04/20/20 Students and Faculty Granted Inaugural DEI Awards


In an effort to celebrate and further encourage its diversity, equity and inclusion practices, the USC School of Architecture is pleased to announce its inaugural DEI Awards winners. The DEI Awards recognize faculty and students within the USC School of Architecture who lead by example, transforming and expanding their pedagogical practices to better address issues of diversity, equity and inclusion within our community each year. Through their submissions, the work of each awardee demonstrated an ethos of increasing our field’s diversity in terms of people, processes, and projects. Their efforts are reflective of the fact that inequities based on race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, religion, sex, ability, and access have been traditionally stitched into our built environments and structurally embedded in our academic processes, and that we must design our courses and projects to counteract those realities.

“These awards are long overdue,” said Amy Murphy, associate professor and DEI liaison at USC Architecture. “There is so much wonderful, thoughtful and transformative work being done each year by our faculty and students. I am glad our community can now recognize the best of these efforts each year.”

One faculty member and three students won awards in this inaugural year. 

The award for "Outstanding Faculty Achievement in Engaging DEI Issues” went to assistant professor Faiza Moatasim for her “Seeking Social Justice” work in three of her courses: ARCH 561: Urbanism Themes and Case Studies, ARCH 599: Slums and the City, and ARCH 414: Architecture of Occupation and Resistance. Moatasim’s work was selected for its sincere engagement with understanding social hierarchies in multiple courses she is teaching at USC. Her efforts allow students to see how these hierarchies and their subsequent exclusions are manifested in both our official built landscapes, as well as our many marginal or undesigned landscapes.

Three students received awards for "Outstanding Student Achievement in Engaging DEI Issues.” M.Arch students Sai Liang and Melissa Gavidia won for their spring 2019 project, “Tapered Tiers,” from their ARCH 605b course (faculty: John Southern). The award committee noted that this project attempted to activate means of inclusion at a range of scales, from urban to architectural—and to do so both formally and programmatically.

M.Arch student Chizoba Ibeanusi also was awarded for her fall 2019 project, “Accommodate me, accommodate we,” from her ARCH 505a course (faculty: Doris Sung). Her project was chosen for its intent to produce a space that transcends a single idea of the body while exploring what defines engagement and ability.

Submissions were reviewed by a jury comprised of USC Architecture faculty and staff members Val Augustin, Aroussiak Gabrielian, Diane Ghirardo, Esther Margulies, Amy Murphy, Hadrian Predock, Jennifer Park, and Jose Sanchez. Each student received a $250 prize for their winning project, and the winning faculty submission received a $500 prize. 

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