SADAH Diversity Statement 

The School of Art, Design and Art History believes that equity, access and inclusion are vital for the preparation and practice of contemporary artists, designers, art historians and art educators. The school builds inclusive environments by promoting diversity in faculty, staff and students through scholarship, the curriculum, school events and programming. We actively welcome, recognize and honor people from all backgrounds, regardless of race, color, ability, neurodiversity, age, diverse perspectives, ethnicity, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation and socio-economic class. 

SADAH Commitment Statement

Consistent with our school’s mission and vision, SADAH faculty and staff are committed to equity. We pledge to cultivate a creative environment where people feel supported, listened to and uplifted. We pursue this necessary work in our classrooms, studios, exhibitions, professional practices and scholarship, and in our lives. Our calls to action include, but are not limited to: participating in diversity, equity and inclusion training and workshops; listening, learning and reflection; and addressing DEI during every faculty and staff meeting to ensure an ongoing commitment throughout the school. 

SADAH is working to develop connections and strengthen relationships within the school’s immediate community as well as local and global publics in the belief that a multiplicity of voices makes SADAH a more inspiring arts institution. A SADAH Committee on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion was established in Spring 2021 to work towards a learning community that is free from micro-aggressions, harassment, racism and other forms of discrimination, that supports the success of all students, faculty and staff.

SADAH’s Committee on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion with our faculty and staff are actively working together on these goals:

  • Increasing diversity among our faculty, staff and students.
  • Elevating and ensuring the support of our current faculty, staff, and students who are BIPOC, LGBTQ+, persons with disabilities or members of marginalized groups.
  • Improving admission and enrollment of students from diverse backgrounds.
  • Creating an anti-racist and anti-discriminatory environment in SADAH.
  • Reviewing curriculum and policy through the lens of equity, diversity and inclusion so as to dismantle white supremacy and heteropatriarchy.
  • Building inclusive and equitable processes in school decision making.
New Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Named

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Art professor Susan Zurbrigg is the Assistant Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives for the CVPA. A recent recipient of the Beck Faculty Fellowship, she has been a tireless advocate for change through the arts at JMU and in the Harrisonburg and Rockingham communities through the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation "Change the Narrative" project.

In Fall 2019, Zurbrigg staged an art intervention with JMU students that memorialized Charlotte Harris, a black woman lynched by a white mob near Harrisonburg in 1878. On Sept. 26, 2020, the Northeast Neighborhood Association and the Harrisonburg Community Remembrance Project unveiled a historical marker for Harris in Court Square. The community was invited to attend the unveiling ceremony virtually on The City of Harrisonburg's Facebook page.

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