Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice Council

The College of Visual and Performing Arts is committed to providing a learning environment that is inclusive and respectful of diverse communities. As creators, we have the power to raise awareness, create meaningful change, and impact social justice—empowering students to become informed, responsible citizens. We are dedicated to being a community of creatives who promote and advance students independent of gender identity, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, political beliefs, age, and other social identities and life experiences. The ArtsWinthrop community encourages and appreciates expressions of different ideas, opinions, and beliefs. Listening to and respecting individual differences is critical in transforming a collection of diverse individuals into an inclusive, collaborative, and creative learning community, where we take responsibility for our actions and treat everyone with dignity.

The ArtsWinthrop Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice Council oversees the work of the department committees to ensure that the needs of the college’s BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and LGBTQ+ students are appropriately being met, including but not limited to developing a holistic and systematic approach to modifying curriculum (updating existing curriculum and creating new curriculum through an anti-racist, non-gender/orientation-biased, and critical pedagogical lens); ensuring all faculty and staff searches have appropriate diversity advocate representation; ensuring all faculty are participating in implicit bias training on a regular basis; and ensuring the college’s commitment to empowering students to become informed, responsible citizens with the potential to have a positive impact on our society.


Theatre and Dance DEI Committee

Members: The faculty of the department serves as committee-of-the-whole in supporting compliance with diversity standards and goals for all Theatre and Dance programs. Student representatives are included.

The departmental D.E.I. Committee created a D.E.I. statement and published on the departmental website. Actions items that have been implemented:

Analysis of current curriculum has begun by faculty of both Theatre and Dance, with the explicit goal to decolonize our teaching of history, theory, choreography, design, directing, and performance. We are working to strengthen and integrate these principles into all areas and programs of the department. Curriculum action has been submitted to make THRT 442: African American Theatre an intensive writing course, and to be offered annually as a choice for all theatre concentrations to replace THRT 386: Theatre History and Literature II, since they cover the same time period.

A new course, THRT 215: Black Playwriting, has been proposed, to be offered in a theatre student’s freshman year. This course will be submitted as Global Studies course, and be offered as an option to THRT 210: Script Analysis. this course action responds to the student request, by not creating a separate new requirement, but by offering students a more racially diversified option to fulfill an existing requirement. In addition, the culminating performance built into this course will be a way to encourage more performances by artists of color in the department. Ideally, the playwriting aspects of the course will also reorient student relationships to dramatic literature.

Course Policy

All Dance technique classes have made changes in their syllabi to address language in the dress policy concerning hair and nails that follows safety protocols but removes discriminatory practice and language as well as gender specifics.


Music DEI Committee

Members include faculty and students.

  • The committee discussed what could be done to make the music cirriculum more inclusive. Creating a stand-alone World Music course or a third music history class that would come from an ethnomusicology focus was mentioned. Within the confines of a very tight curriculum schedule as mandated by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) it was discussed embedding more world music course material into the current curriculum would be more feasible.
  • In terms of repertory, the committee encourages instructors to compile lists of examples that are more inclusive into a shared list. 
  • Instructors encourage students to seek out diverse works which represent a wide variety of races, cultures, and genders. 


Fine Arts DEI Committee

Members include faculty and students.

  • Visiting Artist and Scholar Committee along with the Fine Arts faculty put their energy into existing partnerships and forming new ones to bring in artists and scholars from diverse communities, so as to better represent our student body.
  • Town halls are held: focused on listening to students' concerns regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion so as to form the basis of the Fine Arts DEI committee mission and to create action items for the department to fulfill our goal to create a culture of inclusion in our courses and department. 
  • Action items include:
    1. Conduct workshops for faculty members to reflect on inclusive teaching practices and address microagressions that may occur inside and outside the classroom
    2. Facilitate workshop for faculty members to establish strategies and procedures to use in the classroom when getting to know our students' preferred pronouns and names.
    3. Create DEI syllabus statement.
    4. Department chair works with Admissions to ensure we are recruiting from schools with diverse communities.
    5. Department chair will work on designating some scholarship funds specifically for minority students.
    6. Faculty will continue to build partnerships to bring artists and scholars from diverse communities so as to better represent our student body.
    7. Department chair will follow up with the Student Affairs to voice concerns from our veteran students. The Fine Arts department will act as a liasion in future difficult situations for our veteran students.


Design DEI Committee

Members include faculty and students.

The Department of Design actions:

  • A DEI statement to include in our department's syllabus
  • A scholarship fund to increase BIPOC enrollment
  • Create a teaching mentorship for BIPOC undergrad students with the intent to increase diversity among faculty in higher education.
  • Create a workshop focusing on graduate school opportunities, experiences, enrollment process.
  • Create a DEI-focuses database and resource list for students.
  • Create open workshops & gatherings (as cultural events) for all department of design faculty, alumni, and students to discuss solutions to improve DEI in the department and the larger design discipline
  • Expand curriculum in the History of Design and Illustration to include BIPOC creatives more fully
  • Expand curriculum in History of Interior Design to include BIPOC creatives more fully