Professor John Yancey to oversee diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in College of Fine Arts

Wednesday, July 15, 2020
John Yancey, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the College of Fine Arts

John Yancey, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the College of Fine Arts

Professor John Yancey has been named as the Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the College of Fine Arts. In this newly created role, Yancey will build on the work he has been doing in the college for many years as the chair of the Fine Arts Diversity Committee.

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 created the college’s Strategic Diversity Plan, which was shared in 2014. The strategic plan outlines goals in three focused areas: Culture & Climate, Recruitment & Retention, and Curriculum & Creative Programming.

Yancey will continue to lead Fine Arts Diversity Committee and the various subgroups and task forces associated with it, and he will serve as the college’s liaison to other university councils and committees focused on equity and inclusion.

In the coming year, Yancey will be leading the charge as the college focuses on these goals:

  • Create a college statement of diversity, equity and inclusion that aligns with the university’s statement and addresses the needs specific to an arts college
  • Revisit and update the college’s 2015 Diversity Strategic Plan and action priorities.
  • Create an annual report on college demographics to provide transparency and accountability in the college’s recruitment and retention efforts
  • Continue and enlarge anti-racism training opportunities for faculty, staff and students
  • Collaborate with Admissions and academic departments to strengthen the college’s recruiting efforts to attract a diverse applicant pool and to yield a diverse class of incoming students
  • Explore new, more effective strategies to recruit and retain a more diverse body of faculty and staff
  • Collaborate across the college to ensure we are offering enough support to make transformative experiences, such as study abroad or professional development programs, equitable and accessible for all students in the college

While much work remains to be done, the college has made significant strides in meeting many of the goals outlined in the strategic plan.

  • The College of Fine Arts will see its most diverse class of undergraduates ever this fall semester. With an overall increase in applications of 19%, the college saw particularly large increases in applications from Black, Latinx, First Generation and low-income students.
  • In an effort to support more proactive efforts toward attracting a diverse candidate pool, all faculty searches include a diversity advocate from the Fine Arts Diversity Committee. The committee is evaluating the results of this process and how it can be more effective in future searches.
  • The college partnered with the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond to offer anti-racism training for 180 faculty and staff members across the college.
  • The committee provided funding this past year to support 10 student projects through its FADC Student Project Support Program, and the committee also provided funding to bring in nine guest artists who furthered the FADC’s mission of diversifying the college’s community and programs.

Additional progress on the goals in the strategic plan is summarized on this FADC page.

Yancey teaches painting and drawing in the Studio Art division of the Department of Art and Art History, which he joined in 1993. He’s held numerous leadership roles in the department and the college, including serving as department chair from 2005 to 2011. He received his B.F.A. in painting and drawing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1980. Upon graduation, he pursued an independent art career for 11 years before receiving the prestigious Patricia Roberts Harris Fellowship, which enabled him to enroll in graduate school at Georgia Southern University, where he received his M.F.A. in 1993.

His artistic practice focuses in three main areas: paintings and drawings; community-based mural painting; and ceramic tile mosaic public art works. He directed his first community-based mural in 1976 and has completed numerous public art projects and commissions since that time. His murals are extensively featured in Walls of Heritage, Walls of Pride: African American Murals 1850–1995, Robin Dunitz and James Prighoff; Urban Art: Chicago; Olivia Gude and Jeff Huebner.

His most recent projects include permanent public artworks in the Stop Six community in the City of Fort Worth’s Rosedale Park, the Austin Convention Center, and the monumental history and culture art wall, “Rhapsody” that occupies the Charles Urdy Plaza at 11th and Waller Streets as part of the restoration and revitalization of this historic street on Austin's East Side. In addition to his public art projects, Yancey continues to exhibit his paintings and drawings in gallery and museum venues. Yancey has also lectured extensively on various aspects of African American art history at the Art Institute of Chicago, The Terra Museum of American Art in Chicago, The Dallas Art Museum, Waterloo Museum of Art, Austin Museum of Art and numerous other museum venues.

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