Carnegie Mellon University

Integrated Innovation Institute

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September 04, 2020

Commitment to an Anti-Racist Future

By Elizabeth Donaldson

In June 2020, staff and leadership from the Integrated Innovation Institute shared our community's commitment to fighting racism & bias. Since the time our commitment statement was published, the Institute has been formulating actionable steps towards a more inclusive community and more equitable future. In the spirit of collaborative innovation, students, faculty, and staff began meeting each week beginning in June as an united collective: the CMUiii Anti-Racism Committee. 

After hosting listening sessions and conducting surveys, the faculty, staff, and students of the Anti-Racism Committee identified the needs and interests of the Institute community, and outlined immediate initiatives and long-term goals known as the Anti-Racism Action Plan.

Anti-Racism Action Plan

Student Initiatives

  • Develop a context for racism in the United States during Orientation programming
  • Engage with Anti-Racism in Action Canvas module for critical study and discussion
  • Attend additional anti-racism conversations based on focused themes such as designing with equity, business ethics, and AI for good
  • Connect local social justice-oriented organizations with student organizations
  • Center anti-racism within student organization events and campus activities
  • Explore research, internship, and job opportunities at socially-minded organizations

Primary Goal: Encourage critical thinking concerning social responsibility in tech and business.

Faculty Initiatives

  • Contribute to an anti-racism curriculum for Orientation
  • Contribute to and engage with the Anti-Racism in Action Canvas modules and discussions
  • Work with individuals to find opportunities to implement and/or expand anti-racist learnings within their course
  • Encourage and assist in the planning for diversified guest speakers
  • Center anti-racism within sponsored work
  • Promote research, internship, and job opportunities at socially-minded organizations

Primary Goal: Incorporate anti-racism into course curriculum and classroom culture.

Staff Initiatives

  • Learn about and establish anti-racism goals within each role
  • Adhere to an anti-racism curriculum by implementing staff trainings and workshops throughout the calendar year
  • Contribute to an anti-racism curriculum for Orientation
  • Contribute and engage with the Anti-Racism in Action Canvas modules and discussions
  • Promote anti-racist professional development opportunities as they arise

Primary Goal: Establish a long-standing culture of anti-racism across the Institute team.

Community Initiatives

  • Identify faculty, student, and alumni speakers willing to present their expertise from an inclusive, anti-racist lens
  • Invite Institute community to comment on goals/initiatives
  • Serve as leaders in the cross-section of innovation and social justice at Carnegie Mellon and across peer institutions
  • Maintain resources like the CMUiiiAnti-Racism Resource catalog and Canvas page; update curriculum as needed and continue to refine and implement changes
  • Highlight the anti-racist work led by our community

Primary Goal: Recognize and dismantle contributions to systemic racism; support individual anti-racism growth and learning.

The Anti-Racism Committee was formally introduced to new and incoming students in early September, and is currently led by staff members Leia Delebahan, Lizzy Donaldson, Gabrielle Rogers, and Seth Apol; faculty participants include Jacquelyn Cuccaro, Tim Cunningham, and Jorge Taborga; and students include Shreya Agarwal (MSTV '21), Hannah Moon (MIIPS Advanced Study '20) Langley Vogt (MIIPS Advanced Study '20). As the Committee is expected to grow with new, interested students, the initiatives outlined above will be refined and further implemented. At the time of this publication, the Anti-Racism in Action Canvas page is live, Orientation programming has been concluded, and fall events are being scheduled. 

For products or services to be truly innovative, they must support a better world for everyone. The Integrated Innovation Institute is committed to instilling ethical, anti-racist principles in the next generation of disrupters, problem-solvers, and big thinkers.

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