Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at SAIC


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at SAIC

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) is committed to an equitable, just environment where the voices of all our students, faculty, and staff are valued and respected.

SAIC's Diversity Mission Statement:

The School’s primary purpose is to cultivate a campus designed to encourage the discovery and development of significant ideas and images. The School is, therefore, committed to assembling a diverse community of faculty, students, and staff and to nurturing and creating an environment in which those different perspectives and backgrounds can be heard, valued, and utilized.

In recognition of our community’s efforts toward this mission, SAIC has been awarded the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity(HEED) Award in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. Our continued recognition through this national award reflects the School’s ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion across campus.

SAIC's NEXT Strategic Planning Initiative: Continue to Cultivate Diversity and Inclusion

The School is currently in the process of creating a new strategic plan, which includes the initiative Continue to Cultivate Diversity and Inclusion. Projected outcomes center on an increased sense of inclusivity for all SAIC constituencies, creating a more collegial and empathetic work environment for faculty and staff, as well as a more rewarding academic environment for students. These improvements will aid in retention, increase goodwill, and enhance wellbeing among all members of the SAIC community. 

Diversity Advisory Groups (DAG)

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.

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.