Professor Luke Howard discusses the Diversity and Inclusion Committee initiatives for the college
This year, the College of Fine Arts and Communications formed the Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility Committee (DIA) with faculty and administrators from each of the academic areas. Committee member and School of Music professor Luke Howard shared his thoughts on what the DIA committee has worked on this semester and what the plans are for the new year.
“The goal is to help everyone in the college and at BYU to feel comfortable negotiating the college space and experience, and to enjoy the full opportunity, capacity and privilege to define that space in a respectful and compassionate environment,” said Howard.
One way that Howard seeks to improve is by collaborating with diverse committee members on planning projects and events for the college and seeking to understand privilege.
“One of the great strengths of our college is that we all understand the value of interdisciplinary, collaborative work,” said Howard. “I’ve tried to make myself more aware of how privilege has been systematically denied to people who don’t look like me, and I’m working toward redressing that imbalance.”
Howard has been working with the committee on campaigns and events to support their goals, such as the Listen Up! series, which hosted notable guest speakers Wynton Marsalis and Ta-Nehisi Coates this semester.
“As the semester winds up, we also launched a ‘You Matter Here. You Belong Here’ outreach campaign to help students feel that each one of them is valued and needed in this College and in our community,” said Howard.
As the semester comes to an end, the committee wants students to know that it will continue their work next semester.
“It’s very exciting, but I have to be patient because while we’ve seen some really good things happening already, the goals of this committee are to effect long-term change, and that takes time,” said Howard.
The committee’s efforts are just a small example of the changes going on all over campus.
“The DIA Committee is a microcosm of what we hope to see campus-wide; people of different backgrounds and ideas coming together and working together in an environment of equality and respect to help everyone reach their fullest potential,” said Howard. “For me personally, that means thinking more consciously about how I can help others around me succeed with their goals and aspirations.”