Goals and Actions

The Who What Where When Why How? Choreographed by Cynthia Oliver, Photo by Natalie FiolWho Dances

The Department of Dance embraces human diversity in all its many facets—gender, race, class, age, sexual orientation, and ability. As a state school, we would like our population to, at the very least, reflect the demographics of Illinois. Ultimately, we would like our program to go further and be as diverse as the world in which we live.


We will continue all the successful practices established and commit to and refine those processes. The most significant need for maintaining and increasing the diversity of our community requires action. On behalf of the below sectors of our community, we are committed to implementing and/or maintaining the following:


  • Lobby the university for more scholarships to help us actively recruit and retain minority students. This means not only racial and ethnic diversity but also other types of diversity that directly impact our field, such as gender diversity.
  • Seek funding for specific scholarships for underrepresented students through No Debt for Dancers, the departmental fundraising initiative to generate money for scholarships.


  • Invite guest artists from diverse backgrounds that augment the expertise and backgrounds of our current faculty.
  • Continue to build diversity through each new hire (actively seeking diverse candidates in search processes and participating in diversity training).
  • Seek funding to support a diverse professoriate through national programs (Mellon Diversity Program) and the university programs DRIVE (Diversity Realized at Illinois through Visioning Excellence), IPRH (Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities), and TOP (Targets of Opportunity Program).

What We Dance

We will continue to review the undergraduate and graduate curricula in terms of nomenclature and requirements in order to recognize and disrupt hegemonic practices hindering our diversity progress. We aim to enrich our aesthetic environment by exposing ourselves and our students to multiple points of view and differing methods of study. Faculty are committed to regularly reviewing the content of their courses to be mindful of the breadth and contextualizing of materials. We will consult with one another or with colleagues outside our respective areas when assistance with the above is necessary and recommit to prioritizing the time to review and deepen our work and the interdisciplinary approach we value.

How We Dance Together

The Department of Dance is committed to creating an inclusive community in which all voices are cultivated. We are committed to looking at all our collective behaviors in terms of bias (unconscious and conscious) and work together to root out these practices.

Department of Dance

  • Establish in-depth training on social justice for faculty, staff, and students by prioritizing the time necessary to engage in this work.
  • Create programming/performances, lectures, and workshops that further our understanding of social justice.
  • Ensure we (administrators and faculty) hold ourselves accountable for progress on our diversity goals via our annual reviews.


  • Use existing channels of lobbying for a variety of social justice concerns and brainstorm with students about additional actions that will impact their experiences on campus and in the department to further our diversity progress.

Dance Field

  • Promote a diversity agenda across all of our activities both inside and outside the institution.
  • Commit to hosting conferences, performance series, and talks that address diversity in university dance programs, professional programming venues, granting organizations, other institutional settings, and grassroots settings.
  • Encourage our graduates to actively seek out opportunities to engage in making their casts, workplaces, learning environments, and living environments places that are sensitive to and embracing of differently identified individuals.