November 19, 2021
Column by Kathryn Heidemann
In September, I visited Eighty-Six Reasons (for asylum admission), a solo exhibition by Kimberly Chapman ’17 at the Fawick Gallery in Berea, and was impressed by her ability to create such a dichotomous body of work—work that profoundly juxtaposes both beauty and horror, history and herstory, serenity and provocation.
In fact, since I started at CIA two years ago, the work of our alumni and students has continuously inspired me. Experiencing this work has been central to my learning who we are and why we are as an institution—and it will continue to be when my term as President + CEO begins on July 1.
Until then, and while I’m working side-by-side with Grafton Nunes through our transition, I look forward to continuing to see through initiatives I have been a part of as Vice President of Academic Affairs. There is no doubt the last two years have been filled with ups and downs, fueled by the pandemic planning fatigue, reactive problem solving and a treadmill of stress across our community. But through these times, we’ve also made space for strategic planning implementation, curricular growth, student success advancement and even re-accreditation (yay!), remembering to celebrate “wins” both big and small whenever we can.
I’m especially proud of our faculty in Glass, Jewelry + Metals and Ceramics, who recently worked together to launch a new, forward-facing, interdisciplinary Craft + Design major. The program intersects craft, entrepreneurship and technology, and I’m especially excited to see what lies ahead for our future graduates.
I am also inspired by the work of our new Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) Council, and how we are working to integrate our core values of diversity, equity and inclusion across the College—through our people, policies, and procedures—to remove barriers that may perpetuate system inequities on campus and in our curriculum.
I’m also excited by new strategic initiatives that are in development, from our College 101 pilot program to help onboard first-year students to college life and to CIA, to our efforts to raise funds to create a Center for Teaching + Learning that will support our faculty with the tools and resources to advance their teaching and pedagogical excellence. Alongside these efforts, we remain critically committed to instilling a sense of place here on campus, while stepping up to grow our efforts to catalyze creative placemaking in Cleveland and beyond.
All of these efforts—and the hard work and dedication of CIA’s faculty and staff—are aimed at positioning our students and alumni for success. Whether that’s a solo exhibition like Eighty-Six Reasons or the design of a new product, that has been—and will continue to be—my focus at CIA.
Heidemann is Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty + Chief Operating Officer/Chief Academic Officer.
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