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

SAIC Recognized for Excellence in Diversity with 2019 HEED Award

SAIC received the 2019 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT into Diversity magazine, a national honor recognizing US colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.

The oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education, INSIGHT into Diversity magazine highlighted SAIC’s innovative diversity efforts, many of which unite the School with the larger Chicago community. On campus, the School continues to promote a culture that fosters inclusion and welcomes new identities as they emerge. Recent initiatives to meet this commitment include:

  • All new students, faculty, and staff are required to complete mandatory online training through Diversity.edu, which is designed to promote a climate of inclusivity. Once on campus, community members are offered a host of supplemental orientations and trainings that support SAIC’s values of diversity and introduce the many resources available.
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Academic Affairs has focused on expanding the population of diverse faculty through vigorous recruitment efforts. In the past two years, 46 percent of new full-time faculty identify themselves as faculty of color.
  • Multicultural Affairs in the Office of Student Affairs supports more than 20 student affinity groups. Last fall, these groups hosted more than 33 programs on and off campus.
  • In November, SAIC hosted First-Generation Student Celebration Day to recognize and celebrate students who are the first in their family to attend college.
  • In January 2019, SAIC hosted the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design Post-Graduate Teaching Fellowship Program, a two-day professional development retreat for fellows that focused on the experiences of faculty of color. This program provides graduating Master’s level students (and alums of up to three years prior) the opportunity to teach at one of 42 leading art schools in the United States and Canada. The developmental sessions included teaching pedagogy, challenges for faculty of color, and applying and interviewing for faculty positions.
  • In support of gender nonconforming and transgender communities, SAIC has at least one gender-neutral restroom in each of our campus buildings. During spring semester, the League of Extraordinary Genders (an SAIC student group) sponsored the Inclusive Restroom Project. For one day, all 27 gendered restrooms in the Sharp Building were gender neutral and were accessed by anyone regardless of gender identity. This initiative encouraged community members to participate and engage in an equitable and safe environment. The project made visible the daily concerns and issues that affect transgender and gender-nonconforming members inside and outside of our community. Following this, the League of Extraordinary Genders facilitated an open forum for community members to share their reflections and experiences. SAIC’s vice president of facilities also works with the City of Chicago’s initiative Chicago Restroom Access Project, an effort to increase access to gender-neutral restrooms across the city.
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Academic Affairs awarded 10 Diversity Infusion Grants, for faculty to make course revisions that broaden, refresh, and further SAIC’s curricular offerings in relation to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Grantees received $1,000 to support this work and to facilitate more intentional diversity, equity, and inclusion 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; diversity, equity, and inclusion pedagogy; and/or diversity related project assignments.
  • The Chicago Freedom School presented a workshop titled Recognizing Identity, Power, and Oppression and asked participants to reflect on how their identities intersect with systems of power and oppression.
  • Global Encounters Lunches invited scholars and artists to help our community connect, explore, and expand our understanding of world events.
  • Departmental workshops for faculty and staff focused on microaggressions, pronoun usage, creating an inclusive classroom, disability, and accommodations. Workshops were also provided for the security and food services teams (bilingually in Spanish and English), in order to ensure ALL community members are included in opportunities for training and  education.
  • Faculty Enrichment Lunches discussed teaching, pedagogy, and inclusion in the classroom.

As a recipient of the annual HEED Award, SAIC will be featured in the November 2019 issue of INSIGHT into Diversity magazine. For more information about the 2016 HEED Award, visit insightintodiversity.com.