An Update on Fostering Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at PAFA

With the Fall 2020 term underway, we are writing with an update on the ongoing efforts to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion in our PAFA community.

The School Review Committee (SRC) has been working all summer to listen and to make holistic changes to PAFA. The SRC engaged Dragonfly Partners, a consulting firm with expertise in guiding institutions to achieve an actively anti-racist culture. With Dragonfly as facilitators, the SRC met with current students, alumni, faculty, and staff at PAFA to listen to what is most important to each group of stakeholders. The SRC and Dragonfly, together or independently, also met with Senior Staff and other leaders, both here at PAFA and at peer institutions.

Based on this and other extensive research and discussion, we have developed a comprehensive set of recommendations to bring about change at every level of PAFA. The SRC will make its initial recommendations to the Board of Trustees on September 10, 2020. Plans for immediate changes will be reported to the PAFA Community and to the public shortly thereafter. This will be a continuing effort and we pledge to communicate with you as we make these changes.

Some changes have already been implemented. PAFA has hired its first Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging and Deputy Title IX Coordinator; a new full-time Assistant Professor of Painting and Drawing; and a new Director of Residential and Student Life. All three of these new leaders will add diverse perspectives to PAFA. Senior Staff has also drafted a new policy on affiliation that has been approved by the Faculty Committee and the Human Resources Committee of the Board and will be presented to the Board for formal adoption. This new policy will encourage academic independence and promote freedom of expression.

One thing we heard very clearly is that you love PAFA. We do, too. We commit to work together with you to ensure that PAFA serves all of the members of its community.


Kevin F. Donohoe, Board Chair

David R. Brigham, President and CEO

About PAFA

Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is America's first school and museum of fine arts. A recipient of the National Medal of Arts, PAFA offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the fine arts, innovative exhibitions of historic and contemporary American art, and a world-class collection of American art. PAFA’s esteemed alumni include Mary Cassatt, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, William Glackens, Barkley L. Hendricks, Violet Oakley, Louis Kahn, David Lynch, and Henry Ossawa Tanner.