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Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Rochelle Sennet to the position of Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the College of Fine and Applied Arts. Effective January 2021, she will begin a three-year term of leading the college’s pursuit of excellence, engagement, and service through the centering of all programs and operations within a framework of anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

This new position for our college comes after years of preparation and research by our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, and fulfills a campus expectation set out in the Chancellor’s campus-wide diversity review. In this new capacity, Professor Sennet will work with the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to ensure that FAA units are following the latest and best research-based practices in this work.

In addition to advising the dean, the associate dean will regularly meet with individual units, serve as chair of the FAA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, and join the rest of the Dean’s Executive Leadership Team in their regular operational and strategic work, including service with them as ex officio members of the college’s Executive Committee and Administrative Council. This half-time administrative role will allow Professor Sennet to remain active as an associate professor in the School of Music.

 
 

“I am honored to serve as the inaugural Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the College of Fine and Applied Arts. My vision will be to work with all units to continue assessment of the current state of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and to formulate future development. I believe in transparency, accountability, as well as listening to and engaging with as many viewpoints as possible. I welcome conversations with faculty, staff, and students regarding the destructive effects of institutional racism, prejudice, hate, bigotry, campus microaggressions, as well as colorblind rhetoric.”

Sennet has established herself as a well-known pianist, recording artist, teacher, and scholar. She was a prize winner in numerous competitions such as the Kingsville International Piano Competition and the U.S. Open Music Piano Concerto Competition, as well as a national finalist at the MTNA Young Artist Piano Competition. Her most recent solo album, Alkebulan’s Son: The Solo Piano Works of James Lee III, was released on Albany Records. She is a cofounder of award-winning Duo MemDi, a piano-violin duo established in 2010 on the principles of diversity and performing works by memory, a rarity in the field of chamber music. With this announcement, we are also pleased to share Professor Sennet’s latest achievement of being named as a Yamaha artist—a prestigious distinction granted by the storied instrument-maker to recognize performers of critical acclaim. 

As a dedicated proponent of equity and inclusion initiatives, she currently serves as chair of the FAA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. She was previously a fellow in the Office of the Provost’s 2019–20 Emerging Pathways for Leaders Program and a member of Music’s inaugural IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access) Committee. She has attended anti-racism conferences on and off campus, such as National Conference on Race and Ethnicity, People’s Institute for Society and Beyond’s “Undoing Racism,” Crossroads Antiracism “Beyond Diversity,” and the Faculty Women of Color in the Academy National Conference. As an outreach advocate, she has given performances in retirement homes, K–12 schools, and summer music programs, and is passionate about exposing audiences to underrepresented voices of the past and present in the arts. 

Please join me in welcoming Professor Rochelle Sennet to her new role as Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and in thanking the members of the search committee, chaired by Professor Valleri Robinson, as well as the FAA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee for their guidance in framing this position. 

Kevin Hamilton
Professor and Dean

 
 
 
 
 
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