August 6, 2020 — Following a national search, Maine College of Art (MECA) has appointed Margaret Brownlee as Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer & Learning Support Coordinator, President Laura Freid announced today. Brownlee will begin her role at MECA on August 10, 2020.
“This newly created position, funded in part by a grant from the Crewe Foundation, is a critical component of MECA’s commitment to advancing equity and diversity initiatives across the institution,” said President Laura Freid. “Margaret will lead the College in planning and implementing DEI initiatives, utilizing best practices from around the country, to ensure that we meet the goals and markers outlined in our strategic planning process.”
“I am confident that Margaret will take MECA’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion to the next level,” said Shiva Darbandi, Director of the Joanne Waxman Library and Chair of the hiring committee and Co-chair of the Diversity Committee. “Margaret’s rich background in student support and higher education will be essential to her success as she cultivates an inclusive learning environment and integrates diversity-related transformational change across the College.”
Brownlee will focus on new initiatives aimed at improving Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) on campus using design thinking and principles of transformative change, and will support the Students of Color Coalition, Students of Faith Club, and Students of the LGBTQAI+ community. DEI is one of five core goals included in MECA’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan, and Brownlee will further develop MECA’s DEI strategy. MECA’s Diversity Statement and Compact, which were created to strengthen our learning community and cultivate an environment that prepares students to thrive in a diverse and global world, can be viewed here.
“There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion on college campuses – efforts must be ongoing and adaptable,” said Brownlee. “Central to success is a college-wide commitment to creating a community in which all members feel a sense of belonging. MECA has made this commitment and I am proud to help foster a campus culture defined by respect, equity, and social responsibility, where all students, specifically those from underrepresented backgrounds, feel welcome, appreciated, and empowered.”
Margaret will also oversee tutors to design inclusive workshops and one-on-one learning experiences geared towards artists. Margaret will collaborate across programs and departments to evaluate and strengthen models for writing support. She will also revisit the inclusive pedagogy work piloted by Writing & Tutoring, training tutors to work closely with faculty to help provide research support in areas of art and diversity.
Margaret is working on her doctorate (Ed.D) in Educational Leadership at UNE, holds a Master’s degree in education, and a Bachelor’s degree in performing arts. Margaret is passionate about helping college students establish a sense of belonging in higher education by facilitating conversations about intersectionality, intercultural competence, and global fluency. Outside of work, Margaret serves on the South Portland Human Rights Commission and spends time with her wife and 4-year old daughter Estella Rose.