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Recent Changes to Increase Diversity and Equity

  • Two new faculty joined our department summer and fall of 2020:

1. Assistant Professor Rujeko Dumbutshena, whose focus is African dance, with specific expertise in Zimbabwean dance and culture

2. Artist–in-Residence (two year renewable) Alana Isiguen, who will teach contemporary ballet, among other subjects, choreograph, and direct annual concerts.

  • The new chair began July 1, 2020. Associate Professor Christina Sunardi, from Ethnomusicology in the School of Music, will be chair for five years.
  • We are preparing to revise our BA for the first time since 2015, with our two new faculty members, and new chair, to address issues of inequity and exclusion found in our course content. We are committed to holding focus groups as we revise the BA.
  • Legendary choreographer and teacher Ron K. Brown is celebrating the 30th anniversary of his company. As part of our Kawasaki Guest Artist Fund, he was scheduled to be in residence for about five weeks in Autumn of 2020, to teach and set a dance on our students. Due to the pandemic, we have postponed this until Autumn 2021.
  • We developed two new courses for 2019/20:

1. Embodied Liberation Theory and Praxis: Collaborative class to be taught winter 2020 by Rachel Chapman (faculty in anthropologies) and Dani Tirrell (faculty in dance), cross-listed with Anthropology. Satisfies the cross cultural requirement for the major.

2. Diaspora Negra: Afro-Latinx Dance Traditions: to be taught spring 2020 by Monica Rojas, assistant director of African Studies & Latin American and Caribbean Studies Programs at the Jackson School of International Studies. Satisfies the cross cultural requirement for the major. (Was supposed to be taught in Spring 2020 but due to the pandemic is being postponed until in-person learning can occur safely.

  • The department formalized an elected undergraduate student representative to attend faculty meetings. Meeting minutes are publicly posted. (Fall 2019)
  • We hired a guest artist to choreograph in an African or Afro-diasporic tradition for the faculty dance concerts in 2019 and 2020.
  • The department re-organized the modern and ballet curriculum so that only three levels of these idioms are offered (after introductory courses), to help redress the over-representation of these forms in our curriculum. (Fall 2019)
  • We are engaged in the ongoing expansion of our curriculum to include a wider variety of dance styles.
  • We undertake ongoing revisions to our course schedule to offer different dance forms at a variety of times.
  • Faculty have undertaken revision to specific courses to include examples and content from more diverse dance forms and cultures and will continue to do so.
  • We have committed to continued recruitment of faculty of color, especially those specializing in African and/or African Diasporic form(s).
  • A percentage of spaces in high-demand classes are reserved for EOP students.
  • We created a document that spells out options for communicating concerns, complaints, and suggestions to be posted in the building, on our site, on our syllabi, and sent to all students. 
  • The department retitled introductory courses to reflect their content as an introduction to ballet and modern (winter 2019).
  • The department initiated and supported the formation of a student-run Arts Diversity Council (fall 2018)
  • We created a Department Diversity Committee including faculty, student, and staff members (fall 2018).
    • We are hiring Jabali Stewart, Intercultural / Inclusion Consultant, to facilitate five meetings with the full-time faculty and The Diversity Committee. The first meeting is Dec. 3rd, 2019.
  • We began including a native land acknowledgment at the outset of public performances (began spring 2018).
  • We launched a revised dance major in 2015 that no longer requires students to reach an intermediate level in ballet and modern by the end of their degree and instead requires students to study at least four different dance techniques.
  • Continual revisions to course schedule to offer different dance forms at a variety of times
  • Continual revision to specific courses to include examples and content from more diverse dance forms and cultures