Maine College of Art & Design Names William Johnson Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 

Johnson will lead strategies to address intersectionality and representation in the arts 

PORTLAND, ME March 9, 2022Maine College of Art & Design (MECA&D) today announced its appointment of William (Will) Johnson (he/him/his) to the role of Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, effective Monday, March 7, 2022. As Assistant Dean, Johnson will help continue to cultivate the culture of mutual trust, respect, and accountability described in the College's strategic plan and diversity compact.

"We are so pleased Will has joined the MECA&D community to lead our efforts in fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning environment,” said Laura Freid, President. “I am confident that Will’s higher education experience, insightful perspectives, and lifelong work in the arts will serve him well here. We are very fortunate to have him on our team.”

Johnson comes to MECA&D from the University of Southern Maine (USM), where he served as the inaugural Director of Intercultural Student Affairs. During his tenure at USM, Johnson built and co-chaired the institution’s inaugural Bias Response Team, Affinity Council, Lavender Scholars Mentoring Program, and Scholars of Color Mentoring Program. He also served on the Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Council Steering Committee and co-planned and led the Summit on Restorative Justice in Maine Higher Education. 

“If you want to create an equitable environment, you must be able to delve into the lives of those you are seeking to serve,” explained Johnson. “You must be present. You must seek to understand. You must be patient. This is the approach I will encourage throughout MECA&D as we continue to support a community and environment that lets everyone here unlock their full creative potential and voices in the world.”

Prior to joining USM, Johnson worked in Residence Life at the University of New England, where he was the Founder and Program Coordinator of the Community Assistant Program, a leadership program geared towards helping first-generation college students and students of color bridge the gap between the skills taught in secondary education and the leadership, life and resilience skills needed to succeed in higher education.

Johnson is currently completing his dissertation in the Educational Leadership doctoral program at the University of New England (UNE). He also holds a Masters of Science in Counseling from Shippensburg University and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Chestnut Hill College. In addition to his professional experience, Johnson is a trained classical opera performer, a fiction writer, and an avid baker and cook.

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Maine College of Art & Design (MECA&D, pronounced "Maine College of Art and Design”) has been activating students of all pursuits to make art, make an impact, and inspire change since its founding as Portland School of Art in 1882. Located in Portland's thriving Arts District, students have access to state-of-the-art facilities, 24-hour-a-day studios, a 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio, and a community-based Artists at Work program—making MECA&D the right-sized school in the right-sized city for every student who wants to make their mark and be seen. MECA&D offers BFA Majors and Minors, Graduate Programs, Continuing Studies, Pre-College, and includes the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies and the Institute for Contemporary Art. Follow us at @mecaart.


Jacqui Walpole, Director of External Relations