A Statement About Our Values: A Message from Dean Holland
During a season in which we express gratitude for the things that impact and improve our lives, I feel abundantly grateful for the open, intellectual and creative community we have built together at SMU Meadows School of the Arts. Meadows students, faculty, staff, alumni and volunteers all play an important role in the life of this University, driving us toward increasingly progressive conversations about freedom of expression and its vital role in our pursuit of excellence as communicators, artists, scholars and educators.
But as we listen to the conversations on race, diversity and inclusion on our campus and around the country, we know that we can and must do more to cultivate an environment in which ideas are expressed safely, difficult conversations are embraced and concerns are heard without bias.
As a school, it is our responsibility to address profound underlying challenges, design new opportunities and create access to Meadows for a future generation of students, faculty and staff that is as diverse as the world around us. The difference we make does not stop at the edge of our campus.
This means fostering diversity throughout our entire organization – from the faculty, staff and students we recruit, to the board members and individuals who support us, to the local and national organizations with whom we partner. We are committed to advancing inclusion and diversity of all types across Meadows and in all of the communities we serve.
Every person who encounters Meadows – every student who inquires about admission, every prospective faculty and staff member we interview, and every patron who attends our programs or supports them financially – must feel welcome. We insist on equality of access and opportunity for everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, gender identity, religion, philosophy or sexual orientation. That applies throughout our school without exception – whether on our Dallas campus or anywhere we are present in the world.
This commitment requires us to make thoughtful choices about building a community inside Meadows in which all persons know that they are celebrated for their unique and individual giftedness. It demands that we not only examine the processes by which we bring new students, faculty and volunteers into our community, but also that we take a broader look at our curriculum and our culture to ensure that we are truly expanding horizons. We must resist the temptation to offer a sheltered view of the world that represents only a few perspectives and respond to the higher calling of a university to foster far-ranging inquiry.
It is my hope that when we face an opportunity to do better, with humble hearts and courage we will rely on the trust we have built with one another to grow through the dissonance to a place of deeper understanding.
Rather than prescribing a course of action, we believe that listening is the first step on a journey to ensure that Meadows is accessible and relevant to people from all backgrounds. We hope you will help us fulfill our unwavering commitment to listening by sharing your experiences, concerns and ideas.
With open ears and hearts, we ask you to tell us your vision for how we can make Meadows a better place for all of its students, faculty, staff and alumni.