Presidential Commission on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion plan

CCAD takes action on diversity, equity, and inclusiveness

As an institution of learning, Columbus College of Art & Design must do better in promoting its core values and breaking down all forms of systemic racism and inequality that exist within the college. Here is a summary of new commitments and actions that we will be taking in four areas, based in part on what we heard from students, alumni, faculty, and staff after recent protests against social injustice in Columbus and elsewhere following the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 while in the custody of Minneapolis police. 

We understand this is just the start to making much-needed change and will incorporate more feedback as conversations continue. The Presidential Commission on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion will publish our plan and develop specific metrics to keep our entire community accountable.

Please check back for updates to this plan. 


Using Our Voice as a Community Leader | New


  • CCAD acknowledges and condemns anti-Black violence committed by the Columbus Division of Police. We recognize this as a symptom of the larger forces of institutionalized racism and oppression inherent in our nation’s systems of law enforcement and will urge the CDP to adopt policies and increase training that will reduce police violence. (See for a list of reforms.) 
  • CCAD upholds the rights of our students, alumni, faculty, and staff to engage in peaceful protest. We will take every opportunity to work with student organizers to understand how CCAD can best support them depending on the situation, and we stand alongside our community in support of their First Amendment rights.
  • We will use our institutional channels to advance opportunities to support and donate to social justice organizations seeking to effect change in Columbus and beyond. As a start, here are links to support two organizations: BQIC emergency fund and the Columbus Freedom Fund.

Using Our Voice as a Community Leader | Existing


  • CCAD stands by our Core Values and our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and condemns all forms of individual discrimination and systemic oppression.
  • CCAD joined hundreds of corporate and community leaders to urge Columbus City Council to sign a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis. The city and Franklin County have since made such declarations, and CCAD has urged the state of Ohio to follow suit.
  • CCAD apologized to our community for not speaking out in regards to racially motivated killings by the Columbus Division of Police —especially four years ago when Tyre King was shot by Columbus officers. This heinous act was in our own backyard, and we did not use our voice to denounce this action nor adequately care for our students who were suffering as a result of this event and the following institutional silence. For this, we are deeply sorry. 
  • CCAD will send an open letter to Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther and the Columbus Division of Police to express our deep concerns regarding the injustices committed by the police during the protests near CCAD campus on the night of Saturday, May 30. See the letter here.

Institutional Commitments | New


  • CCAD will immediately form a Presidential Commission on Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion. This group will oversee the progress on our collective work and ensure that the college remains committed to making substantive changes.  
  • We will launch diversity scholarships at the undergraduate and graduate levels with the aim of bolstering support for historically underrepresented students.
  • CCAD will strengthen our connections with Columbus City Schools and other central Ohio districts with large populations of students of color to diversify our enrollment pipeline.
  • We know that the ability to thrive and graduate is paramount for our students, and unfortunately some of our students of color—specifically our Black male students—do not graduate at the same rate as other CCAD students. Therefore, we will develop targeted strategies and resources to help Black male students overcome common barriers and succeed at CCAD.   
  • We will conduct Diversity, Equity & Inclusion campus climate surveys on a routine basis so that we are continually checking our work against the experience of our students, faculty, and staff.
  • CCAD will enhance our “Commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion” webpage to continually update our community on progress towards the goals listed here as well as related work already underway and offer further information and resources about our campus community for prospective students and employees.   
  • We will continue to diversify CCAD's Board of Trustees in terms of race, gender, and sexual orientation and commit to conducting Diversity, Equity & Inclusion training with our trustees.

Institutional Commitments | Existing


  • Beginning in 2018 CCAD’s Human Resource department started listing all job postings in diversity-specific networking/job board sites. As part of this diversity hiring initiative, we now have an annual training for all faculty search committees that focuses on hiring with an emphasis on recruiting and securing faculty of color. Additionally we've made a commitment that all finalist pools for faculty searches must be diverse.
  • In 2019, the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Taskforce focused on overall inclusion and equity issues at the college, including issues of race and ethnicity. Here are a few things the taskforce has done: 
    • Advocated for the creation of gender inclusive bathrooms in every building across campus.
    • Launched a survey asking faculty to share information about how they engage with issues of race, gender, equity, and social justice within their curriculum.
    • Worked closely with multiple departments to develop a preferred name policy that allows students to use a name other than their legal first name in a variety of college systems.
    • Collaborated with the Student Engagement & Inclusion Office to a Heritage Month Poster Campaign.  
    • Applied to become part of the Campus Pride Index; a national benchmarking tool that helps institutions to assess and improve the climate for LGBTQ people on campus.
  • Starting in January 2020 CCAD began requiring all new hires to take online racial sensitivity training and cultural competency. Additionally, the CCAD Employee Enrichment team hosted an  in-service training for CCAD faculty and staff on the role of privilege, power, and oppression in teaching in learning in the same month. We will continue to do similar training. 

Academic & Studio Experience | New


  • CCAD will work with faculty leaders to adopt the “Guidance from CCAD Faculty on an Anti-Racism and Racial Literacy Action Plan” provided on June 10, 2020. 
  • CCAD will implement targeted recruitment plans with the clearly articulated goal of hiring more faculty, staff, and administrators of color and hold hiring managers accountable for meeting goals.
  • CCAD will engage in regular anti-oppression pedagogy training for all faculty as well as general cultural competency training for all staff.
  • CCAD will develop new curricular offerings focused on racial literacy and cultural studies as well as issues of justice and equity. We will ensure that all students graduate with meaningful exposure to these issues.
  • Given the centrality of the critique process at CCAD, we will make certain that our work to develop our faculty and curriculum pays special attention to changing critique culture to one that supports all voices, experiences, and artistic practices, especially those of historically marginalized groups.

Academic & Studio Experience | Existing


  • Visiting Artists & Scholars and Events
    • In 2019, CCAD started an ongoing series of design industry panels that seek to promote dialogue about the contributions and experiences of historically marginalized groups within design fields. 
    • In 2019, the MFA Visiting Artist & Scholars series made a commitment to bringing in diverse speakers. The program also made diversity in museum studies, galleries, and the academy core part of their topic of presentation. Diversity has been a key part of new MFA chair Kelly Malec Kosak’s agenda and will continue during her tenure.
  • Beginning in Fall 2020, CCAD’s Visiting Artist & Scholars series will be facilitated by the Dean of Graduate Studies, and guided in programming choices by an advisory board from Faculty Council. Diversity will be a key criterion in speaker selection.
  • In 2018, three faculty represented CCAD in Chicago at the 2018 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Convening of the AICAD Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Task Force.
  • In early 2020, CCAD built a new required course in the MFA curriculum (launching in Fall 2020) focusing on models of critique that will analyze and deconstruct the ways in which traditional models marginalize voices and reinforce structural inequalities.  
  • Since 2017, CCAD has participated in the AICAD Post Graduate Teaching Fellowship placements and nominees. The Fellowship was founded by a group of Chief Academic Officers who all wanted to contribute to the goal of increasing the racial and ethnic diversity of AICAD faculty by offering significant professional development to our excellent graduating students of color. 


Campus Life | New


  • CCAD will immediately implement a Bias Incident Response Team to provide a centralized way for students to report concerns about bias incidents on campus and to ensure that appropriate campus leaders are aware and can take action. 
  • We will work with student government and student organization leaders to identify recurring opportunities for student voices to be heard and formalize additional occasions for student participation on various college committees.
  • CCAD will work with our identity-based student organizations to increase support for their activities including meetings, events, and exhibitions.
  • CCAD will conduct a representation analysis of our guest speakers and public events to ensure that our educational experiences with outside artists and designers are reflective of our entire CCAD student body.

Campus Life | Existing


  • Student Engagement & Inclusion Office hosts an annual Student Engagement & Inclusion Retreat to engage students in conversation around racism, inclusion, microaggressions, bystander intervention, and other topics related to allyship and support of marginalized groups (previously the Diversity & Equity Retreat).
  • Each semester, produce Heritage Month Posters that highlight and promote artists of different identity and protected class groups (LGBTQ Awareness Month, Black History Month, Disability Awareness Month, etc.).
  • Student Affairs and Student Engagement & Inclusion hosts “My Queer Family” during Family Weekend.
  • In Fall 2019, and moving forward, Student Engagement & Inclusion supported International Student Association, Queer Alliance, and Black Student Leadership Association in the promotion and execution of the “People in Color” exhibition. These three identity based organizations are considered institutionally sponsored student groups and receive extra funding and support from Student Affairs.
  • Student Affairs trains RAs and other student leaders on how to identify microaggressions and other acts of bias and how to safely intervene.
  • Student Affairs works individually with students or groups of students on social conflicts around discrimination and helps educate students on social constructs, expectations, and conflict management.
  • Counseling & Wellness Center clinicians engage in routine training centered on how to support varying identity groups through targeted therapy modalities, including all work being grounded in trauma informed practice.
  • Student Affairs offers a Quiet Reflection Room for students who need space to engage in daily or routine religious practice or observance. 
  • Student Engagement & Inclusion makes available identity based pins, stickers, and passive awareness campaigns to celebrate and promote affirming campus climates for all humans