RMCAD’s Diversity, Equity + Inclusion Initiatives
On June 1, 2020, RMCAD made a public statement to stand united against injustice, brutality and violence, prejudice, and racism. We recognized that speaking out was only the first step. Now, after listening and reflecting, we have identified steps and actionable initiatives to take in service to our diverse community, found below.
We have implemented mandatory sensitivity training for all current faculty and staff members, which will be completed over the next few weeks. All new faculty members will also complete this training during the hiring process when joining RMCAD.
Our faculty participated in part one of an ongoing convocation series led by Dr. Jennifer Dale about entering into equity and inclusion. “Equity and inclusion are more than just buzzwords in higher education, they are fundamental practices needed to create culturally responsive teaching and learning” (Dr. Dale). The Fall Faculty Convocation was a deep dive into how we participate in upholding or dismantling the inequities in our college, course curriculum, and interactions. To truly understand, develop, and internalize these topics, we must first begin with an examination of ourselves. In this session, faculty members explored what it means to become a reflexive practitioner, create identity awareness, and navigate intent vs impact. Dr. Dale led a breakout session to follow on “Unpacking Identity and its Impact in the Classroom.” The learning objectives of this session were to uncover intersecting identities, discover the unintended impact of identities, and create productive responses to unintended, negative impact based on one’s identity. This one of the first steps in a continuous, ongoing learning opportunity for RMCAD faculty and a required part of their training.
We continue to address diversity within our curriculum. Although this is not an instantaneous process, we have pledged our commitment to diversity and inclusion and are working through our established processes via the RMCAD Curriculum Committee. These initiatives are designed to make changes in the structures that inform racial bias. Here are some examples of this work:
- The Animation department is currently going through both their Storytelling and History of Animation courses, reexamining the courses with a focus on diversity.
- Education (EDMT + Art Education) is doing a comprehensive review of all Art Education courses focusing on literacy and ELL (English Language Learner) standards along with faculty conversations around instructional practices related to diversity, equity, and inclusion within department meetings.
- The Graphic Design and Photography departments are hosting faculty meetings with the Diversity Coordinator. Both departments will include more online links to designers’ portfolios and projects that are diverse. Additionally, they plan to show more diverse designers’ work in their campus courses.
- The Illustrative Design department will be working with faculty and the Diversity Coordinator for a training session/conversations specific to Illustrative Design. Their plan is to work cross-departmentally with the Illustration and Graphic Design departments to broaden the representation of designers in their curriculum. Additionally, we will see the creation of a diverse advisory board that represents designers and illustrators working today.
- Interior Design will develop a list of courses with space to include more diverse projects and content through their Curriculum summit meeting. The summit meeting and CIDA review of Cultural diversity indicators will help the Interior Design department identify projects and assignments to be added to their curriculum. The department will work with DEI to provide cultural diversity sensitivity training to faculty in all-faculty meetings.
- As far as Online development goes, course and resource updates will be implemented in connection with RMCAD’s Diversity, Equity + Inclusion Alliance, and faculty requests.
- The Program Review and Assessment Committee will identify diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) opportunities to incorporate within the assessment process. A revision of our cultural learning institutional learning outcomes will be implemented.
- RMCAD will be holding regular Diversity Town Hall Meetings open to students, staff, and faculty. Please keep a lookout for this around week 5 of the Fall A term. Along with these meetings, we are in the process of developing a Strategic Plan directly tied to Diversity.
Our Student DEI Coordinator, Tya Anthony, is now a part of the Learning Commons! Feel free to reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org as she is here to help students navigate the college experience and lead our Diversity Alliance. More information can be found on the DEI page at https://www.rmcad.edu/life-rmcad/student-services/diversity-equity-inclusion/.
We are working on new initiatives to further support, celebrate, and elevate our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and extended diverse community. What remains constant is our commitment to ongoing education and growth in all aspects of our lives and work, together and as individuals. RMCAD will meet each obstacle with perseverance as a dedicated community of passionate creatives.
Join Fall A Liberal Arts Lunch Series. This series is an opportunity for open presentation and discussion about various topics including art, history, and social justice. They are hosted biweekly on Tuesdays during the Fall A term. To join, please visit https://www.rmcad.edu/events/upcoming/.
If you would like to join the DEI email list, please visit https://mailchi.mp/rmcad/diversity-alliance.