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Blog . Welcome to CIA for another exciting year!

Blog

Welcome to CIA for another exciting year!

08/25/23  |  Posted by Kathryn Heidemann  |  Posted in President

As a new academic year begins, I want to extend a heartfelt welcome to you all. I hope summer rewarded you with restoration, reflection and adventure, and that you feel energized to dig into the work ahead. To those who are new to CIA, I want to extend a special welcome! We are privileged to share in each other’s company as we write our next chapter together.

This summer marked the end of my first year as President + CEO, and it brought me great joy to reflect on our collective successes, learn from our shortcomings so that we can improve, and work to determine priorities for this academic year in alignment with our strategic plan. I shared some highlights from the past year in a recent press article and look forward to the work ahead to support student success and retention, cultivate creative leaders, advance our college and strengthen our community.

Looking Back

We had a very busy and productive summer at CIA.

We made substantial progress on the planning of our Interactive Media Lab. The IML—slated to open in spring 2025 in the Cleveland Foundation’s MidTown Collaboration Center—will not only serve as a hub for arts, design and technology, but will potentially be one of the most catalytic community engagement initiatives in the CIA’s history. A micro-site about the project has now launched, and you can even view the construction progress on the MidTown Collaboration Center here.

We also made progress on two of Student Leadership Council's highest priorities from last year: improving on-campus food options and creating an outdoor collaborative space. If you're hungry, visit Stone Flower Cafe’s new Market Twenty 4 Seven, a self-serve market that offers fresh food and snacks anytime CIA is open. In addition, “Grafton’s Garden,” a gathering space that will be built outside of Entrance B, is now in its final schematic design phase. Construction should begin this fall, and the space is expected to open this spring. I'm particularly grateful for SLC’s input and collaboration on these projects.

Other summer highlights:

  • Robust classes of Pre-College students, Continuing Education students and Summer Teacher Residency participants enthusiastically expanded their creativity during CIA’s flagship summer programs.
  • New students got to know CIA a little bit better thanks to a series of new student registration days that covered student advising, registration, financial aid and accounts processes. Also, the second MOSAIC (formerly Nunes Scholars) pre-orientation program, organized by IDEA Council, welcomed first-generation, BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and others who sought extra support and resources prior to the start of school.
  • Faculty and staff brought their family members to campus for the inaugural CIA Family Funday, an event that fostered connection and belonging.
  • Earlier this month, we hosted new faculty orientation sessions for adjunct and esteemed full-time faculty, many who have relocated here from across the country to join our special community.

Looking Ahead

All of what happened this summer gives us much to look forward to, but of course, there’s plenty more to be excited about. Most notably, I’m thrilled to welcome our incoming class of 151 students, many of whom I met during Convocation. I hope your first week at CIA has been everything you hoped it would be.

Please mark your calendar to join me for one of my favorite annual traditions, the Faculty Exhibition. A public opening reception will be held from 6 to 8pm Thursday, August 31 in CIA’s Reinberger Gallery. Attending the exhibition and reception are great ways to get to know our faculty beyond the classroom, through their work as esteemed artists, designers and scholars. The same can be said for the Studio Operations Exhibition, which opens that same night in the Ann and Norman Roulet Student + Alumni Gallery.

I also invite you to take part in our Lunch on Fridays lecture series, take advantage of CIA community-discounted tickets at the Cinematheque, engage in a plethora of student activities, and enjoy the extension of CIA’s campus that is the City of Cleveland.

As we all reconvene to start another year together, I hope we can reinforce our values in all that we do, and also always uphold our actions with mutual respect, civility and empathy. For those of you that are new to our community, these values—alongside our newly minted mission, vision and strategic goals—came out of a comprehensive planning process, culminating in a 2020–2027 Strategic Plan. I invite you to be a key stakeholder in our future and look forward to continuing the great work we are doing together.

Important Conversations

Speaking of work we do together, I want to acknowledge and address the August 15 cleveland.com article regarding a lawsuit filed by a former student. The suit accuses CIA of failing to properly address the student’s accusations of sexual assault against a fellow student, and in light of those accusations, questions and concerns have arisen.

First and foremost, I want to make clear that sexual misconduct of any kind is not tolerated at CIA. If you see or experience an instance of sexual misconduct, report it. I promise that your report will be taken seriously and handled with the utmost care.
Please know that when a student or employee reports an instance of sexual misconduct, a formal Title IX process that spells out a detailed and specific series of mandatory steps is immediately triggered. In the case referenced above, which was reported to us in February 2021, we followed all of those mandated steps to the letter.
We have deep sympathy for the former student involved. But, we are certain that we acted promptly, thoroughly, appropriately and compassionately—and that the court will recognize that we indeed did the right thing, from beginning to end.
This conversation will continue. Every student at CIA needs to know what Title IX does, how Title IX protects every student, how the process works and the importance of reporting violations immediately. To that end, next week we will hold two informational listening sessions to thoroughly discuss your protections under Title IX and describe how the process works. These sessions will also provide an opportunity for you to ask questions—and for us to address possible misconceptions—in an open dialogue.
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