Fine Arts Diversity Committee

Students participate in a workshop funded by the Guest Artist Initiative.The College of Fine Arts is committed to fostering a culture and climate that is inclusive and welcoming of students, faculty and staff of all backgrounds, experiences and viewpoints.

“Being a diverse learning and research community is essential to the creativity and contest of ideas that are central to any arts college,” said Dean Doug Dempster. “The College of Fine Arts should be a leader at UT in supporting and fostering an inclusive culture that is so central to who we are and what we do.”

The Fine Arts Diversity Committee is a partnership between the college and UT’s Division of Diversity and Community Engagement to create and implement a comprehensive diversity strategic plan. Formed as a taskforce in 2012, the committee is made up of representatives from faculty, staff, graduate students and undergraduate students from the College of Fine Arts, the Department of Art and Art History, the Department of Theatre and Dance, Butler School of Music and Texas Performing Arts, as well as staff from the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement and the Office for Inclusion and Equity.

After a two-year planning and research process, the committee shared its strategic plan in 2014, and the college is actively working to implement the goals of the five-year plan, which covers 2014–2019. The strategic plan outlines goals in three focused areas: Culture & Climate, Recruitment & Retention, and Curriculum & Creative Programming.

The subcommittees of the FADC will be looking ahead to 2019 to visit the goals of our five-year strategic plan to update our goals and to ensure that we are aligned with the University Diversity Inclusion and Action Plan.

As of fall 2018, the committee can report progress in the following areas:


  • The College of Fine Arts partnered this past year with the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond to offer a series of workshops on “Undoing Racism.” According to the People’s Institute, their workshops focus “on understanding what racism is, where it comes from, how it functions, why it persists and how it can be undone.” The college piloted these two-day workshops last spring with college leadership and with faculty in the Department of Theatre and Dance, and in August two more workshops were held for faculty and staff in the Butler School of Music, School of Design and Creative Technologies and Texas Performing Arts. So far, about 100 faculty and staff in the College of Fine Arts have participated in the workshops, and the Fine Arts Diversity Committee is working to expand workshops to other departments across the college.
  • The FADC has launched a Guest Artist Initiative that provides supplementary funding for visiting artists and scholars who might expand our understanding as a college community of under-represented cultures and viewpoints.
  • The FADC has expanded funding for its Guest Artist Initiative Program and is accepting proposals from students for projects that will support the inclusion and diversity goals of the college.
  • The college has surveyed the availability of all-gender restrooms in our facilities and has added an additional all-gender facility in the Doty Fine Arts Building and in the music building (MRH), in addition to the all-gender facility in Texas Performing Arts.
  • The college has partnered with the UT Division of Diversity and Community Engagement to offer workshops to all COFA TAs on “Inclusive Classrooms.” The college hopes to expand this opportunity to interested faculty in the future.
  • Through collaboration with COFA Staff Council, 20 COFA staff and faculty members participated in the Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) disABILITY ADVOCATE training.
  • In fall 2016, the FADC organized a diversity retreat for College of Fine Arts chairs, directors and leadership that was facilitated by Patrick Sims, Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


  • The Fine Arts Diversity Committee (FADC) will be directly involved in supporting the proactive identification of an inclusive pool of candidates in all future faculty searches. Each search committee will include a Diversity Advocate from the committee and an FADC Diversity Liaison to serve as a resource for the committee. The Diversity Advocate and FADC Diversity Liaison will be in conversation with the search committee chair and search committee throughout the early stages of the search to support proactive efforts to build inclusion and diversity in the candidate pool. As the search committee reaches consensus on a list of finalists, the FADC will report to Dean Dempster about the search committee’s efforts to expand the diversity of their applicant pool, which will inform Dean Dempster’s review of the finalist list.
  • The FADC provided support for the new recruiting event “Fine Arts Fest” in which College of Fine Arts Admissions invited 400 prospective students and their families to visit campus. Admissions saw a 75 percent yield rate from the students who attended this recruiting event.
  • FADC provided support to bring 20 high school juniors and seniors from the Rio Grande Valley to visit the Department of Art and Art History and to take a tour of Landmarks art on campus.
  • The FADC has provided partial support for campus visits and events in diversity recruitment initiatives with Dallas' Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and Edinburg High School in Edinburg, Texas.
  • The FADC has also provided partial support to bring the Department of Theatre and Dance show Luna to the Rio Grande Valley as part of a diversity recruitment effort. The college has been increasing its budget for recruitment efforts to the Rio Grande Valley and under-represented school in various Texas urban areas to help build diversity in the student applicant pool.
  • FADC provided support to allow College of Fine Arts representatives to attend the South Texas Theatre Auditions to give students in the Rio Grande Valley an opportunity to audition for performing arts programs around the state.
  • All departments and programs are working toward explicit goals for improving diversity in student admissions and enrollment.


Celebrating Diversity in Fine Arts

Charles O. Anderson Awarded 2018-2019 VPR Research & Creative Grant

Thursday, November 1, 2018
Charles Anderson

Associate Professor Charles O. Anderson has been awarded a 2018-2019 Research & Creative Grant from the Office of the Vice President for Research for his project (Re)current Unrest. The evening-length piece is an immersive performance installation ‘ritual’ investigating legacy, authorship and the history of black art and protest through the lens of the erasure of the Africanist presence inside of Steve Reich’s compositions.

Dr. Andrea Giunta Named Chief Curator of the 12th Edition of the Mercosur Biennial

Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Andrea Giunta

Dr. Andrea Giunta, CLAVIS founding director and Fellow of the Chair in Latin American Art History and Criticism at UT Austin, has been named the chief curator of the 12th edition of the Mercosur Biennial on October 10, 2018. The contemporary art exhibition will take place in Porto Alegre, Brazil, from April 9 to July 5, 2020, at the Museu de Arte do Rio Grande do Sul, the Memorial do Rio Grande do Sul and the Santander Cultural.

Latina Drum Major Leads Longhorn Band

Wednesday, October 24, 2018   |  The Daily Texan
Jessica Martinez drum major

Music Education Major Jessica Martinez is the fourth female and second woman of color drum major to lead the Longhorn Band since it was founded in 1900. Women were not allowed to join the band until 1956 and could not serve as section leaders until the early 1970’s, which helps explain the absence of women in that role, band director Scott Hanna said.