The work of cultivating a genuinely rich and diverse learning environment at RISD defined by equality of access and opportunity is inherently complex, multilayered and dynamic—subject to constant assessment and adjustment. Since it requires both centralized leadership and a strong and coherent vision for coordinating various components of our plan at the macro and micro levels, we are creating a new position for a Vice President of Social Equity and Inclusion.

This VP will be charged with realizing a comprehensive, progressive vision for equity and inclusive community-building at RISD and will oversee a dedicated Office of Social Equity and Inclusion. Close work with an advisory group and ongoing communication with students will help ensure that all members of our campus community get involved, share their ideas and voice their concerns.

“Inherited ideological positions can cause us to render obscure our own complacency towards and collusion with oppressive systems of power. However, these positions need not be static. We can actually evolve in our thinking and in turn evolve in our actions.” Lisi Raskin / associate professor + department head / Sculpture

Initial SEA Working Group

In February 2016, President Somerson created a Social Equity Action (SEA) working group of students, faculty and staff charged with recommending concrete strategies to help create a more diverse, inclusive and equitable environment at RISD. After months of thoughtful and dedicated work, the SEA group presented recommendations that became the foundation of the Social Equity and Inclusion Action Plan released in September 2017.

The following individuals contributed their time and energy to the SEA working group:

Patricia Felisa Barbeito, chair (Professor of Literary Arts and Studies)

Michael Siegel, co-chair (Special Assistant to the President for Communications)

Candace Baer (Vice President of Human Resources)

Barbara Baker (Director of Intercultural Student Engagement)

Julie Benbassat (student / BFA 19 IL)

Tracie Costantino (Associate Provost + Dean of the Faculty)

Paula Gaetano-Adi (Assistant Professor of Experimental and Foundation Studies)

David Guy (student / BFA 19 SC)

Tony Johnson (Assistant Dean of Student Affairs)

Elizabeth Leeper (Graduate Student Alliance representative)

Mariani Lefas-Tetenes (Assistant Director, K–12 School and Teacher Programs, RISD Museum)

Lisa Maione (Graduate Student Alliance representative)

Ed Newhall (Associate Vice President of Enrollment)

Khipra Nichols (Professor of Industrial Design)

Anthony “Utē” Petit (student / BFA 18 ID + TX)

Jennifer Prewitt-Freilino (Associate Professor + Department Head of History, Philosophy and the Social Sciences)

Lisi Raskin (Associate Professor + Department Head of Sculpture)

Emma Werowinski (student / BFA 18 TX)

Qualeasha Wood (student / BFA 19 PR)

SEI Advisory Council

Once a new Vice President of SEI is appointed, that person will create and lead an SEI Advisory Council to continue to bring various voices from the campus community to the table as RISD develops new policies and initiatives to further our goals. The council will include full- and part-time faculty and staff members along with undergraduate and graduate students. As spelled out in the full SEI Action Plan, members will also contribute to the content development of this website, among many other charges.