Inclusion at Paris College of Art

Dear Members of the PCA Community

 

As an institution, we have not lived up to the promises we made to create a more inclusive climate at PCA, where each member feels welcome, respected and treated fairly inside and outside the classroom. I fully take my share of responsibility for not prioritizing that agenda more, and I am committed to changing that.

 

Changing a campus climate is slow and patient work that requires the participation of all. It can not be mandated, it requires personal commitment. It will necessarily lead to difficult discussions, hard realizations and some disagreements. To build towards a truly inclusive community is worth those efforts and more. Not only will we change our culture, we will also, as individuals, be stronger and better equipped to promote equity and equality in other spheres of our lives.

 

I have outlined below the steps that we are taking this summer with staff. These efforts will continue and will include faculty, alumni and students when the academic year resumes in September. If you want to get involved right away, or if you have additional topics for working groups, please share by emailing dean@paris.edu.

 

Linda Jarvin
President of PCA

Professional Development and Training

In order to identify the best facilitator and training opportunities, we asked each member of staff to engage in self-reflection by answering a series of prompts. For true learning to occur one needs to know what knowledge and beliefs the learner holds so that the teaching is targeted at the appropriate level. The synthesis of the self-reflections helped us get a clearer picture of the level of awareness and thinking about issues of diversity and inclusion. It became clear that we need to start with creating a shared frame of reference and vocabulary, and staff have been assigned readings on four key concepts: Promoting allyship, Intersectionality, White Privilege, and Decolonizing the Curriculum. In parallel we are researching professional development providers and trainers to bring to campus, and building an in-house database of popular and scholarly resources.

Working groups

Through discussions with chairs and staff we have identified the following priority areas and created working groups for each one of them. Each group has a designated coordinator. This is not an exhaustive list and more working groups will be created over time. The initial working groups are tasked with

  • Identifying training opportunities for faculty, students and staff;
  • Revising the course evaluation process to include questions addressing institutional climate;
  • Actively promoting more diverse faculty & staff hires;
  • Developing a policy and procedure for addressing concerns  from students, faculty and staff;
  • Seeking out a broader range of guests for PCA Talks and juries.

The working groups will present their recommendations to an advisory board comprised of faculty, staff and student representatives, and the advisory board will make final decisions about how best to allocate resources.

Management and fiscal resources

Megan Tierney has accepted the role as special advisor to the President on diversity and inclusion and will oversee the progress of working groups, establish new working groups as needed, and act as a bridge between the President, the advisory group and the Diversity & Inclusion Committee. In consultation with the advisory group she will advise on the allocation of fiscal resources to training and other initiatives.