CCAD is a place for you. 

People who think differently. People who refuse to stay within a box, stereotype, line, or any other boundary that restricts self-expression. Diversity moves art forward. Diversity makes our connected community even stronger.

Presidential Commission on DEI plan DEI plan Bias Incident Reporting  HB 616 statement


CCAD’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

We at CCAD believe that a diverse faculty, staff, and student body enriches our community and is a fundamental aspect for fostering equity, innovation, collaboration, and creative excellence.

CCAD defines diversity as the range of human differences that intersect across multiple dimensions of personhood, including but not limited to: race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic class, disability status, religious or ethical value systems, national origin, and citizenship status.

As we strive to address our past and current inequities, we commit to using this definition to inform and guide our curriculum, programs, and conduct as we strive to create a learning environment that increases access to art and design education and prepares students to be creatively engaged citizens.

At CCAD we are determined to foster an environment of inclusion and equity by:

  • Recognizing the inherent worth and dignity of all individuals 
  • Striving to create a just and equitable community which affords everyone the opportunity to succeed and thrive particularly those who have been historically underrepresented or marginalized in higher education
  • Encouraging respectful dialogue, honest critique, and the open exchange of ideas and perspectives
  • Acknowledging the values, practices, and beliefs of all community members while recognizing and ensuring the protection of each person's inalienable human rights 
  • Providing opportunities for community members to share their cultural experiences and personhood and encouraging us all to learn from these exchanges
  • Increasing access to art and design education locally and regionally by fostering engagement within the communities of which CCAD is a part


pride buttons


Ways that CCAD strives to live by its commitments to equity and inclusion, "making inclusivity the new norm":

  • Gender-inclusive bathrooms — In reflection of CCAD's diverse population, the college has gender-inclusive restroom facilities are available in every building on our campus.
  • Preferred name policy — Students can identify their preferred name in the student information system (Self Service) and Moodle and have that name be viewable on some school documents and records, such as class rosters and student ID cards.
  • Counseling & Wellness Center — The CWC contributes to students' professional and interpersonal success by providing student-centered therapeutic, programmatic, and educational services. 
  • First Female President — Dr. Melanie Corn became CCAD's President in 2016. She is the college's fifth president and the first woman to hold this role at CCAD.
  • Special Topics courses —  With study on issues such as Human Trafficking, Special Topics courses provide students the opportunity to use art and design to support social change in and out of the classroom
  • Support Services  — A span of services are available to CCAD students, including multicultural affairs programming, academic advising, and career services.
  • Engagement and Inclusion Retreat — The Engagement and Inclusion retreat provides an opportunity for students, staff, and faculty to develop leadership skills that will help them to positively address issues of diversity and promote social change through a combination of large and small group activities, exercises, and discussions.
  • Heritage monthly poster campaigns — This series of poster campaigns celebrates and highlights artists and designers from underrepresented populations


All Columbus College of Art & Design faculty began anti-oppression pedagogy training in spring semester 2021 as part of a new Action Plan set by the CCAD’s Presidential Commission on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. This commission, founded in July 2020, is intended to help CCAD grow with intention into a more inclusive and equitable institution that fully enacts its Mission and Core Values

In the accompanying video, two DEI Commission members, Dean of Faculty Joshua Butts, PhD and Adjunct Faculty Sierra Austin, PhD, discuss this training, which was developed for CCAD’s faculty by Dr. Austin. The lessons take faculty members through six two-week modules on such topics as structural racism, intersectionality, and implicit bias and are intended to help illuminate how power and structural oppression impact pedagogy and day-to-day interactions on campus and off. That learning, alongside feedback from students and alumni—particularly CCAD’s Black students and alumni—is intended to translate into the classroom to affect social change.

See the video

CCAD opposes “Don’t Say Gay” bill

In mid-April 2022, Columbus College of Art & Design President Melanie Corn signed, on CCAD’s behalf, two public letters from Columbus City Council and Ohio Business Competes opposing Ohio House Bill 616. HB 616, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay or Mention Race Bill,” which would restrict schools’ ability to discuss sexual orientation, gender identity, or “divisive or inherently racist concepts” such as critical race theory, diversity, equity, and inclusion learning outcomes. 

Intentional Inclusivity is core to The CCAD Way. Bills such as HB 616 are in direct opposition to our support for diversity, equity, and inclusion and our approach to freedom of expression and inquiry in the classroom. We believe that the bill’s broad, open-ended ban on race- and gender-related topics doesn't just deprive all Ohio students of a well-rounded education, it also puts some of Ohio’s most vulnerable children in unsafe and unwelcoming classrooms. This bill also goes beyond Florida’s well-known (and roundly criticized) “Don’t Say Gay” bill by extending censorship through 12th-grade classrooms.

In short, this bill tries to erase LGBTQ+ people from the classroom, and it ignores important facets of U.S. and Ohio history. We cannot build a more just state if we are unwilling to face our past with honesty, openness, and from diverse perspectives. This bill’s extreme nature will damage Ohio’s reputation, and it will make the state less inviting to both current and prospective students as well as our alumni hoping to contribute to the region’s creative economy.  

CCAD believes we are better—stronger, more talented, and more poised for economic success—when we work together for racial justice and equity, and when we welcome and support transgender and LGBTQ+ people. They are our students, our employees, our alumni, our friends and family, our community. There are no benefits to this legislation.


Students & alumni get involved