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. Since it requires both centralized leadership and a strong and coherent vision, we are creating a new position for a Vice President of Social Equity and Inclusion.

This VP will oversee a dedicated SEI office and work closely with an advisory group comprised of students, faculty and staff. Open 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 the Social Equity Action (SEA) working group. Comprised of students, faculty and staff, the SEA group’s charge was to recommend concrete strategies to help create a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable RISD. After a great deal of thoughtful and dedicated work, the SEA group presented their recommendations to President Somerson in November 2016.

The SEA working group members include:

  • Patricia Felisa Barbeito, Chair (Professor, Literary Arts + Studies)
  • Michael Siegel, Co-Chair (Special Assistant to the President for Communications)
  • Candace Baer (Vice President, Human Resources)
  • Barbara Baker (Director, Intercultural Student Engagement)
  • Julie Benbassat (19 IL)
  • Tracie Costantino (Associate Provost and Dean of the Faculty)
  • Paula Gaetano-Adi (Assistant Professor, Experimental + Foundation Studies)
  • David Guy (19 SC)
  • Tony Johnson (Assistant Dean of Student Affairs)
  • Elizabeth Leeper (Graduate Student Alliance Representative)
  • Mariani Lefas-Tetenes (Assistant Director, K-12 School + Teacher Programs, Museum)
  • Lisa Maione (Graduate Student Alliance Representative)
  • Ed Newhall (Associate Vice President, Enrollment)
  • Khipra Nichols (Professor, Industrial Design)
  • Anthony “Utē” Petit (18 ID + TX)
  • Jennifer Prewitt-Freilino (Associate Professor, History, Philosophy + Social Sciences)
  • Lisi Raskin (Associate Professor, Sculpture)
  • Emma Werowinski (18 TX)
  • Qualeasha Wood (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.