Taubman College Students and Faculty Receive North Campus Deans’ MLK Spirit Awards

Several Taubman College students, faculty members, and student initiatives were honored with the North Campus Deans’ MLK Spirit Awards in 2024 for exemplifying the leadership and vision of Martin Luther King Jr. The annual awards recognize a commitment to social justice and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at colleges and schools on the University of Michigan North Campus. The award program is hosted by the A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, the College of Engineering, the Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design, and the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, in collaboration with ArtsEngine and the Duderstadt Center.

Following is a list of Taubman College winners in their respective categories:

Learning & Scholarship Awards

Chanel Beebe, lecturer in urban technology
Beebe integrates her diverse skills and commitment to DEI values into education, research, and social equity as an engineer, artist, writer, researcher, and teacher. In teaching Urban Technology 210: Listening – Design Ethnography, she adeptly weaves identity and positionality into her coursework, fostering an inclusive learning environment that recognizes and respects her students’ diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

Radical Planning Team

Radical Planning is a groundbreaking, student-led endeavor that responds to injustice in the built environment. Urban planning students initiated discussions about how planners must address racism, colonialism, and white supremacy in their daily work after the murder of George Floyd in the summer of 2020. Working with Larissa Larsen, professor of urban and regional planning, students launched the first Radical Planning class in 2023. That course attracted 62 graduate student enrollees from across U-M. After hiring another cohort of student leads and assessing feedback, a three-credit course was offered in 2024. Students could enroll in a one-credit option, which included 15 speakers, a trip to Sanctuary Farms in Detroit, and a networking dinner. Students who wanted more engagement could enroll in a three-credit seminar-style course. The American Planning Association recently lauded the course for challenging conventional planning processes.

Community Building & Impact Awards

jon kent, M.U.R.P ’25

kent cofounded Sanctuary Farms, a small organic and compositing farm in Detroit, and is a passionate member of the city’s urban agriculture and community development scene. His passion for helping people and building more equitable and sovereign access to food comes through in everything he does. kent has a knack for making connections and assisting folks to develop a robust support network as they pursue their passions around agriculture, environmental justice, and equity.

Diana Anda, M.U.D. ’23
Anda has tailored her academic pursuits to extend beyond the built environment, focusing on how surroundings can catalyze an equitable and inclusive future. Anda challenges the traditional way urban design works on design thesis projects and has actively engaged community members from Detroit, including the Latino Women Empowerment Center and Cadillac Urban Gardens. Anda worked with We the People of Detroit on an environmentally friendly stormwater infrastructure project to alleviate flooding. Anda also advocates for DEI within the Taubman College community, serving on the DEI Committee, as a facilitator for multiple DEI summits, and as a researcher, collaborator, and student voice for the Taubman College DEI 2.0 Plan.

Mentoring and Inspiration Awards

Christopher Dewitt, B.S. Arch ’25

Dewitt worked closely with Michigan Supreme Court Justice Kyra Bolden to engage with students at Dossin Elementary School in Detroit. The effort provided a highly enriching experience for the students participating in the MLK Children and Youth Program, by delving into critical topics such as safe sex, consent, and the cultivation of healthy relationships. Dewitt also led a session at the Boys and Girls Club of Southeast Michigan, sharing valuable insights on email etiquette, effective communication, and teamwork. He has left a positive mark on the students in the community, contributing to their growth and development.