SCAD Creates Office of Inclusion, New Scholarship Program

Aug 13, 2020 by

In June, SCAD announced a number of related initiatives designed to ensure the university continues to foster an atmosphere of positivity and inclusion for all students. “SCAD was founded upon a belief that every dream worth having is a dream worth realizing, and this is why we stand with those who cry out against racial injustice,” said SCAD President Paula Wallace in an announcement released on social media. “Our university is fortunate to have a strong Black community to help guide our progress in the struggle to shape the future for good.”

In recent days, the university has held discussions with Black faculty members, staff members, alumni, students, friends, and leaders of the SCAD Atlanta and SCAD Savannah Black Student Associations. Among the actions and initiatives announced by SCAD are the addition of 15 endowed scholarships for Black students and an increase of scholarships for under-resourced students to attend SCAD summer programs (such as “Rising Star” and “Summer Seminars”). Additionally, SCAD has created an office of inclusivity and appointed Erina Tandy as the executive director of this new office, to play a central role in the recruitment and retention of Black students, professors, and staff members, and serve as an advocate for members of the SCAD community through continuous engagement and surveys on inclusivity.

Tandy will help assess and ensure fair representation of artists of color in SCAD curriculum and exhibitions, with recommendations drawn from a diverse team of SCAD professors and students, and will direct a calendar of regular conversations within the university community. SCAD students are invited to share their ideas and proposals for the office of inclusion by sending an email to myidea@scad.edu. SCAD has also announced wider initiatives designed to address systemic racism among the university community by developing and requiring professional development for all faculty and staff members to address unconscious bias and learn effective strategies to engage diverse perspectives and by creating content for required first-year courses to address relevant topics.

Those wanting more information about SCAD’s history and commitment to diversity and inclusion are encouraged to visit www.SCAD.edu, which details past initiatives, such SCAD’s leadership in the project to restore the First African Baptist Church on Sapelo Island in 2000 and the creation of the Walter O. Evans Center for African American Studies at the SCAD Museum of Art in 2011. Related projects include SCAD’s contributions to the reestablishment of the Beach Institute and the creation of an African American monument on River Street in Savannah. More recent updates can be found on the website as well including a new public art work at the Gutstein Gallery of SCAD Savannah and the FORTY residence hall of SCAD Atlanta, created in a collaboration of SCAD alumni Tayler Ayers (M.A. creative business leadership; B.F.A., fibers, 2019) and Will Penny (M.F.A., painting, 2013; B.F.A., painting, 2008).

“Too many dreams have been deferred,” Wallace said in the announcement. “We will continue to prepare students to become professional artists, designers, performers, storytellers, entrepreneurs, and leaders who see their dreams realized and who dedicate their lives to changing the world.”

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