The Dean of Arts and Sciences released their October newsletter on Tuesday, Oct. 26, outlining what has been happening in the undergraduate school of arts and sciences. The email outlines how the school is implementing the anti-racism plan and the next book for the undergraduate book forum, among other things.
With regards to the anti-racism plan, the School of Arts and Sciences is currently working on incorporating the feedback that they received; Dean Dorothy Hodgson thanked all the students that were involved in the process, providing feedback. Hodgson also reminded students that they are still in the early stages of implementing the changes, which fall into five categories. The first category is people, which includes hiring and accepting more BIPOC students, faculty and staff. Secondly, they hope to “develop ways to ensure that everyone feels welcome, included, affirmed and represented in every part of the School of Arts and Sciences,” according to the email.
The School of Arts and Sciences is also going to “ensure that the curriculum, major/minor requirements and pedagogical practices like assessment are inclusive, equitable and represent the full richness of diverse perspectives,” said the email. Furthermore, the school is also planning more events that ensure that the lectures reflect the diversity of perspectives and people on this campus.
Finally, they are also hoping to improve accountability in the school, such as recognizing all individuals for the work that they do, particularly “for anti-racist work, especially ‘hidden labor’ performed by many BIPOC faculty and staff,” according to the email. The anti-racism plan for the School of Arts and Sciences is available on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion website; there is also additional information about the five pillars.
The email also reminded students about the Undergraduate Department Representatives (UDRs), who are “peer advisers who have been selected to strengthen the undergraduate learning experience and community within their departments and programs.” Each major or minor in the school has at least one representative, who provides various services to students, such as providing information about the academics in their field as well as potential career opportunities. They also “organize meetings with students and/or group informational sessions on topics related to their program (outside speakers, alumni/career panels, internships, research opportunities),” according to the email.
The email also reminded students about BIPOC Creator Grants which aim to “support Brandeis undergraduates whose creative work amplifies the voices of BIPOC people.” They can be used for “equipment, materials, studio time, lessons, workshops and so forth for creative arts disciplines such as (but not limited to) music, photography, curating, filmmaking, design, poetry, spoken word, etc.” The guidelines and application can be found on the Brandeis Arts Engemenet website.
Hodgson also reminded students about the Undergraduate Research and Creative Collaborations Office (URCC), which is a resource to help students who are interested in doing research or creative projects. The office would be able to provide students with a new database called ForagerOne. This will provide students with the “chance to collaborate with faculty members on original research and find funded opportunities to participate in the creation of new knowledge,” according to the email. More information can be found on the URCC page.
There will also be an event on Oct. 29, titled “Creative Residency Introductory Session” led by Jennine Willett. The Creative Residency itself will take place in the spring. Willett is the Third Rail Projects Co-Artistic Director; she is an educator, director, choreographer and creative consultant. According to the email, the residency “will share the methods and practices at play when making an immersive and site-specific performance. The journey of researching, conceptualizing, generating, developing, rehearsing, and performing in the project will offer a hands-on, multi-faceted, and comprehensive experience that begins with theory and ends with practice.”
The email also called for nominations for the 30th New Student Book Forum. The selected book will be sent to the first-years to be read over the summer; the book will then be discussed when they come to Brandeis. According to the email, the selection for 2022 is “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” by Ocean Vuong. Nominations are due on Oct. 31.