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:

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

Craig Barton—Provost
Rashayla Brown—Director of Student Affairs for Diversity and Inclusion
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 include:
Sally Alatalo—Professor, Writing
Shiben Banerji—Assistant Professor, Art History, Theory, and Criticism
Melika Bass—Assistant Professor, Film, Video, New Media, and Animation
Rashayla Marie Brown—Director of Student Affairs for Diversity & Inclusion
Delinda Collier—Associate Professor, Art History, Theory, and Criticism
Ben DeMott—Assistant Professor, Ceramics
James Elkins—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
Jefferson Pinder—Associate Professor, Contemporary Practices

Climate Committee

Chaired by Michael Nicolai, Vice President for Human Resources, this committee creates a welcoming climate of inclusiveness for all peoples, all types of individuals, and all potential SAIC stakeholders.

Members include:
Tom Buechele—Vice President for Campus Operations
Rashayla Brown—Director of Student Affairs for Diversity & Inclusion
Felice Dublon—Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs
Amy Dane Falkowski—Associate Dean of Budgets and Administration
Calvin Forbes—Professor, Liberal Arts and Writing
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
Hennie Reynders—Associate Professor, AIADO
Lawrence Rodriguez—Director, International Affairs
Jevoid Simmons—Director, Employee Relations and Training

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 include:
Rashayla Brown—Director of Student Affairs for Diversity and Inclusion
Kate Dumbleton—Assistant Professor, Arts Administration and Policy
Pablo Garcia—Assistant Professor, Contemporary Practices
Christina Gomez—Director of Academic Affairs for Diversity & Inclusion
Mary Jane Jacob—Executive Director, Exhibition & Events, Professor, Sculpture
Jaclyn Jacunski—Research Associate, Earl & Brenda Shapiro Center
Asia Mitchell—Director of Undergraduate Admissions
Doug Pancost—Director, Earl & Brenda Shapiro Center
Cheryl Russell—Executive Director, Corporate, Foundation, and Civic Relations
Oli Watt—Assistant Professor, Printmedia