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College of Art and Letters at Austin Peay State University

CoAL Diversity Task Force

2020 - 2021 Members

2020 - 2021 Diversity Task Force Report

Andrea Spofford—Associate Dean Ozzie DiPaolo-Harrison—Languages & Literature
David Walker—Art + Design
Leni Dyer—Theatre & Dance
Michael Chandler—Music
Karen Bullis—Communication
Soma Banerjee—History & Philosophy



2020 - 2021 Student Advisory Committee Members

Dee Sloss
Etenia Mullins
Conchetta Willis
Antonio Fields


College of Arts and Letters

Statement on Black Lives Matter and Action Plan - Summer 2019

In the College of Arts & Letters, we affirm that Black Lives Matter and are committed to working against systemic racism. We understand that higher education is complicit, and we have been part of the problem. We are committed to dismantling these structures to create a more equitable, just, and safe world.

The arts make us human, and the humanities allow us the space to explore and study the human experience; they are our most powerful tool and our greatest asset to counteract and challenge a colonialist system. We are about doing and creating; as a result, our action plan is as follows:

For Our Students

We are committed to creating more scholarships, funding, and research opportunities for Black students. In the 2020 – 2021 academic year, the College of Arts & Letters will budget $2,000 for research grants for Black students and begin fundraising for an endowment dedicated to scholarships and research grants for Black students.

We will create a Black Student Advisory Group that will meet regularly with the College of Arts & Letters Leadership Team (Dean, Associate Deans, and Chairs) to advise us on our work and to make their voices heard.

We are committed to building a closer relationship with the Wilbur N. Daniel African American Cultural Center through programming and collaboration.

We are committed to more closely advising and mentoring Black students, acknowledging and actively working against barriers created by systemic racism.

We will revise our curriculum to include more diverse and representative voices. We will begin this task by evaluating our general education offerings during the fall semester 2020 and make formal curricular changes in the Spring of 2021. During the 2021 – 2022 academic year, the college will begin reevaluating courses within our majors.

 For Our Colleagues

We will create a diverse taskforce of faculty and staff to lead CoAL’s work against systemic racism.

We will revise our hiring practices and create a more inclusive process, ensuring that our departments recruit and support faculty and staff with diverse backgrounds. All job searches within CoAL will require evidence of the candidate's experiences teaching and supporting diversity inside the classroom and out.

We are committed to creating a workplace culture that values, supports, and empowers faculty from underrepresented groups in ways that acknowledge the historical impacts of underrepresentation. 

We are committed to equity regarding departmental, college, and university service requirements. We recognize the often-invisible labor of our Black colleagues, including a disproportionate amount of advising and mentoring.

We will create criteria for our visiting artists series that prioritizes marginalized voices and ensures equity in pay across all demographics.

Each member of the faculty and staff of CoAL will complete two training sessions lead by the Office of Equity, Access, and Inclusion during the 20 – 21 academic year.


Drafted and Endorsed by:

Professor Barry Jones, Dean of the College of Arts & Letters

Dr. Kristen Sienkiewiczk, Associate Dean of the College of Arts & Letters

Dr. Andrea Spofford, Associate Dean of the College of Arts & Letters

Dr. Janice Crews, Director of the Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts

Dr. Tony Morris, Chair of the Department of Art + Design

Dr. Rob Baron, Chair of the Department of Communication

Dr. Mercy Cannon, Chair fo the Department of Languages & Literature

Dr. Eric Branscome, Chair of the Department of Music

Professor Marcus Hayes, Chair of the Department of Theatre & Dance