas Tech University College of Architecture Program in El Paso is being recognized by the one of the leading voices for diversity and inclusion in higher education," said Carol A. Sumner, chief diversity officer and vice president of Texas Tech's Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. "With the continuing growth of the Hispanic population of Texas, especially in south and west Texas, we believe it is imperative underrepresented student populations are provided access to and support through their higher education journey. This is a particularly special program given the underrepresentation of Hispanics and other people of color in the field of architecture, the foundation of which is rooted in STEM.
"As a recently designated Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), Texas Tech is committed to providing educational opportunities for our underserved and underrepresented student populations, and the El Paso program is an excellent example of Texas Tech's innovative approach to promoting STEM education among our communities of color."
James Williamson, dean of the CoA, noted the importance of representation in the architecture field.
"The Inspiring Programs in STEM Award the College of Architecture's El Paso program has received is an extraordinary achievement and marks a milestone in a 10-year effort to advance the needs and the leadership opportunities of a significantly underrepresented population within architecture," Williamson said. "The award is the result of the work of many, their dedication to the advancement of our students and the roles they will play in changing perceptions of architecture and its broader relevance to society. This award also demonstrates the CoA's commitment as a highly ranked HSI and Texas Tech's recognition as a nationally recognized HSI."