Dear SAIC Community,
With the second full week of the spring semester underway, we know this semester, like the last, continues to pose challenges that are unique to our moment as well as ongoing structural issues we must continue to face. Both will take our sustained vigilance, creativity, and cooperation.
First, as we work to make structural changes to address our School’s participation in systemic racism, we acknowledge the history that has privileged whiteness. Our institutional history is not distinct from this larger history, and we must challenge ourselves to learn from our mistakes. Over the last 10 years, we’ve been answering the question, “How do we make our campus more diverse, equitable, and inclusive?” through expanding diversity, equity, and inclusion staff positions; establishing a college preparation program and scholarship opportunities for Chicago Public School students; increasing the diversity of our applicant pools when hiring full-time faculty; launching awareness and support programs for first-generation students; expanding programming of the Disability and Learning Resource Center; and starting internal grant programs like the diversity infusion grants, which promote diverse curricular content, among other initiatives. Our work is not done. We must persist. To continue and build on this work, we have been asking deeper questions through the School’s Anti-Racism Committee (ARC) and its subgroups. As the committee chairs shared last December, ARC will soon make recommendations, and you’ll receive regular updates in multiple venues about how the School will dedicate funding and resources to these efforts.
We also know we will have to continue managing the risk of COVID-19. Though we wish no one would contract the virus, we did a great job last semester, with comparatively few positive cases, no on-campus outbreaks, and no classroom-related transmissions. That took everyone following our shared responsibilities on campus and making thoughtful choices off campus to minimize the risk of infection. We know it will be some months yet before there is widespread vaccination, so please remain vigilant in following the guidelines.
Taking care of one another by continuing to develop and enact our anti-racism initiatives and following Make Ready guidelines are as much a part of our mission as any other facet of SAIC. Supporting everyone who studies, teaches, lives, works, and creates here is key to the success in our classrooms, studios, and offices; residence halls; programs; and activities. Below, please find information on some of the important programs that we’ll be engaging in this semester.