CFA’S JEDI Committee launches dynamic learning opportunities to foster inclusion

March 29 2021

All employees in the CFA: mark your calendar for either April 9 at 3P or April 16 at 12P! RSVP info below.

With great excitement and expectation, the University of Utah College of Fine Arts’ Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) Committee is inviting and encouraging all CFA faculty and staff including graduate assistants and TAs to participate in a series of educational opportunities focused on fostering a climate of inclusion. Our vision is a college where all bodies and identities are welcomed, accepted and celebrated. We know that compassion guided by knowledge is what will catalyze real and lasting change.

“I am greatly appreciative of the JEDI Committee’s thoughtful and thorough work in providing us with these vital educational opportunities,” said Dean John Scheib. “Consistent with our core values as a College and University, and embedded within the goals and priorities outlined in our strategic plan, we are all expected, at minimum, to be able to effectively and productively interact with the people around us. Each of us having some tools and strategies, along with enhanced awareness and understandings, to help facilitate this is key to our success, and that’s why we are making these learning opportunities as accessible as possible to all."

We have partnered with the incredible higher-ed EDI practitioner and consultant, Dr. Nimisha Barton, who has deep expertise in this work and a keen interest in the arts (for example, she presented at the Annual Conference of the Society for American Music last year and has had inclusive teaching engagements with other international arts programs). We are so fortunate to have her leading this series.

Speaking of which, here’s what we have in the works:

Spring 2021
Opening session: this 90-minute interactive Zoom session will be offered twice to accommodate schedules

    • April 9 @ 3P MT 
    • April 16 @ 12P MT (RSVP now or at least 24 hours in advance)
    • For those who have conflicts and cannot attend either date, this will also be available as an asynchronous online module that can be taken any time after the two live sessions

Summer 2021
Short assignment

Fall 2021
Five thematic workshops (dates TBD)
Closing session: this 90-minute interactive session will also be offered twice (dates TBD)

We’d like your input

  • Faculty and staff: For our sessions, we’d like to pull from our community’s real experiences as learning opportunities. We’d also like to hear from you what topics are of most importance/interest as we plan the five thematic workshops. We will distribute a short survey to contribute your voice and experience to this process, so please watch for that.
  • Students: While we see the work of systematic change as being mostly the responsibility of faculty and staff, we know your experiences, efforts and input are critical to the process and to ensure it’s your experiences that are considered and addressed. To help inform our learning, we’d like to hear from you. We will be sending out a short online survey. We will also be conducting (remote) focus groups—if you’re interested in being part of those, please contact Marina Gomberg.

With respect for your chosen level of engagement
Our intention is to create spaces in which participating and sharing feels safe, as does choosing not to share. We understand, respect and honor that everyone will engage in their own way, and we are grateful for however that might look for you.

This work was inspired by the CFA’s five-year Strategic Plan, specifically the charge to provide equity, diversity, and inclusion training opportunities and dialogue forums.