A wide shot of a ceramics studio, featuring students working with pottery wheels and other tools.

Statement by Dean of Faculty Lisa Wainwright on Academic Freedom

In recent media stories such as those published on F News, the Chronicle of Higher Educationand Inside Higher Ed, SAIC has been accused of infringing on academic freedom. Dean of Faculty Lisa Wainwright responded with the following statement:

In recent media stories, SAIC has been accused of infringing on academic freedom. This simply is not the case, and frankly, would be anathema to our pedagogy. Individual expression is at the core of SAIC’s mission. We prize academic freedom and defend it fully. As a rigorous institution of art and design education, we embrace curricula that challenge prevailing norms, push boundaries, and expand how we understand the world around us through visually symbolic means. SAIC students are asked by faculty to examine their moment in history, push the edge, be fearless, and utilize the freedom of expression that is so central to artistic practice and to democracy in general.

As the Dean of Faculty, I am called upon to speak to individual faculty members about a range of issues. This may include concerns raised by students about particular behavior as well as more general conversations directed toward academic excellence in terms of teaching practice, ideas about possible future courses, and how faculty might improve their bibliographies. Reviewing and discussing curricula is a core responsibility of being the Dean of Faculty.

I am unable to discuss individual personnel matters and therefore cannot answer specific questions regarding members of our faculty or former faculty.

In several media stories it has been misstated that SAIC will no longer offer comics classes. This is inaccurate. SAIC's Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism has offered and will continue to offer three courses on comics. The range of material presented in the Spring 2017 courses "Comic Book: Silver Age-Grph Novel" and "Comic Book: Golden Age-Code" will be covered in the Spring 2018 courses "Con-sequential Art: The Visual Rhetoric of Comics" and "Trauma, Identity, and Social justice in Graphic Novels." The third course, "International Comics," is a survey course that has been taught by several part-time faculty over the past five years will also be offered in Spring 2018.