(UPDATED JANUARY 2019)
Pratt’s leadership launched a major effort in 2015 to promote ongoing diversity, equity, and inclusion across the Institute. A Diversity Strategic Planning Committee worked with various constituents in the Pratt community through town hall meetings, and focus groups. This resulted in a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan that was finalized in 2018 and is organized into four areas of focus: Creating a Welcoming Environment, Recruiting and Retaining a Diverse Student Body, Hiring and Retaining a Diverse Faculty and Staff, and Expanding “Beyond the Gates” to the External Community. The Pratt Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council will oversee implementation of this strategic plan.
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Creating a Welcoming Environment
A team of students, faculty, and administrators assessed current perceptions of Pratt and identified what is needed to create a more welcoming environment, one in which everyone is treated with respect and professionalism, ideas are freely expressed, and differences are accepted and valued. This team developed six goals around the themes of respect, access, communication, and transparency. To support these goals, the Pratt Community Standards were also updated in 2018 for students, faculty, and staff.
- Ensure that all students and faculty feel valued and respected in every Pratt classroom and studio.
- Promote a learning environment that supports students, faculty, and staff in order to facilitate student success.
- Increase financial support for students with fewer resources.
- Improve communication and transparency across all levels of the institution.
- Develop an institution-wide staff onboarding process.
- Increase social and professional interactions and engagement among staff and faculty across the institution.
Recruiting and Retaining a Diverse Student Body
Building on work begun in 2014, when Pratt added a specific focus on African-American undergraduate students to its existing plan to increase geographic diversification of international students, this team worked with a consultant to study Pratt’s admissions, retention, and graduation by ethnicity and race in comparison with “best practice” schools and other AICAD institutions. The team determined that continued focus on African-American students and low-income students is needed, while also expanding efforts to recruit and retain other underrepresented groups. The team developed five goals to achieve these objectives.
- Expand recruitment efforts and improve yields to increase the number of underrepresented undergraduate students.
- Increase local pipelines of underrepresented undergraduate students from New York City.
- Increase the number of underrepresented students across Pratt graduate programs.
- Leverage best practices from HEOP to expand academic support for other underrepresented students.
- Reduce disparity in retention rates between Pell grant and non-Pell grant recipients.
Hiring and Retaining a Diverse Faculty and Staff
This team began by benchmarking the diversity of Pratt’s faculty and staff against that of other schools and went on to review best practices at several other colleges and universities. They determined that current recruitment policies are inadequate to ensure the continuity and growth of diversity, with particular focus needed on higher-level administrative positions. This team organized their recommendations around the hiring, retention, and professional development of faculty and staff.
- Align institutional hiring processes with diversity initiatives, and train Diversity Advocates to serve on Search Committees.
- Align the full-time faculty search process with diversity initiatives.
- Achieve diversity hires in schools and departments with no or few faculty members of color.
- Leverage part-time faculty hiring processes to support diversity goals.
- Achieve diversity hires in academic leadership at the Chair level and above.
- Achieve diversity hires in administrative-unit leadership at the Director level and above.
- Support new faculty integration into the Pratt community and preparedness for advancement.
- Support new staff integration into the Pratt community and provide opportunities for advancement.
- Encourage and support school- and department-level diversity and inclusion goals.
- Support faculty development consonant with diversity and inclusion commitments through the Center for Teaching and Learning.
- Support staff development consonant with diversity and inclusion commitments.
Expanding “Beyond the Gates” to the External Community
Neighbor to one of the most diverse communities in the country, Pratt has a long history of outreach and community engagement. This team arrived at six goals to expand our engagement “beyond the gates” to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in a way that benefits all of Pratt’s stakeholders.
- Strengthen the pipeline from high school to art school for underrepresented students.
- Increase fundraising for scholarships and secure research grants to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Improve diverse alumni engagement and organize targeted alumni giving campaigns.
- Expand local community development and engagement opportunities.
- Increase internship and job opportunities for underrepresented students.
- Improve diversity, equity, and inclusion branding and messaging on Pratt web, social media, and other communication platforms.