Social Equity Action (SEA) Working Group

Social Equity Action (SEA) is a working group inaugurated by President Somerson in February 2016 and charged with proposing concrete strategies towards creating a more inclusive, diverse, and equitable RISD. SEA considers, researches, and responds to the following questions:

  • What is RISD’s institutional history relative to questions of inclusion, diversity, and social equity?
  • What initiatives and actions have been successful in creating an inclusive, diverse, and socially equitable institution?
  • What are the areas that still need improvement?
  • What have been and remain some of the obstacles to achieving further success in these areas, and how can we move towards addressing and surpassing these obstacles?
  • What new operations, policies, and structures of accountability and oversight can be instituted to support this process of fostering inclusion, diversity, and social equity so that it is continual and sustainable?
  • What, in short, does an inclusive, diverse, and socially equitable RISD look like, how do we get there, and how do we sustain our efforts?

SEA will develop and write a Social Equity Action Plan (SEAP), deliverable by Fall 2016. The purpose of the SEAP will be to recommend a series of concrete, realistic strategies and steps for creating and sustaining a more inclusive, diverse, and socially equitable institution. The SEAP will be shared with the community at large and presented to Cabinet, which will consider its recommendations and determine which elements to activate immediately and which to consider for the College’s next Strategic Plan.

Current Working Group Members

  • Patricia Felisa Barbeito, Chair (Professor, Literary Arts + Studies)
  • Candace Baer (Vice President, Human Resources)
  • Barbara Baker (Director of Intercultural Student Engagement)
  • Julie Benbassat (Illustration 2019)
  • Tracie Costantino (Dean of the Faculty)
  • Paula Gaetano-Adi (Assistant Professor, Experimental + Foundation Studies)
  • David Guy (Sculpture 2019)
  • Tony Johnson (Assistant Dean of Student Affairs)
  • Elizabeth Leeper (Graduate Student Alliance Representative)
  • Mariani Lefas-Tetenes (Assistant Director, School + Teacher Programs, RISD Museum)
  • Khipra Nichols (Associate Professor, Industrial Design)
  • Anthony “Utē” Petit (Industrial Design and Textiles 2018)
  • Jennifer Prewitt-Freilino (Associate Professor and Department Head, History, Philosophy + the Social Sciences)
  • Lisi Raskin (Associate Professor and Department Head, Sculpture)
  • Emma Werowinski (Textiles 2018)