NCARB’s Updated Policy on Diversity and Inclusion

NCARB is committed to advancing EDI in the architecture profession through its work as a regulatory organization.

Earlier this year, NCARB’s Diversity Collaborative Task Force was charged with reviewing the Board of Directors' “Policy on Diversity and Inclusion,” which was last amended in 2014. The collaborative recommended updating the policy to better reflect NCARB’s holistic approach to ensuring equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) at all levels—including committee volunteers, licensing board members, and the national Board. Prior to the organization’s 2021 Annual Business Meeting, the Board of Directors took action to finalize and approve the updated policy.

Read NCARB’s Policy on Diversity and Inclusion

The updated policy identifies new and ongoing focus areas, including:

  • Identifying and dismantling inequities within NCARB’s programs, policies, and systems
  • Committing resources to expand diversity at all leadership levels
  • Advocating for EDI initiatives that impact NCARB’s ability to fulfill its mission
  • Practicing and encouraging transparency
  • Partnering with organizations committed to EDI efforts

NCARB’s EDI Efforts

To effectively protect the public’s health, safety, and welfare, architecture professionals must reflect, understand, and respect the communities they serve. NCARB continues to provide EDI-related data to the profession and regulatory community, and is currently partnering with the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) on a multi-year assessment of licensure attrition. The commitment to advancing EDI efforts extends not only to NCARB’s impact on the licensure process, but to its corporate voice and internal staff.

NCARB is proud to have 120 employees from greatly diverse backgrounds who have spearheaded several EDI-related initiatives, such as the Fairness in Licensure initiative to assess unconscious bias in program design and implementation; a compensation audit to address equitable pay; a staff-led team to identify areas of opportunity and growth regarding inclusive and equitable workplace culture; and the promotion of DC-area community service volunteer opportunities.

In recent years, NCARB leaders have also committed to encouraging greater diversity in the Council’s own volunteer community. In 2018, the Diversity Collaborative was empowered to research and recommend strategies to increase the diversity of NCARB’s governance. The path to NCARB leadership—and eventually the Board of Directors—starts when a governor or other appointing authority selects someone to serve on a licensing board. To that end, NCARB is actively partnering with NOMA and American Institute of Architects (AIA) state chapters to identify a more diverse pool of potential appointees to licensing boards. Additionally, NCARB's volunteer committees—which shape national licensure programs and standards—are composed of a diverse pool of licensing board members, NCARB Record holders, and individuals from related organizations.

Architects and educators are invited to learn more about open positions on licensing boards, as well as other opportunities to improve diversity within NCARB’s volunteer committees. NCARB will continue to provide the architecture community with regular updates on the organization’s progress on advancing EDI in the architecture profession.