Carnegie Mellon University

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion


Angelica Perez-Johnston Reflects on DEI within CFA

written by
Angelica Perez-Johnston

In July, I was welcomed and embraced by the College of Fine Arts community, and I quickly went to work!  Within a month’s time, the office hosted the annual Diversity, Equity and Inclusion retreat. Without the dedication and attention to detail our Program Coordinator, Britney Yauger-Limtham, provided, the retreat would not have been as successful as it was. Britney has consistently gone above and beyond to ensure that the quality of our programming exceeds expectations. I am extremely fortunate to have Britney as part of our team.

During the retreat, I introduced to the community the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), a tool we have implemented to begin to identify the ways that we intentionally engage in conversations as they relate to intercultural engagement, awareness and interpersonal capacity to grow.

The IDI is a measure of cultural competence, which can be defined as the capability to shift cultural perspective and appropriately adapt behavior to cultural differences and commonalities. It is essential for transcending ethnocentrism and establishing effective, positive relations across cultural boundaries both internationally and domestically.

We will be utilizing the IDI as a college to level set and develop an understanding of our starting point for DEI strategic planning moving forward.

The IDI has been met with great success! To date, we have had over 160 of our community members register to complete the IDI with 131 completed inventories and 123 completed debriefs. I have truly enjoyed meeting with each of you and engaging in reflective work and sharing in discussions of how this information can be utilized and what growth can be achieved when we begin to recognize how we engage with intercultural awareness.

I am beyond grateful to those of you within the CFA community who have sought out the guidance and support of our office for a variety of reasons. Please continue to utilize us as a resource, a support and a space in which you can receive guidance on the difficult topics that you may be working through in terms of diversity, equity and inclusion. Through our office, we have had the opportunity to develop and implement educational opportunities tailored to the unique needs of each situation or circumstance. In addition to the support that we have been able to provide to our faculty and staff, we have shifted our priority model in order to be more intentional in meeting the needs of students, faculty and staff.

As a result, Britney has developed and implemented some amazing signature events, namely the Queer Art Market in the fall and, in the spring, we look forward to the second annual Global Arts Ball. These events are designed to support students while including our faculty and staff in a collaborative way.

In addition to the support, guidance and consultation from our office, we also held our first DEI Council meeting in the fall semester. The DEI Council is comprised of delegates from each area within CFA. This council is charged with being the voice of change for their respective schools, providing insight into the strengths of each school and helping to identify ways in which we can shift our processes toward more equitable solutions to meet the needs of our CFA community.

I am beyond honored to serve as your associate dean for DEI, and the beginning of this journey has been so extremely rewarding and encouraging. The desire and drive to create sustainable equitable change across all areas within CFA affirms our continued commitment to creating spaces within our community where everyone feels as though they belong. I look forward to our continued successes!