Office of Access and Equity

“Artists are here to disturb the peace.”

– James Baldwin, Conversations with James Baldwin (1989)

The Office of Access and Equity (OAE) supports the College of Arts and Architecture in establishing a culture of anti-racism and anti-oppression that embraces individual identities, fosters inclusion, broadly promotes equity and a culture of belonging for students, faculty and staff.


Office of Access and Equity
124 Borland Building
University Park, PA 16802

Folayemi Wilson
Associate Dean for Access and Equity; Professor of Art

Wanjiru Kareithi
Postdoctoral Scholar in College of Arts and Architecture; African Studies; and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Jen Curry Morgan
Adminstrative Assistant Coordinator


ED&I Committee

ED&I Committee page

5 simple things you can do NOW to foster equity, inclusion and belonging

Use Pronouns.

Respect individual preferences by sharing and allow others to acknowledge individual identities when introducing themselves in the classroom, online, and at events. Include your preferred pronouns in prominent places like email signatures, on zoom, name badges and business cards. Penn State’s Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity offers suggested formats for email signatures, suggested language to address pronouns in syllabi and handbooks, as well as other resources, like gender diversity terminology.

Find authentic ways to acknowledge the land.

Penn State developed a land acknowledgement in collaboration with the Indigenous Peoples Student Association and the Indigenous Faculty and Staff Alliance. Start by learning about the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862 – a part of the great land grab that funded the establishment of agricultural-based colleges such as Penn State with expropriated Indigenous lands. Think of a land acknowledgement as a starting point to learn more about Indigenous America.

Provide captioning, accommodations and be aware of ableist language.

Provide opportunities for all bodies and abilities to participate in your programs, classes, and events remotely or in-person, and to access your communications. There are resources for those that need accommodations and those wanting to provide them including best practices for accessible instruction. Unconscious bias can show up in the words we use. Become aware of common, ableist language you might not know you are using.

Offer space.

Significant and traumatic events are happening at an alarming rate and becoming commonplace. Let’s not numb our humanity. Provide time in the classroom, at meetings, and events to process and check in about where people are at. If individuals needs more support, Penn State resources for students, faculty and staff are available.

Commit to learning what you don’t know.

Various resources, panels, lectures, and reading lists are readily available from our library, university, and through simple online searches. Educate yourself about anti-racism, other forms of oppression, privilege, and how to be more inclusive and support a culture of belonging. Self-education, increasing your awareness of various lived experiences, and adopting inclusive practices is a process that starts where you are.

A&A Community Coming Together

OAE Town Halls

Building Community Vulnerability and Trust Town Hall presentation cover slide.

Building Vulnerability & Trust

This year’s annual OAE Town Hall theme focused on strengthening trust in our college community through developing a collective capacity for vulnerability.

Learn more about this town hall

Previous Town Halls

2023 Town Hall

What Does Change Look Like?

In February 2023, Associate Dean Wilson summarized the work of her office and shared the context for how she is viewing our current educational environment. The Town Hall included a panel of administrators, directors, faculty and student representation that shared what change looks like in their respective areas.

The A&A community had the opportunity to place themselves on a continuum of individual change, and to discuss possible next steps in moving towards personal activism and a better understanding of equity and inclusion.

Watch the 2023 Town Hall

2022 Listening Tour Report

Imagining a culture of equity and belonging: where do we go from here?

The Fall OAE listening tour initiated a period of listening as research about the culture of the College of Arts and Architecture and individual concerns regarding equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging. Associate Dean Wilson spoke with more than 50 representatives of the college, including students, staff, faculty, college leadership and administration.

This report provides significant details regarding the listening tour process and data analysis, as well as key recommendations and goals. Moreover the report highlights other equity issues and actions impacting the college.

View the Listening Tour Report

Antiracist Glossary and Terms

The murder of George Floyd in May 2020 opened long-held wounds in communities of color and a reckoning with racism and social justice movements in our country. Various terminology has emerged, and some have been redefined within the spirit of our current moment. These terms are fluid and perpetually in motion. This list of over 100 terms from the NASPA, Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, represents a comprehensive and fairly up-to-date accounting and contextualization of current terminology with references for further study. A cursory review is recommended to know what is included, as a guide for classroom and other discourse and research, and to contribute to a common language we can use at our college and with our colleagues within the university-at-large.

Compilation of the NASPA Student Leadership Programs Knowledge Community Terminology Guide was coordinated by Dr. Jasmine D. Collins (2020-21)

View the NASPA Community Terminology Guide

OAE Resources

The Office of Access and Equity is actively compiling a list of resources within the University and the community at large that provide critical information related to navigating, understanding, and engaging with the broad topics of diversity, equity, access, inclusion, community, anti-racism, and belonging. This list already is deep and powerful – exploring topics such as white supremacy and privilege, supporting people of color and other marginalized groups, and education for racial equity – and the list will continue to expand.

Visit the OAE Resources Page

Develop | Strengthen | Contribute | Transform

Upcoming OAE sponsored workshops

Faculty and staff are invited to take advantage of workshops organized by the Office of Access & Equity. These workshops are designed to develop and strengthen individual competencies that can contribute collectively to transforming “…our curricula, values, standards, ideal, policies, and practices,” to ensure greater equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging throughout the College. Various workshops will be offered during the academic year.

March 29, 2024

A Practice of “No:” Learning Self-Generosity

Exclusively for Female Faculty & Staff

Womyn are socially trained to be accommodating, nice, and not to make waves. The skill that makes some of us attuned to and inclined to prioritize the needs of others, is rarely acknowledged as the emotional intelligence that can be used effectively in professional settings and for our own benefit. This workshop is meant to foster community around female empowerment at our college and to (re)train some of our socially learned and virtuous instincts of generosity towards ourselves. How can we intentionally say yes to ourselves (or no to others), responsibly, thoughtfully, and consciously? When is it ok and appropriate to give ourselves permission to put ourselves first, and how do we put aside any guilt?

Led by: Folayemi Wilson, Associate Dean Access & Equity and Wanjiru Kareithi, Postdoctoral Scholar in College of Arts and Architecture; African Studies; and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Date: Friday, March 29, 2024
Format: (75 mins, Zoom)

Register Now

Previous OAE workshops