President Brent Fitch Reflects On the Fall A Term
Greetings RMCAD Community,
I write to you today to reflect on our progress. In 1963, well-known illustrator and educator Philip J. Steele founded the school that would become known as Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design, or simply RMCAD. With specificity, Steele developed an academic art training program and a “community of creatives” that would instill in all students a passion for creativity, innovation, and a desire for lifelong learning.
His belief was simple: “Artists and designers have the power to impact our world in profound ways.”
Over fifty years later, creativity is more valuable than ever. Visualization in the workforce is no longer a luxury — it’s a demand ushered in by the digital era. At a time when every school, business, and family is facing new challenges, we’re welcoming our largest student population in history. Our ability to progress has certainly made us successful, but it’s the people in our community, our family, who make RMCAD a place to call home for artists from around the world. In this first year of my presidency, I’m continually amazed by the great strides being made daily. From enhancing the student experience through Blended+ Learning to implementing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives across departments, our creative community is evolving faster than ever before.
Each of you — student, faculty, or staff — deserves recognition for your adaptability as we continue to respond to COVID-19. The transition to Blended+ Learning presented our students with new opportunities for success, and they rose to the occasion. To all students on behalf of the college; we admire your commitment to developing the mastery of your skills at RMCAD. We’re also humbled by your dedication to our community. Despite everything, you still show up for your peers at Virtual Graduation Exhibitions. New students are welcomed warmly by your diverse group of Student Ambassadors, who have an impressive plan for the Fall term. I was just as mesmerized by their caliber of work as I was humbled by our Interior Design students after attending one of their virtual classes. As RMCAD celebrates over ten years practicing online education and our online student body grows into the thousands, it’s obvious that RMCAD is a hub for imaginative minds no matter how you choose to study with us.
Inspired by this great “community of creatives,” I collaborated with 300 other college presidents along with the Secretary of Education and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to develop protocol and guidelines for our campus. A plan was created that will allow us to continue to progress safely while maintaining student satisfaction as a top priority. Students can look forward to more in-person classes and resource offerings in the near future as well as investments in technology and equipment to protect our health. Our college is the leader in providing a quality, private arts and design education at a competitive price without sacrificing necessary resources or services. We are committed to the success of every unique individual. That core belief guides every decision we make.
We’ve made great progress providing creative opportunities to all willing learners, and a key component of that is continuing to work towards equity. As an institution, we have organized to better serve the needs of our diverse student body, and we’ve already completed several initiatives related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Some of our most notable accomplishments include completing mandatory sensitivity training for all current faculty and staff members, recognizing and dismantling the inequities in our college, evaluating our course curricula, including a broader representation of diverse influences and portfolios in our programs, and identifying DEI opportunities and cultural learning outcomes to incorporate in Program Review and Assessment Committee processes. These elements and more will be outlined in our new Strategic Plan related to diversity. RMCAD will also host regular Diversity Town Hall Meetings, with the first event happening on October 2, 2020.
The achievements listed above are united by our commitment to our students, to be role models in the community, and to lead with passion and conviction. We continue to live those words from Philip J. Steele and “impact our world in profound ways.” As we move forward together, I encourage you to share your ideas and discover your own way to leave an impact at RMCAD. Every positive action creates a ripple effect, reaching beyond our small community and into the ether. With collaboration and creativity, all things are possible.