As a leader in art and design education and a school with an increasingly diverse student body, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) strives to offer a learning environment that is welcoming of all. The support and resources SAIC offers to students have been recognized by Insight into Diversity magazine with the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award.
SAIC was selected based on the school’s diversity and inclusion initiatives and efforts to embrace a broad definition of diversity on campus. SAIC recognizes the importance of being fully inclusive of its student body and has implemented a number of initiatives to assist and support all students:
- The Diversity Advisory Group was formed around an initiative defined in SAIC’s Strategic Plan in 2009 and is tasked with outlining a long-term plan to systematically improve diversity at SAIC.
- There are many student groups at SAIC focused on issues of cultural diversity, including: Spectrum, Black at SAIC, Chinese Artist Association, Korean Graduate Student Community, Korean Student Association, Namaste SAIC, SAIC Hillel, and Intervarsity Christian Fellowship.
- Collaborating with various departments, the League of Extraordinary Genders, a student group at SAIC, has been instrumental in creating positive changes on campus, including:
- Updating the student health insurance coverage to include gender-reassignment surgery and hormone therapy
- Ensuring robust counseling services are available to address the needs of students, including those in the LGBTQIA community
- Offering 26 gender-neutral restrooms across campus, with at least one in each academic building
- Encouraging dialogue on LGBTQIA issues through roundtables, panels, and discussions
- Making updates to the student information system, in which students can now identify their preferred name in addition to their legal name, which can be applied to a number of identifiers, including email address, student ID card, and class rosters
- Testing a gender-neutral housing program where continuing students have the opportunity to register for roommates regardless of legal sex
As a recipient of the annual HEED Award—a national honor recognizing US colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion—SAIC will be featured in Insight Into Diversity magazine’s November 2014 issue.
For more information on SAIC’s diversity initiatives, please visit the website. For more information about the 2014 HEED award, visit the Insight Into Diversity website.