A Summary of Preservation Education in Relation to Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Social Justice and Some Recommendations

A report by the Equity and Inclusion in Preservation Education Committee of the National Council for Preservation Education, February 2022



This paper suggests how historic preservation educators at the post-secondary level might address issues around diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice in their pedagogical approaches, including curriculum design. The authors of this paper are not aware of any similar papers, to date, on this topic with the exception of Aidoo et al.’s (2020) letter to the National Council for Preservation Education’s (NCPE) leadership, in response to NCPE’s “Open Letter to the National Council for Preservation Education (NCPE) Membership,” upon which this summary is, in part, organized. This paper therefore recommends that changes to preservation education should consider focusing on the following seven areas: 1) Increase the racial and ethnic diversity represented in preservation students and faculty;         2) Recognize and teach how the historic preservation enterprise—especially policy driven work—supports White supremacy; 3) Center the voices of authors with non-dominant racial and ethnic identities in the core curricula of historic preservation degree programs; 4) Teach additional methods in historic preservation degree programs beyond local history/archival research; 5)

Include non-Western approaches and philosophy in preservation curricula; 6) Emphasize soft skills in preservation curricula and center reflexivity in the work of preservation practitioners; and 7) Educate students on the use of the policy analysis to challenge preservation policy. While this paper does not purport to provide definitive answers to the issues Aidoo et al. raise, it does attempt to respond to the concerns of the authors of this letter by broadly relying, wherever possible, on the voices of authors with non-dominant racial and ethnic identities in exploring pedagogical issues within the discipline.


Portrait of Manish ChalanaManish Chalana is an Associate Professor in the Department of Urban Design and Planning at the University of Washington with adjunct appointments in Architecture and Landscape Architecture in the College of Built Environments, and the South Asia Studies in the Jackson School of International Studies (JSIS).  His work engages urban planning through the lenses of historic preservation, international planning and development, and equity & social justice. Dr. Chalana’s work has appeared in journals ranging from Journal of Architectural Education, Journal of Heritage Stewardship, Planning Perspectives, Journal of Planning History and Journal of American Planning Association.  He has published two co-edited volumes titled; 1) Messy Urbanism: Understanding the “Other” Cities of Asia (with Hou; 2016; HKU Press) and 2) Heritage Conservation in Postcolonial India: Approaches and Challenges (with Krishna; 2021; Routledge).

Steven J. Hoffman, Ph.D. is a professor of history, director of the Bollinger Center Steven Hoffman Portraitfor Regional History, and coordinator of the Historic Preservation program at Southeast Missouri State University where he teaches classes in Historic Preservation, American Architectural History, Urban Design and African-American history. His publications include Race, Class and Power in the Building of Richmond, 1870-1920 (McFarland, 2004), numerous National Register of Historic Places nominations, and articles on various public history and southern urban history topics. He earned a Master’s degree in Heritage Preservation from Georgia State University and a Ph.D. in History from Carnegie Mellon University.

Barry Stiefel PortraitBarry L. Stiefel, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor at the College of Charleston’s Historic Preservation and Community Planning program. While a student, Dr. Stiefel was a scholar at the Auschwitz Jewish Center in Oswiecim, Poland where he was immersed in learning about diversity, equity, and inclusion through historic preservation objectives that also sought to address reconciliation and healing of the Holocaust’s painful past. From this experience he hopes to bring about positive change regarding race and ethnic relations in North America. Dr. Stiefel has completed numerous publications, including ones that address sustainability in heritage preservation, cultural-ethnic architectural history, historic transportation mobility, human-centered historic preservation, community-building through historic places, and preservation education.

Dr. Jeremy C. Wells is an associate professor and Interim Director of the Jeremy Wells PortraitHistoric Preservation Program in the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at the University of Maryland, College Park. His research focuses on the psychology of heritage places; making the preservation enterprise more equitable, just, and resilient; and innovative community engagement tools for preservation planners. He runs the web site, http://heritagestudies.org, to explore these topics with the goal of making historic preservation more human-centered.