Mission Statement

As cultural producers of the 21st century and scholars of the creative arts, our community respectfully embraces the ongoing quest to understand ourselves and others as inhabitants of this complex and dynamic world.  We commit to embracing diverse perspectives, approaches, and actions that promote human dignity.  And we commit to cultivating the individual and collective courage to overcome our limitations and fears as we struggle toward greater social, economic, environmental and educational justice.

In order to promote the artistic and scholarly growth and development of every member of our community, the School of the Arts fosters a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment where individual differences are expected, welcomed, and valued.  We understand that a diversity of people and perspectives fuels creativity, improves decision-making and promotes organizational and academic excellence.  Our community—students, faculty, staff, and administrators—commits to mutual respect, and to understanding and appreciating that different customs and worldviews are an expression of an individual’s culture, heritage, background, abilities and experiences.  Realizing that our common enterprise relies upon mutuality and interdependence, we embrace the practice of reciprocal empowerment: “the right to define one’s own identity; the power to provide oneself and others with needed resources to succeed; and the opportunity to have a voice in decision making.”1


Our goals include but are not limited to:

Goal #1: Increase hiring, improve mentoring, and successfully promote full-time faculty from underrepresented groups.

  1. SoArts dean and chairs will work with CITL to develop training for department chairs and faculty mentors on equitable practices of recruitment, mentoring, and retention.
  2. Each department will develop a diversity outreach plan (beyond the new language required in job ad postings) as part of a request for any new or replacement full-time faculty line.
    • Each department will identify professional organizations that support artists and scholars from underrepresented groups—women, artists and scholars of color, LGBTQ artists and scholars, disabled artists and scholars—and develop a contact list of faculty who are members of that organization.  Job postings will be sent to those contacts and to the organization’s job board.
    • Each department/program will identify current faculty members who will commit to developing relationships with graduate programs at Historically Black Colleges, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Tribal Colleges in order to recruit in our fields. The College will develop training for faculty members who volunteer for this service. Travel support will be provided by the College to allow faculty members to meet colleagues at these institutions, and travel support will also be provided to invite visitors from these institutions to Emerson. 
  3. The SoArts dean and department chairs will work to identify structural biases in the promotion and tenure process that affect faculty from underrepresented groups and seek to address/remove them in the departments.
  4. Each department (chair, DPTC and at least two professors if not part of DPTC) commits to holding a mentoring session specifically for faculty members (tenure-track; term, and associate professors) from underrepresented groups (based on race, ethnicity, gender, ability, sexual orientation) at least once each year. 
  5. While the College continues to increase the number of full-time faculty members, some classes will need to be filled by affiliated faculty members. Each department will develop an outreach plan for increasing the number of applications from artists and scholars of color, women, LGBTQ, gender non-binary, and artists and scholars with disabilities or who have accessibility needs for open affiliated faculty position.

Goal #2: School of the Arts faculty, program directors, and chairs, will create, promote, and sustain key elements of the teaching and learning environment that encourage a pedagogy of equity and empowerment.

  1. Each department and program will review and, if necessary, redesign first-year and second-year level required core-courses in both studies and practice for diverse content and inclusive methods. 
  2. Every class will adopt at least one learning outcome related to diversity, equity and inclusion.
  3. Every class that uses written or media texts will include a number of texts that represent diverse perspectives central to the course’s content.
  4. By AY 2019-20, 75% of all SoArts faculty commit to requesting mid-semester student feedback on course climate, and on their efforts to create an inclusive environment. This feedback is for the use of the faculty member and is not part of any formal teaching review process.  
  5. All SoArts faculty and staff will participate in an intercultural fluency workshop every three years. These workshops can be at the department level and specific to the departmental disciplines. Workshops will feature mentoring/training on pedagogy for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  6. The School of the Arts dean’s office will annually host a faculty reading and discussion program on diversity, equity and inclusion. 
  7. Departments and the School will work with Academic Affairs to draft program review guidelines related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  8. Department and programs will, as necessary, review and revise diversity learning outcomes. 

Goal #3: SoArts will support the College’s efforts to recruit students of diverse backgrounds by creating enrollment and pathway programs.

  1. The school dean, assisted by chairs and program directors will investigate 2+2 or 2+3 programs that might reduce the cost for students to attend the College. 
  2. In the next year, each department/program will create a relationship (faculty guest visits, on-campus workshops, performances/screenings/readings, mentoring) with at least one community organization that serves diverse secondary school students. This outreach will be coordinated with Admissions and will not duplicate current programs.  The Admissions office will track the number of students who apply, are accepted, matriculate, and graduate from each community partner. 
  3. Each department/program will work with Student Affairs and the Office of Equity and Social Justice to sponsor a convening for currently enrolled students of color. 
  4. Department chairs and program directors will work with the SoArts dean and Institutional Advancement to identify faculty members and students who are willing to meet with potential donors for student scholarships.

The faculty, staff, and administration of the School of the Arts recognize that this is a dynamic plan that will change based not only on the assessment of our work, but also on new realizations that deepen our understanding of equity, diversity and inclusion.

1Evans, Alvin and Edna Chun, The Department Chair as Transformative Diversity Leader: Building Inclusive Learning Environments in Higher Education, (Sterling, VA, Stylus Publishing, 2015)