Press Release

June 20, 2017

Rhode Island School of Design Receives CUPA-HR’s Inclusion Cultivates Excellence Award

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) has received the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) 2017 Inclusion Cultivates Excellence Award for its RISDiversity Community Narratives project. This award honors transformative HR work in higher education, recognizing teams or individuals who have provided HR leadership resulting in significant and ongoing organizational change within their institutions. CUPA-HR is pleased to offer a $6,000 contribution to RISD’s endowment or a self-selected scholarship fund.

The RISDiversity Community Narratives project was created in 2011 as a joint partnership between the student affairs and human resources departments. The goal was to offer faculty, staff and students an opportunity to use their voices to inspire others, make an impact on the campus culture, and examine how a creative community can effectively embrace diversity.

The departments collectively reached out to RISD staff, faculty and students to ask them to participate and share their unique stories. Participants expressed their experiences in a writing workshop and via photo and video sessions. The portraits, combined with handwritten stories by participants, were then displayed throughout RISD’s 51-acre campus. A RISD-sponsored book, website and related videos were also promoted at campus events, which celebrates the six years and 120 stories that make up the project. The RISDiversity Project provides a powerful visible representation of the myriad identities that make the RISD campus unique, while promoting shared dialogue around diversity.

“I have been in the minority for a lot of environments I’ve moved through,” says a participating RISD student. “I would like to show that it’s okay to be different, and sometimes solitary in your perspectives. I have seen the RISDiversity project all around campus and love stopping to read and reread them. It makes me feel encouraged to know I’m not the only one out there learning to embrace my own essence.”

Following the success of RISDiversity, two new programs were subsequently launched to compliment the existing program’s efforts: RISD Reads and RISD Dialogues. Both provide forums for staff, faculty and students to continue to engage in meaningful discussion on diversity, equity and inclusion.

CUPA-HR is higher ed HR. We serve higher education by providing the knowledge, resources, advocacy and connections to achieve organizational and workforce excellence. Headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, and serving more than 23,000 HR professionals and other campus leaders at nearly 2,000 member organizations around the country and abroad, the association offers learning and professional development programs, higher education salary and benefits data, extensive online resources and just-in-time regulatory and legislative information.

CUPA-HR’s annual Higher Education Human Resource Awards honor excellence in higher education human resources and recognize service and commitment to CUPA-HR and innovation in the profession.

Contact: Sarah Carson, Marketing Manager, CUPA-HR
Phone: (865) 637-7673



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