Published: March 21, 2024 By

Dean's Downbeat

John Davis leaning on desk in his officeFriends,

Recently, we’ve witnessed troubling trends where diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives are being curtailed or eliminated in some settings, including higher education. At the University of Colorado Boulder, however, we stand resolute in our commitment to fostering a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment; and at the College of Music, specifically, we’re doubling down on our dedication to actively championing DEI as key to our universal musician mission.

DEI isn’t just about compliance or a checkbox to be ticked off. Essential to fulfilling our mission of developing versatile musicians who are equipped to thrive in a rapidly changing world, DEI is woven into the very fabric of our educational philosophy. Our faculty and staff work daily to create conditions where every individual—regardless of their background—feels welcome, valued, respected and empowered to reach their full potential.

We know that embracing and uplifting diversity—encompassing a spectrum of identities, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status and disability—enriches our students’ educational experience and enhances the creativity, innovation and cultural richness of our college, campus and greater community. From last month’s first-ever statewide Jamaican Choral Music Symposium, organized by doctoral student O’Neil Jones and supported by a Roser Visiting Artists Program grant; to our fifth annual Persevering Legacy event earlier this month, with support from the College of Music Diversity, Equity + Inclusion Endowed Fund; to our upcoming Cross Genre Showcase representing an autophysiopsychic approach to musicking; to hosting the Sphinx Performance Academy again this summer, supported by a DEI Impact Grant from the Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion—our commitment to diversity is gaining momentum and recognition.

I’m especially proud of the ongoing work of the College of Music’s DEIA (diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility) committee. Reflecting principles of shared equity leadership, this committee comprises faculty and staff colleagues who are passionate about putting into practice inclusive excellence recommendations in the areas of curriculum development, co-curricular programming, concert repertoire/programming, faculty hiring and student recruitment. 

Drawing inspiration from the diverse lived experiences and cultural assets that our students, staff and faculty bring to the learning environment, we’re creating opportunities for them to leverage their unique backgrounds as sources of strength and ingenuity. In this way, it’s my goal to not only advance inclusivity, but also ignite greater collaboration and collective action within our college—and across other colleges, schools and programs on campus. 

The result? Over time, I’m convinced that by embracing DEI as integral to our universal musician mission, we not only achieve flexible, interdisciplinary career options for our graduates, but also expand the artistic landscape and cultivate a community of curious, continuous learners who challenge biases, question assumptions and engage with diverse perspectives—and who navigate nuance and complexity with openness, understanding and empathy.

I’m so grateful for your support and engagement in this critical mission.

Dean John Davis's signature

John S. Davis
Dean, College of Music