Updates on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Efforts

During the school year, the students regularly receive correspondences about continued efforts in equity, diversity and inclusion, as well as progress updates for the School’s EDI Action Plan. Below are the announcements the School has sent to the students via its Weekly Update newsletter.

April 6, 2022

Hosted By The Grammy Museum
Nobody Knows: Voices Unmuted
The University of Southern California
Curated by Dr. Ron McCurdy, Professor of Music and Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and
Directed by Professor Anita Dashiell-Sparks, George Burns Professor of Theater and Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Description:
Nobody Knows: Voices Unmuted is a collaborative interdisciplinary project that involves poetry, music, and video. Empowered voices from marginalized communities and experiences (APIDA, LGBTQIA, Black Lives Matter, Antisemitism, Gender Identity, Disability, etc.) will tell their own stories. This project includes participation from several schools across the University of Southern California. This multimedia presentation will consist of poems, original compositions, and images that correlate with the words of the poets.
As part of USC SDA EDI Office Community Engagement, we invite you to share and tell your story in response to the question: What is it that nobody knows about you and your identities? These stories will be curated into a group poem that will also be shared during performance event on April 16, 2022, and will be posted on our EDI webpage. If you would like to submit a response, please do so at sdaedi@usc.edu. We invite you to attend performance.
Location: Grammy Museum (800 W. Olympic Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015)
Date: April 16, 2022
Time: 7:00 p.m. (PST)
Contact: (213) 725-5700
Admission: Free (you must RSVP to reserve a ticket)
Click HERE to reserve your ticket. Seating is limited, so please reserve your ticket NOW!

March 16, 2022

SDA Student Support & Reporting
In order to facilitate a supportive environment of accountability the School of Dramatic Arts with the guidance of the SDA Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and the SDA Inclusion and Equity Committee have created this system of reporting for students to address issues or concerns and provide feedback or suggestions for improvement.
For more information, click here.

March 2, 2022

USC Student Well-Being Index Survey
Your Mental Health & Well-Being Matters!
Your opinion can help shape campus outcomes that influence the health and safety of your fellow students.
The USC Well-Being Collective will begin sending out email invitations starting February 14, 2022.
Be sure to check your @usc.edu email inbox for your unique survey link.
In an effort to better understand your needs and address disparities relative to your wellbeing, I am writing to strongly encourage you to participate in the 2022 USC Student Well-being Index Survey (SWIS). Responses from the survey will not only help our university enhance campus life and improve the overall Trojan student experience, but will also provide us with school-specific data that will help advocate and support our academic school for improvement in policies, resources and plans for services and programs that encourage a healthy, safe and nondiscriminatory environment.
Your time is valued and rewarded. Students who complete the survey will be entered into a drawing to win one of 500 $20 Amazon e-Gift cards.
For more information, visit: https://bit.ly/uscswis

February 23, 2022

EDI Open Forum #1: Redefining Rigor
Friday, February 25th 1:30pm – 2:30pm
Online
Please join us for the first Open Forum of 2022 as we discuss:
How do we redefine and co-create a new understanding of Rigor to meet the evolving needs of our peers, our community, and ourselves in the 21st century?
For more information, click here.

February 16, 2022

EDI Open Forum
Friday, February 25th – 1:30pm – 2:30pm
Please join us for the first Open Forum of the semester! We will be meeting on Friday, 2/25 from 1:30pm-2:30pm over Zoom. Click below for the Zoom link details and to be sent an email reminder!
For more information, click here.

February 9, 2022

SDA EDI Affinity Group Meetings
The Office of EDI invites you to join SDA Faculty & Staff as co-facilitators of conversations to uplift and affirm our intersectional identities and experiences. Come be a part of fostering a community of allyship!
For more information, click here.

February 2, 2022

SDA EDI Affinity Group Kickoff
Wednesday, Feb 9th at 5pm
We welcome you to attend the inaugural SDA Affinity Groups launching on February 9, 2022, at 5pm. Join SDA Faculty & Staff as co-facilitators of conversations to uplift and affirm our intersectional identities and experiences. We invite you to be a part of fostering a community of allyship!
For more information, click here.

January 26, 2022

Fight On for Civil Rights!

If you observe or experience discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, contact USC’s Office of Equity, Equality Opportunity, and Title IX (EEO-TIX) for help:

213-740-5086
Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

January 19, 2022

POSTPONED: Office of EDI Mixer: Meet the SDA BIPOC Faculty

The USC School of Dramatic Arts Office of EDI has decided to postpone the Meet the BIPOC Faculty Mixer (scheduled for January 28) to the fall 2022 semester. The safety and well-being of our community is our top priority. Postponing gives us time to better plan and ensure everyone feels safe and comfortable attending.

Please be on the lookout for other events from the Office of EDI through the spring.

January 12, 2022

Please note that this event has been postponed until the fall. Check back for updates.
Office of EDI Mixer: Meet the SDA BIPOC Faculty (POSTPONED)
Center for Black Cultural and Student Affairs (Student Union 101)

The SDA Office of EDI in collaboration with the Center for Black Cultural and Student Affairs invites you to an event to meet and engage with BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) members of the SDA Faculty. Light hors d’oeuvres will be served. RSVP at https://bit.ly/EDIMixer.

January 5, 2022

Legacy Project | BHM Arts x Activism Initiative Interest Form

The SDA Office of EDI is elated to announce the Legacy Project, an arts x activism initiative for Black History Month, produced in collaboration with the Center for Black Cultural and Student Affairs (CBCSA).

The Legacy Project asks the questions: How do you bring character to a speech? How do you embody the legacy of the greatest artivists, poets, and black icons around the world? And most importantly, how can Black artists collaborate to build a legacy of the past, the present, and the future?

This spring, we will be producing a video series, featuring the SDA community (students, faculty, and staff) reciting or performing solo pieces by Black artists chosen by the Office of EDI. For more information and to get involved, please fill out this Google Form with your contact information and stay tuned for more news to come shortly!

December 15, 2021

Legacy Project | BHM Arts x Activism Initiative

Hello and happy holidays! The SDA Office of EDI is elated to announce the Legacy Project, an arts x activism initiative for Black History Month, produced in collaboration with the Center for Black Cultural and Student Affairs (CBCSA). The Legacy Project asks the questions: How do you bring character to a speech? How do you embody the legacy of the greatest artivists, poets, and black icons around the world? And most importantly, how can Black artists collaborate to build a legacy of the past, the present, and the future?

This spring, we will be producing a video series, featuring the SDA community (students, faculty, and staff) reciting or performing solo pieces by Black artists chosen by the Office of EDI. To get involved, please fill out the following Google Form with your contact information and stay tuned for more news to come shortly! For more information, click here.

December 8, 2021

SDA Office of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion space is now open!

From now until December 15, 2021, please join us in our EDI Office space in MCC 101 Suite Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.. Take a study break or enjoy refreshments and snacks. All are welcome. We look forward to seeing you and offering exciting programs and initiatives in Spring 2022 for SDA community.

December 1, 2021

SDA Office of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Opening

Please join us for the launch of our EDI Office space in MCC 101 Suite on December, 7, 2021 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.. Take a study break, enjoy refreshments and snacks, and visit our new EDI Office. All are welcome. We look forward to seeing you and offering exciting programs and initiatives in Spring 2022 for SDA community.

November 10, 2021

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND: SDA Anti-Racism & Advocacy Challenge
Begins November 8, 2021 (for 4 weeks)

As SDA is actively integrating anti-racist practices and values into our curriculum, teaching, productions, systems, and processes within our school, we invite our students to engage and participate in our 30-Day Anti-Racism & Advocacy Challenge. Each day there is a different action prompt that you can read, listen, watch, advocate, or do and apply into practice.

There are prizes of AMAZON gift cards for the first three students who complete the challenge and for the first SDA Student Groups/Organizations who complete the challenge each week. Once you complete the challenge, please submit a Creative Reflection about one takeaway that you learned and will apply in the future: poem, video, collage, visual artwork, drawing, Instagram story, blog, or dance/movement piece. *Each week goes Monday to Sunday and reflections are due each Monday (for the next 4 weeks). For more information, click here.

LA vs. Hate Initiative

We are excited to share that USC School of Dramatic Arts is participating in the LA vs Hate Initiative with our Anti-Racism & Advocacy Challenge and our Community Outreach Grants/Initiatives (Nobody Knows & SHARP). As part of the LA vs Hate campaign, next week is United Against Hate Week. For more information, click here.

November 3, 2021

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND: SDA Anti-Racism & Advocacy Challenge
Begins November 8, 2021 (for 4 weeks)

October 20, 2021

Happy International Pronouns Day! 

International Pronouns Day seeks to make respecting, sharing, and educating about personal pronouns commonplace. Referring to people by the pronouns they determine for themselves is basic to human dignity. Being referred to by the wrong pronouns particularly affects transgender and gender nonconforming people. Together, we can transform society to celebrate people’s multiple, intersecting identities and create a more inclusive USC.

Visit MyPronouns.org and deepen your learning. Be sure you know how to respect others’ pronouns. Practice using they/them and other pronoun sets in sentences on your own, so you can do better in real life scenarios. Learn how to recover from mistakes.

The LGBTQ+SC to you has partnered with the EEO-TIX Office to bring you pronoun buttons. Visit the LGBTQ+ Student Center in STU-415 to pick up yours!

October 13, 2021

USC has made it easier than ever to celebrate all of your unique identities. The university offers more resources to students who identify as Black, Latinx, Asian, LGBTQ+, undocumented, first generation and transfer, as well as their allies.

For more on this story, click here.

For information about USC’s Student Equity and Inclusion Programs, please visit: https://seip.usc.edu.

October 6, 2021

While we continue to see a rise in students from all backgrounds and abilities these past few years, we want to keep that momentum going and invite you to join the SDA Office of Admissions & Student Services in our recruitment efforts. As we open up our fall 2022 admission cycle, please share any suggestions or feedback on ways of expanding access to information about our programs and audition or portfolio review.

If you would like to connect with our Office of Admissions and Student Services, please email Sergio Ramirez, Associate Dean of Admissions & Student Services at seramire@usc.edu.

September 29, 2021

The Inclusion and Equity Committee of SDA serves as a task force to continue to support and assess programs and initiatives surrounding equity, diversity and inclusion at the School. The committee consists of SDA faculty and staff representatives, two current students, two alumni and a representative from the SDA Board of Councilors.

The faculty and staff members of the Inclusion and Equity Committee have been selected for the 2021-22 Academic Year and include Anita Dashiell-Sparks (Chair) Rodney To, Kathy Dunn-Muzingo, Scott Faris, Debra De Liso, Jen Franco, Rena Heinrich, Lori Ray Fisher and Alfred Magallanes. In addition, students have the opportunity to serve as EDI Liaisons who work with the Inclusion & Equity Committee and collaborate with SDA Student groups on EDI initiatives supporting (or integrating) this work in all facets of our community and culture.

To be one of the student representatives on this committee or serve as EDI Liaison, please share your interest and/or nomination of peers to SDA Office of EDI: sdaedi@usc.edu.

September 15, 2021

People of color face many challenges in the entertainment industry, both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. Across all career paths, marginalized groups remain underrepresented, and efforts by the industry to create parity continue to be inadequate.

A recent report found “40 specific pain points” for Black professionals trying to break through, including barriers to developing, financing, marketing and distributing content. The study also found that few “above the line” Black creatives in behind-the-scenes roles are the primary source for Black talent offscreen, and up-and-coming Black actors have fewer opportunities in leading roles and narrower margins for error compared to their white counterparts.

A panel of experts involved in the research will discuss actions that could increase representation across the industry and provide space for a new and diverse generation of creatives.

Moderated by SDA Assistant Professor Elizabeth Harper, the panel will include Franklin Leonard (film and television producer, cultural commentator, entrepreneur and founder/CEO of the Black List); Sheldon Lyn (partner in McKinsey & Company’s Southern California Office and co-author of the report, Black Representation in Film & TV); Nony Onyeador (VP of Operations at Endeavor Content and co-author of the report, Black Representation in Film & TV).

For more information and to RSVP, click here.

September 8, 2021

EDI@SDA: Theatrical Intimacy & Building Cultures of Consent Workshop
September 15, 2021 (12p-2p)

As an actor, director, writer, designer, stage manager, producer, how do you handle or address working on plays that have intimacy (physical, sexual, social, emotional, violence, etc.)? We have a workshop opportunity for you that will help you find answers to this question.

We are partnering with Carly Weckstein, Intimacy Director and Theater Director, to facilitate a dynamic and engaging Intimacy in Theater and Building Culture of Consent workshops for SDA. Students will learn how to establish safe boundaries and create agreements during acting scene work, directing work, design work/fittings, applicable in both the classroom and in rehearsal/production. Participants will also learn about creating cultures and environments of affirmative consent to honor and respect everyone’s sense of gender identity, gender expression, safety, and well-being within our artistic and educational community of SDA.

To RSVP, click here.


A MESSAGE FOR THOSE WHO PARTICIPATED IN SDA AUDITIONS:

Thank you for participating in auditions this semester. In an effort to continue providing valuable experiences, we would appreciate your input. Please take a moment and tell us about your experience. Please respond to this survey by Monday, September 13, 2021 at 12:00 pm PT.

Survey Link: https://dramaticarts.wufoo.com/forms/s10jwp570u0r3o5/

We look forward to hearing from you.

Warmly,
Anita, Jen, and Chevaughan

September 1, 2021

USC School of Dramatic Arts CommUNITY Day: “The Value of Belonging”
Friday, September 15, 2021 | 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

All students, faculty, staff and alumni are welcome and invited to join this year’s schedule of interactive workshops and discussions curated to foster unity through exploring connection, deepening togetherness, and engaging change.

SDA’s CommUNITY Day is an annual event that fosters and builds community through creating a democratized learning environment that explores and celebrates different modalities of seeing, thinking, feeling, listening, communicating, and doing.

To learn more and RSVP, visit: https://bit.ly/CommUNITYDay2021.

EDI@SDA: Theatrical Intimacy & Building Cultures of Consent Workshop
September 15, 2021 (12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.)

As an actor, director, writer, designer, stage manager, producer, how do you handle or address working on plays that have intimacy (physical, sexual, social, emotional, violence, etc.)? We have a workshop opportunity for you that will help you find answers to this question.

We are partnering with Carly Weckstein, Intimacy Director and Theater Director, to facilitate a dynamic and engaging Intimacy in Theater and Building Culture of Consent workshops for SDA. Students will learn how to establish safe boundaries and create agreements during acting scene work, directing work, design work/fittings, applicable in both the classroom and in rehearsal/production. Participants will also learn about creating cultures and environments of affirmative consent to honor and respect everyone’s sense of gender identity, gender expression, safety, and well-being within our artistic and educational community of SDA.

To RSVP, click here.

August 25, 2021

SDA Student Support & Reporting Form:
To facilitate a supportive environment of accountability, SDA has created an internal system of reporting for students to address issues/concerns and to offer feedback or suggestions for improvement. This mechanism provides a pathway for reporting and offering feedback without fear of retaliation or judgment. This process was designed by SDA Inclusion & Equity Committee with input from faculty/staff and in collaboration with USC EEOTIX Office, USC Ombuds Office, and USC Office of Ethics and Compliance. Any submission filed through this form will be reviewed and processed accordingly through SDA Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and student concerns will be addressed by the appropriate administrator.

To access this form, visit: https://bit.ly/SDAstudentreporting

Bayo Akinfemi and Rodney To join full-time faculty at SDA
Both Akinfemi and To — who previously taught as adjunct lecturers — bring decades of multi-platform professional experience into their classrooms, guiding students to the skills they will need to be adaptable in the rapidly changing landscape of entertainment.

View archived updates from previous school years