Diversity Advisory Group

In 2009, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago's (SAIC) strategic planning process created an initiative to "Build Diversity" within our leadership, curriculum, and student body. As a result of this process, the Diversity Action Group (DAG) was formed to define the different types of diversity we wish to incorporate and to establish goals and develop plans to enable us to reach them. DAG organized a series of three symposia and many planning meetings and drafted a Diversity Action Plan based on the proceedings and input from SAIC students, faculty, and staff. One result of this work was the Diversity Advisory Group, a permanent body to continue the work started during the strategic planning process.

Diversity Advisory Group Mission Statement

The Diversity Advisory Group strives to create a more diverse campus community at SAIC inclusive of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, military or former military status, socio- economic status, as well as embracing new identities as they emerge, and area of study and interests. Comprised of students, faculty, and staff, the Diversity Advisory Group consists of three subcommittees (Curriculum, Connectivity, and Climate) and is responsible for:

  • Assessing accomplishments and areas for growth in establishing a curriculum and climate that promotes the free exchange and understanding of intersectional* and marginalized ideas;
  • Broadening our outreach to and support of historically underrepresented identities throughout the school as students, faculty, and staff; and
  • Creating and sustaining initiatives to galvanize our community around issues of equity both on campus and in external partnerships.

As a leading school of art and design and influential member of the Chicago community, SAIC is an agent of cultural change while also respecting the historical context out of which the school and city have grown. The Diversity Advisory Group seeks to establish SAIC as a foremost leader in the charge toward greater diversity throughout higher education and arts institutions.

*The idea that issues of gender, race, class, etc. interact on multiple and often simultaneous levels; an example is black feminism. The term was first defined in Kimberlé Crenshaw's "Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics," University of Chicago Legal Forum, 1989, 139–67.

Diversity Advisory Group Members

Jon Cates—Senate Chair/Associate Professor, Film, Video, New Media and Animation

Paul Coffey—Vice Provost Felice Dublon—Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs

Maria Gaspar—Assistant Professor, Contemporary Practices

Christina Gómez—Director of Academic Affairs for Diversity and Inclusion and Professor of Liberal Arts

Cheryl Jessogne—Vice President for Institutional Advancement

Rose Milkowski—Vice President of Enrollment Management

Michael Nicolai—Vice President for Human Resources

Sarah Ross—Part-Time Faculty Rep-at-Large/Adjunct Assistant Professor, Sculpture/Art Education

Lisa Wainwright—Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty

Andrew Yang—Full-Time Faculty Rep-at-Large/Associate Professor, Liberal Arts

Diversity Advisory Group Committees

Curriculum Committee Chaired by Lisa Wainwright, Dean of Faculty, the goal of this committee is to create a curriculum that represents contributions from a broad scope of artists, designers, and scholars, encouraging diverse making, scholarship, and activity among all students, faculty, and staff.

Members

Sally Alatalo—Professor, Writing

Shiben Banerji—Assistant Professor, Art History, Theory, and Criticism

Delinda Collier—Associate Professor, Art History, Theory, and Criticism

Christina Gómez—Director of Academic Affairs for Diversity & Inclusion

Tiffany Holmes—Dean of Undergraduate Studies

Amy Honchell—Associate Dean, Undergraduate Division

Arnold Kemp—Dean of Graduate Studies

Dawn Gavin— Chair and Professor, Contemporary Practices

Dio Aldridge— Special Assistant to the Dean and Provost for Diversity and Inclusion

Climate Committee

Chaired by Felice Dublon, Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs, this committee creates a welcoming climate of inclusiveness for all peoples, all types of individuals, and all potential SAIC stakeholders.

Members

Tom Buechele—Vice President for Campus Operations

Christina Gómez—Director of Academic Affairs for Diversity & Inclusion and Professor of Liberal Arts

Debbie Martin—Dean of Student Life Rose Milkowski—Vice President of Enrollment Management

Lawrence Rodriguez—Director, International Affairs

Jevoid Simmons—Director, Employee Relations and Training

Patrick Spence —Associate Dean of Student Affairs

Kathleen Blackman—Assistant Director for Student Affairs

Kim-Cohen—Associate Professor Art History, Theory and Criticism Low-Residency MFA

Dio Aldridge— Special Assistant to the Dean and Provost for Diversity and Inclusion

Connectivity Committee

Chaired by Paul Coffey, Vice Provost & Dean of Community Engagement, this committee builds connectivity between SAIC and partners throughout the city and beyond that help diversify the SAIC community.

Members

Kate Dumbleton—Assistant Professor, Arts Administration and Policy

Kamau Patton— Assistant Professor, Visual and Critical Studies

Christina Gómez—Director of Academic Affairs for Diversity & Inclusion

Mary Jane Jacob—Executive Director, Exhibition & Events, Professor, Sculpture

Jaclyn Jacunski—Research Associate, Earl & Brenda Shapiro Center

Hannah Slodunik— Sustainability Coordinator Asia Mitchell—Director of Undergraduate Admissions

Dio Aldridge— Special Assistant to the Dean and Provost for Diversity and Inclusion

Leah Ra'Chel Gipson—Art Therapy, Assistant Professor

Action Committee

Chaired by Cheryl Jessogne, Vice President of Institutional Advancement, this committee meets weekly to address current environmental and socio-political concerns and assess its impact on SAIC's campus community. 

Members

Allison Green—Chief of Staff

Lawrence Rodriguez—Director of International Affairs

Debbie Martin— Dean of Student Life

Felice Dublon—Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs

Scott Hendrickson—Executive Director, Marketing & Communications

Bree Witt— Director of Public Relations Sarah  Gardner— Director of Marketing

Abigail Holcomb— Assistant Dean of Student Life for Residence Life Dio Aldridge— Special Assistant to the Dean and Provost for Diversity and Inclusion

Katrina Valera—Interim Director of Diversity & Inclusion for Student Affairs

Patrick Spence —Associate Dean of Student Affairs

John Pack— Executive Director of Campus Security