Parsons The New School for Design values its diverse students, faculty, and staff, who reflect the communities where they live, interact, and create. Recognizing that design holds great potential as a tool for social change, Parsons works to equip tomorrow's designers with a deep understanding of the social, economic, and political forces that shape our ideas as well as our studio practices.
In 2007, Parsons launched a comprehensive diversity initiative. More than a superficial acknowledgment of human difference, the Parsons Diversity Initiative takes concrete steps to construct a socially engaged art and design institution, where students address problems extending across race, class, gender, and culture.
The Parsons community comprises many lived experiences, social identities, cultures, intellectual approaches, and beliefs—all of which are deeply rooted and perpetually in flux. Parsons believes we must understand the historical, political, and social contexts in which teaching and learning take place in order to embrace diversity and prepare students to create innovative and thoughtful solutions to present inequalities and injustices. The Diversity Initiative seeks the contributions and leadership of people who have been historically underrepresented in higher education, particularly in the United States, so that Parsons can become the community the initiative seeks to create.
The Diversity Initiative is organized around three broad objectives:
Parsons Scholars Program. Through a variety of scholarships and free events, Parsons strives to make its physical and human resources available to a diverse student body. Programs such as the Parsons Scholars Program, which provides scholarship opportunities for students attending New York City public schools to attend Parsons' rigorous Pre-College Academy, exemplify the school's commitment to exploring innovative, accessible educational models.
University Working Group on Student Support for Students of Color and LGBTQ Students. In fall 2009, a group was created by the university provost to survey the programs, services, and support structures currently in place at The New School that serve the needs of students of color and LGBTQ students. The Parsons Diversity Initiative played an instrumental role in the execution of the group's study and the subsequent development of their report, which included recommendations on promising co‐curricular models and structures that could be modified and strengthened to better serve the needs of students throughout the university.
To learn more about the Parsons Diversity Initiative or to share your comments and ideas, please contact the Diversity Initiative office by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 212.229.8950 x4223.