Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) seeks a Vice President for Social Equity and Inclusion to develop and implement a comprehensive, progressive vision for equitable and inclusive community-building at RISD. As an institution geared for innovation and leadership, RISD is primed to take its commitment to inclusion and equity to the next level; strengthening structures, processes, and pedagogies to reflect and promote a dynamic learning culture of inclusion and equity. In this inaugural role, the Vice President for Social Equity and Inclusion (VPSEI) will oversee an Office of Social Equity and Inclusion. The VPSEI will guide and coordinate all institution-wide efforts to make the RISD community more demographically diverse and welcoming of difference, ensuring that students of all cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds have the access, opportunity, and support they need to benefit fully from the RISD educational experience.
Founded in 1877, RISD has earned an international reputation as a leader in art and design education. It is recognized for its renowned faculty of artists and designers, the breadth of its specialized facilities, and the intensity of its studio-based approach to learning – an approach where critical thinking informs the making of works by hand. Approximately 2,540 students from around the world study at RISD, pursuing full-time bachelor’s or master’s degree programs in 19 fine arts, architecture or design majors, complemented by essential study in the liberal arts. The RISD Museum, with the third largest college or university museum collection in the country, is an integral part of the institution and a resource for the College and the larger community. RSID’s mission incorporates artistic and scholarly achievement with social impact, and has played a vital role in preparing students for leadership roles in all sectors, as demonstrated through the outstanding and varied accomplishments of its 27,000 alumni.
Reporting to the President, the VPSEI will oversee the Office of Social Equity and Inclusion and serve as an advisor, bridge builder, strategic leader, and partner, enabling leaders across the RISD community to identify and execute initiatives to ensure that diversity, inclusion, and equity are built into the very institutional architecture of the College. The incoming VPSEI will find an atmosphere of vibrant intellectual energy and spirit of freedom, openness, and experimentation that drives a palpable appetite to take on the complex and most essential questions in life. Students, faculty, and staff are fearless in their ideas and deeply committed to their work. The RISD community is a wonderful and passionate collection of people who process in ways that are creative and artistically expressive. These qualities constitute an extraordinary resource with which to grapple with questions of diversity and inclusion. RISD has a committed leadership team and the VPSEI will arrive at a time of clear expectations for the future. Working in close partnership with stakeholders across the institution, the VPSEI will be supported by human and financial resources to realize RISD’s Plan for Social Equity and Inclusion and ensure that all members of the community feel affirmed, engaged, and challenged.
The VPSEI must bring a diplomatic and inspiring leadership style to galvanize the entire RISD community around a shared understanding of diversity and inclusion and engage stakeholders to negotiate courageously the complex issues that emerge at the intersection of art, expression, and creative making. This person must be able to implement a clear strategic vision, bring people across all units of the College together, and educate and include faculty, students, and staff in meaningful dialogue and transformative action. A demonstrated track record of success in developing and implementing diversity and inclusion strategic plans within a complex institutional environment, commitment to the arts, and an appreciation of the creative mind are essential qualifications for the position.
A search committee has been formed to conduct the search, assisted by the executive search firm Isaacson, Miller. All applications, inquiries and nominations should be directed to the search firm as indicated at the end of this document.