Academic Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Alum Sam Kirk's art celebrates underrepresented communities and is on the cover of the DEI website. Columbia alum Sam Kirk '05, who has exhibited work widely in the US and abroad, creates artwork that recognizes and celebrates underrepresented communities.This detail from “Weaving Culture” (2016), a collaboration with Sandra Antongiorgi and located in the Pilsen neighborhood, was commissioned by the Chicago Public Art Group. Photo: Phil Dembinski '08.

Welcome to the website for Academic Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at Columbia College Chicago. Academic DEI was established to sustain a central commitment to our College's mission and strategic plan.

As a college, we are committed to an anti-racist campus that takes head-on the systemic issues of racial and other forms of discrimination that permeate the whole of our society. One of our central foci in the area of DEI is enhancing our curriculum to challenge the hegemonic emphasis on canonical cultural and artistic traditions, which often result in a lack of diverse narratives. Along with our engagement with curriculum, we are committed to addressing issues of power and privilege in each of the disciplines we teach as well as all of the various structures that we use to support our students, faculty, and staff.

We are fortunate to have had our colleagues Onye Ozuzu and Matthew Shenoda, who laid the groundwork for this work beginning with a college-wide set of workshops on anti-racism led by The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. Columbia has provided workshops for every full-time faculty and staff member at our college in order to provide a foundational framework and shared language to incorporate the work of anti-racism into the very fabric of our institution.

As the co-directors of Academic DEI, we are charged along with Columbia’s leadership and community, to work towards the structural transformation of the institution to reflect anti-racism in all of the ways we approach and reflect our scholarship, creative practices, and educational mission. We will continue to develop ways to actualize the Undoing Racism workshop content in our classrooms, curricula, and overall campus culture.

We think it is of utmost importance to transform the student experience first and foremost in the classroom. In academic year 2017-18 we launched our first targeted cluster hire and will continue this year with three tenure track faculty hires in TheatreCinema and Television Arts, and Fashion Studies. Each of these individuals will bring an expertise on race and issues of diversity into the classrooms of their respective disciplines. Along with our academic initiatives we will also continue with a series of public programming that brings to campus scholars and artists who through their work examine various issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

This work can be difficult, challenging, and uncomfortable, and we know that the Columbia community is up for it. There will be formal opportunities to engage in this work, but please reach out to us at any time. We would like to hear from you! Visit our resource page frequently, which is evolving with new information reflecting the national dialogue on diversity, equity, and inclusion.




Raquel Monroe, PhD
Dance Associate Professor 


Jessica Meharry 
Business and Entrepreneurship 

Co-Directors of Academic Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion