CFPA Accessibility Diversity Equity Inclusion Taskforce
Task Force Charge
The disparities and inequities to communities of color that exist due to systemic racism across all sectors of American institutions, must be challenged and eradicated. I am committed to this effort. I will work with students, staff, and faculty of color to ensure that they feel safe; to change practices and policies that create inequity; and to explore new approaches to systems that previously perpetuated inequity.
To date, each of the departments in the CFPA has implemented procedures by which to begin the task of identifying, foregrounding, and addressing issues related to systemic racism in the College as well as the University. These efforts have engaged students, faculty and staff in conversations about the lingering effects of racism, overt or systemic, that unfortunately still impinge on our ability to fairly and justly provide all of our students avenues to success in their chosen arts or design disciplines. We know from experience that when we do alter a process or procedure with the intent of enhancing diversity within the College, we can succeed in doing so.
For example, the percentage of Art, Design and Performance BIPOC students at entry to the University has increased from 17.8% in academic year 2015-16, to 25.2% in 2019-20. Much of this increase is attributable to changes instituted to provide more targeted and active recruitment of BIPOC students beginning in 2016. While commendable, as a college we are still behind the University as whole, which admitted 28.5% of BIPOC students in 2019-20. We need to better understand how to cultivate long term relationships with communities of color, relationships founded on a willingness to reach out, listen intently, and alter the means by which we are unintentionally creating roadblocks and barriers to prospective BIPOC students.
We also need to implement a process by which the entire College, as an entity, will mimic the conversations and discovery currently happening at the department and programmatic level. It is critical that we make inclusion, equity and diversity a college-wide priority. While prominent in both the University and CFPA strategic plans, we have yet to identify and implement a cohesive set of actions to permanently create and support a culture of inclusion. We need a roadmap to guide us forward in both the short and long-term.
The creation of this task force is a part of that examination. The major goals for the Accessibility, Diversity, Equity and Inclusiveness (ADEI) Task Force include:
- Investigate where we as a college of artists and designers are in the moment vis-à-vis diversity, equity and inclusiveness—especially as it relates to institutional and systematic racism.
- Investigate how we can better embrace and support our emerging BIPOC artists, during their time at Western Washington University, and, after they graduate and practice their art in the creative landscape.
- Investigate ways in which we can reach out to better address the challenges faced by many high school BIPOC students, thereby enhancing our ability to recruit a more diverse entering class of artists and designers.
Specifically, the CFPA ADEI Task Force will:
- Convene at the direction of the Dean to select a Chair, discuss the potential scope of work, and share insights already gained at the department level.
- Identify those issues that are best addressed at the College level (e.g., scholarships, hiring of faculty and staff) for further review.
- Inventory current ADEI efforts and programs within the College (e.g., targeted recruitment).
- Assist the Dean in planning ADEI initiatives (e.g., Black History Month).
- Consider best practices from other universities and organizations.
- Encourage robust and frank conversations within the CFPA community (e.g., listening sessions with small groups).
- Maintain a webpage or shared digital space that documents the Task Force’s work.
- Submit a draft ADEI plan to the Dean with short and long-term goals and aspirations by the end of the Spring Quarter, 2021.
- The draft ADEI plan will be reviewed by the CFPA Faculty Governance Council at the beginning of Fall Quarter, 2021.
The dean’s office will provide administrative support for scheduling meetings and will assist with communication tools (e.g., maintaining webpage) to disseminate the Task Force’s work.
A note from Dean Spicer
To the students, especially, of the CFPA: Your pursuits and passions–art, performance, design –at their root are fueled by a desire to express the sometimes inexpressible; to share ineffable joys as well as sorrows; to dig into thoughts, feelings, and institutions to uncover our fears and our hopes. I applaud your dedication to this work, especially, during this difficult period, the most severe that many of us have experienced to date.
I look forward to our students, faculty, and staff rising to the challenges before us in ways that strengthen our community and expand our understanding of ourselves and each other. The unique skills and gifts manifested in your work, your dedication and ingenuity, will create new paths forward that our world so urgently needs. I thank you in advance.
Kit Spicer, Dean
ADEI Task Force