Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion for Academic Affairs

SAIC is committed to assembling a diverse community of faculty, students, and staff and to nurturing and creating an environment in which different perspectives and backgrounds can be heard, valued, and utilized. In this spirit, the overall focus for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Academic Affairs (DEIAA) is to infuse diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into the academics of the School.

This strategy includes working closely with individuals and departments on fostering programs and creating spaces where we can learn and develop as a community of artists, designers, and scholars.

Throughout each semester, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Academic Affairs offers a series of programs and workshops to promote an inclusive environment in which everyone can learn, and unlearn, the histories that divide us and share our experiences to better negotiate the campus, and society, we share. Additionally, DEIAA team work closely with individuals—students, faculty and staff—and departments across the School to address challenges and promote DEI goals. 

Diversity Infusion Grant

The Diversity Infusion Grant (DIG) supports the research and resources necessary to make course revisions that broaden, refresh, and further SAIC’s curricular offerings in relation to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Grantees will receive $,1000 to support this work.

The Diversity Advisory Group’s Curriculum Committee has created the SAIC Diversity Infusion Grant (DIG) to facilitate more intentional DEI practices in classrooms by faculty. The funds are intended to support faculty incorporating more diverse reading selections, a greater variety of global images, guest speakers, DEI pedagogy, and/or diversity related project assignments.

  • Emilie Willis, Ceramics
    Course: Vessel Construction (Fall 2022)

    This course investigated both on and off-wheel construction techniques. It explored wheel throwing and various hand building techniques to produce interpretations of the vessel in contemporary society. This grant supported a 45-minute lecture from Paul Briggs, an contemporary artist engaged in creating pinched vessels. His recent body of work “Cell Personae” is a firm and resolved protest against the startling statistic that Black people account for 40 percent of the U.S. prison population, despite accounting for only 6.5 percent of the total American population. 

    Kevin Carr, Painting & Drawing
    Course: Quilting for Painters (Fall 2022)

    Quilting for Painters looks at the insistence and use of the grid through modern and contemporary art, the subversion of that grid, and further explores the materiality that pushes the boundaries between traditional painting and quilting. This grant supported three visiting artists and purchased resources that brought in varying perspectives and experiences, a well as a look into diverse histories of quilting. 

    Kristin McWhater, Art & Technology Studies
    Course: New Realities: Simulations of Future Worlds (Spring 2023)

    New Realities: Simulations of Future Worlds technically and conceptually explores what it means to create and simulate new realities within game engines. This course offers students technical guidance in creating artistic output from game engine tools, while learning from artist practices that range from games, animation, simulation, to machinima. With this grant, McWharter produced a series of video tutorials that will supplement learning materials of the class to meet a greater number of learning needs that exist among students.

    Marzena Abrahamik, Photography
    Course: Girls in Contemporary Art (Fall 2022)

    This course will explore the figure of the girl which has been used by many artists to expand the discourse on gender by questioning the stability of sexual and gender identity. This course focuses on trends and approaches to art photography and how contemporary artists challenge, expand, and reinvent such traditional genres as self-portrait, portraiture, the nude, landscape, and still life photography. The grant will support a lecture and panel discussion and a  final critique, during which the course will reflect on the dynamic relationships between feminism, heterosexuality, queer theory and race.

    Sarah Rosengard, Liberal Arts 
    Course: Great Lakes Chemistry and Stewardship (Spring 2023)

    This course identifies the key ecosystem services that the Lakes provide to all communities around it and sustainability challenges that these communities face in stewarding such services. We will learn the processes that maintain and perturb these ecosystem services. In addition, we will explore the role of women, gender minorities, and Indigenous people in knowledge and stewardship of the North American Great Lakes. The grant will purchase scientific equipment, such as a DNA analysis kit. This will enable students to learn techniques in analyzing multiple environmental specimens and enable students to conduct research projects and gather data. 

  • Eric Hotchiss, Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects
    Course: Design @ Homan Square

    SAIC Design @ Homan Square combines professional practice design experience with community activism. Operating out of SAIC's facility in the Nichols tower at Homan Square, the course engages students in a focused dialogue on social project implementation in Chicago and provides the tools and frameworks to realize those projects. Functioning as a pro bono 'design consultancy' where the residents, small businesses and community groups of North Lawndale act as 'clients', each job is treated as a discrete project involving research, knowledge-sharing and design action. During this course, students worked with community members to restore a minigolf course in a public park.

    Joseph Grigley, Visual and Critical Studies
    Course: Theorizing Disability

    This course is an experimental seminar devoted to recent discussions about disability in the US and in Europe: how is disability represented, and how are these representations constructed? Readings include the following, among many other texts: Georgina Kleege's Sight Unseen, Julia Kristeva's recent essays on disability, and several Supreme Court Opinions regarding ADA, including Alabama v. Garrett, Toyota v. Williams, and Tennessee v. Lane. In the second half of the semester, seminar participants present papers and related research on disability as a social and theoretical construction.

    Emilie Willis, Ceramics
    Course: Clay and Culture

    This course examines a variety of cultures (African, North, Central and South American, European, Asian) through the lens of their ceramic histories. Students will develop vessels based on a response to this cultural information. Each projects will be rooted in a discussion and a tour with a different curator at AIC. Topics addressed will be: gender and sexuality, domestic and ritual vessels, architecture and environment, politics and culture and class and industry.

Contact Us

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Academic Affairs

Sharp Building
37 S. Wabash Ave.

Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Academic Affairs

Shaurya Kumar skumar@saic.edu