James Haywood Rolling Jr., dual professor of art education and teaching and leadership in Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) and School of Education and the chair of art education, has been appointed VPA’s inaugural director of diversity, equity and inclusion.
In this new role, Rolling will lead VPA’s diversity and inclusion initiatives in conjunction with the University’s chief diversity officer; establish and lead a college-wide committee with faculty, staff and students to facilitate projects, programming and other action items deemed necessary and appropriate to promote a more inclusive environment; collaborate as necessary with VPA’s leadership by attending Academic and Staff Council meetings as scheduled; and develop and assess outcomes to determine effectiveness and return on investment.
“Professor Rolling is considered a national leader in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion, especially with his work on behalf of the National Art Education Association, where he has served on their executive board and currently serves on their new task force on equity, diversity and inclusion,” says VPA Dean Michael S. Tick. “VPA is fortunate to have Professor Rolling in this important position, for he is a noted scholar, a gifted teacher and is committed to helping us lead the efforts to change the campus climate.”
“I am excited to have been appointed by Dean Tick to support the commitment of my VPA colleagues toward the common goal of greater diversity, equity and inclusion at Syracuse University,” says Rolling. “One of the great satisfactions of leadership is in helping one another achieve collective goals we cannot fully attain as individuals. I look forward to beginning this work.”
Rolling is a past member of the board of directors of the National Art Education Association (NAEA), serving as higher education division director from 2011-2013. He is the 2014 recipient of the National Higher Education Art Educator Award for outstanding service and achievement of national significance and just completed a three-year term (2015-2017) as senior editor of Art Education, the bimonthly journal of NAEA.\
Rolling has written grant project proposals garnering more than $2 million of external funding since 2014. He is the founder of the 4A Arts & Creative Literacies Academy, a college-community partnership between Syracuse University Art Education and Dr. Edwin E. Weeks Elementary School. 4A Academy features a cross-disciplinary STEAM education instructional format exploring the arts and sciences and serving more than 800 students in grades K-5 daily.
Rolling has been a commissioner-at-large on the NAEA Research Commission since 2014 and is its newly elected associate chair. He is also the author of “Swarm Intelligence: What Nature Teaches Us About Shaping Creative Leadership” (St. Martin’s Press), a surprising look at the social origins of creativity, and the “Arts-Based Research Primer” (Peter Lang Inc.), both published in 2013.
Rolling earned an M.F.A. in studio arts research at Syracuse University and a B.F.A. at the Cooper Union School of Art. Looking back over the arc of his career from elementary school art teacher to teacher educator, Rolling cites his work teaching 3D design and sculpture over two consecutive years to high school students enrolled in Cooper Union’s Saturday Art Program as his genesis for understanding the necessity of an art and design education in the present age—providing a catalyst for diverse and creative identities exploding into existence.