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We envision an artistic community where the breadth of human dignity is creatively realized, inspiring everyone to collectively and proactively develop their sense of individual potential
and global mindfulness.


While currently named The Office of Intercultural Student Engagement (ISE), RISD’s first department dedicated to assuring access, support, and other assistance to minority students was established in 1968 as the Third World Program.  While the office has adjusted its name over the years, its mission and contribution have remained firm. Helping RISD achieve its goal of attracting and developing the most promising artists and designers has been the core of this office’s work.  Its specific historical charge of assisting students of color and international students has served to provide a more inclusive environment for these students and has equally enhanced the educational and social experiences of the RISD commonwealth. 


Since the 1960s, five administrators have led the office with titles ranging from Dean to Coordinator to Director.  ISE is indebted to the dedication, commitment, and contributions of these administrators, as they have championed, advocated for, and supported the needs of our various student populations. Their service helped guide the college toward realizing an inclusive and supportive environment where all can contribute to and benefit from the uniqueness of RISD.


The Office of Intercultural Student Engagement (ISE) cultivates an environment that recognizes an ever-changing campus and global community.  ISE nurtures the holistic growth and inspiration of emergent artists and designers to enhance social consciousness, cultural mindfulness, self-actualization, and inclusive dialogues.


We support students from underrepresented backgrounds groups including, but not limited to those who are: first generation, international, LGBTQIA+, religious or spiritual, students who are socio-economically disadvantaged, students with disabilities, BIPOC students, and students not traditionally of college age.  We are further committed to actively engaging with campus partners to enrich cultural dialogue, competencies and inclusiveness.

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