Commitment to Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

We celebrate our diverse population and are committed to growing and sustaining a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our commitment in the School of Design is to nurture, support, and enable all students, staff, and faculty to develop to their full potential. We value collective strength and difference, while recognizing that the School and the field of design have more work to do to embrace other ways of knowing, doing, and being. 

We recognize the force that design and designers can be in the world, and believe that it is important that we cultivate a culture of inclusive collaboration to grapple with the complex problems facing society today. Understanding and welcoming our differences helps position designers and design to address imbalances, injustices, and inequity in the world.

We commit to ongoing efforts to recruit and retain students, staff, and faculty from all communities, cultures, and backgrounds, and to develop an inclusive curriculum that acknowledges and celebrates diversity.

This work is a living process, and together we will leverage the intellect, talents, and passions of our community to continue learning and taking thoughtful and meaningful actions toward these goals of diversity, equity, and inclusion.


Over the past months, we have had several fruitful conversations with various diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) experts to understand best practices and ways to identify changes to the School and how it might operate more inclusively for our community. For the time being, we are working with Vibrant Pittsburgh for the initial stages of our DEI work. Vibrant has proposed the following next steps: 

  • Host a series of conversations for the student body community, faculty, and staff to gauge thoughts, feelings, and concerns about the School's current "culture/climate."
  • Actively engage and align the work with the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion.
  • Assess our current employment criteria for both adjunct and full-time candidates and identify any existing barriers in the interview/applicant process.

The following are relevant topics to guide our strategic planning process and next steps:

  • Reinvigorate past discussions about how to participate in outreach to K-12 and especially essential high schools to attract more diverse student applicants at the undergraduate level, while also pursuing parallel ideas to diversify our student body.
  • Evaluate and revise the curriculum as needed to address issues of DEI in courses and project work.
  • Undergo proactive discussion about supporting all our students for success by collaborating with CMU's expert divisions and resources.
  • Work with other CFA schools that have successfully pioneered diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.
  • Require all faculty and staff to train on implicit bias, microaggressive behavior, and other related offerings that inspire self-reflection and behavior change.
  • Ensure our representation and participation in campus DEI initiatives, including the campus climate's task force.
  • Create a repository of resources on these and other topics, with shared contributions and access by students, staff, faculty, and alumni.
  • Create mechanisms and processes for students to openly share their concerns as they occur, beyond the more functionally-intended FCE and SAC forums.
  • Further, engage our alumni in these and other initiatives.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the College of Fine Arts

DEI Glossary of Terms