Initiatives - Maine College of Art

Initiatives

Efforts to create a more inclusive campus community

The Diversity Committee at MECA partners with students, faculty, and staff to address the institution’s strategic goals around diversity. The committee reports to the Dean of the College and as is made up of thirteen staff and faculty members. It is broken up into five working groups. Each of these groups has its own purpose and goals with the aim of carrying out College initiatives.

Admissions, Retention, and Resources

Assesses the needs of past, present, and future MECA students and identifies potential resources to support recruitment and retention of students from an array of diverse backgrounds.

The Admissions, Retention, and Resources Group reviews student demographics, current recruitment strategies, and retention methods in order to build on efforts to recruit and retain diverse students. As part of the retention efforts, the group identifies resources available to support students of color and international students. Work is underway to establish best practices for current students around campus climate surveys, with the long-term goal of creating annual surveys for alumni once a process for current students is fully refined.

Community Partnerships

Works with community partners to identify insights, recommendations, and assessments of the College and its work in forming meaningful partnerships with Portland’s diverse artistic communities.

MECA has a long history of partnering with community organizations through our Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and Public Engagement (PE) Programs, which help support the institution’s initiatives and outcomes around diversity. In 2018, the Diversity Committee’s Community Partnerships Group was launched to further support MECA in its role as an arts institution in the state’s most diverse city. Members of the group provide insights, recommendations, and assessments of the College and its work in forming meaningfully partnerships with Portland’s diverse artistic communities. Our community partners, along with MECA, recognize the reciprocal nature of our partnerships and relationships, with the broader goal of training artists for life. Our belief is that discourse, engagement, and interruptions of the status quo enrich the learning environment. Actively seeking to know and collaborate deeply with people with diverse perspectives implores us to reach beyond and invite people into our institution. To partner with the Community Partnership Group, request recommendations, or seek feedback, contact diversity@meca.edu.

Curriculum

Interfaces with faculty, promotes the opportunity to rethink diversity in the curriculum, and facilitates implementation of a curriculum matrix.

The Curriculum Group interfaces with faculty, promotes the opportunity to rethink diversity in the curriculum, and facilitates implementation of a curriculum matrix. Their work is informed by models and language from other art schools and universities that are developing “inclusive pedagogy”.

Faculty and Staff Education

Identifies, plans, and assesses strategies for staff and faculty education around diversity and inclusion.

The Faculty and Staff Education Group seeks ways in which to weave educational events and opportunities into the curriculum and MECA’s campus culture. The group, working alongside members of the Diversity Committee, has developed an online toolkit for staff and faculty and is exploring distribution of a campus climate survey as a means to develop areas of support for faculty and staff of color.

Hiring

Researches, compiles, and works to implement successful practices primarily around hiring diverse candidates.

The Faculty and Staff Hiring Group researches and compiles information about institutional best practices, primarily around hiring diverse candidates. A summary of their research is available as a resource and tool for evaluating MECA’s current practices and identifying areas of improvement.