Newly created role establishes Peabody as one of the few conservatories in the U.S. with executive DEI leadership and underscores the school’s fundamental commitment to these principles.
The Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University announced today the appointment of Dr. China L. Wilson as its inaugural Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The creation of this new role underscores Peabody’s commitment to fighting racism and creating and sustaining a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion within its community and the industry at large, and establishes the school as one of the few music and dance conservatories in the United States to have a DEI position on its executive leadership team.
Dr. Wilson, who assumes her new role on December 19, brings more than 15 years of education experience working in diversity, equity, and inclusion, anti-racism, civil rights, social justice, Title IX compliance, change management, career counseling, and public policy to this pioneering position at the country’s first conservatory. As Assistant Dean for DEI, she is responsible for providing strategic leadership to guide and execute critical DEAI initiatives outlined by Dean Fred Bronstein as a central pillar of the strategic Breakthrough Plan that guides Peabody’s evolution and growth. She will also steward the Conservatory’s goals as part of Johns Hopkins University’s Roadmap on Diversity and Inclusion, a key strategic framework created in 2016 and updated in 2021, that ensures JHU and its affiliates remain open to and inclusive of diverse people and ideas to allow for a freedom of inquiry and expression.
“Dr. Wilson’s wealth of professional and personal expertise will be invaluable to the Peabody Institute as we continue to advance a conservatory model that acknowledges, embraces, celebrates and engages diverse identities, perspectives, and traditions in order to reflect and respond to the evolving needs of today’s cultural sector as we train and prepare our future artists,” said Fred Bronstein, Dean of the Peabody Institute. “I am delighted to welcome her as a member of the leadership team who will guide, strengthen, and implement diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts across the institution, from faculty, student and staff recruitment, to shaping the academic and performance curricula, to furthering Peabody’s leadership in the field around these important issues.”
“I know through first-hand experience the challenges faced by many students in higher education and am excited to be able to play a pivotal role in continuing to strengthen the Peabody Institute’s position as a leader in the conservatory space for diversity, equity, inclusion,” said Dr. China L. Wilson. “I look forward to collaborating with Dean Bronstein, members of the ADEI Steering Committee, and Peabody faculty, staff, and students to advance goals critical to the future of the institution and the performing arts landscape at large.”
The Peabody Institute has undertaken critical DEI initiatives over the last several years, including introducing underrepresented and emerging artistic traditions historically excluded from the conservatory setting into the curriculum and performance repertoire; taking part in Shared Voices, a new initiative spearheaded by renowned vocalist, advocate, and Peabody faculty member Denyce Graves that connects classical voice students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities with faculty, students, and resources at preeminent conservatories; and hosting a free virtual symposium examining inclusion, diversity, equity, and anti-racism in the performing arts as part of The Next Normal, Peabody’s series on the future of the industry, that featured leading artists and arts administrators.
Previously, Dr. Wilson served as the inaugural Equity and Civil Rights Compliance Specialist at the Maryland State Department of Education, providing oversight, technical assistance, and guidance on the development and implementation of a consolidated federal monitoring program that evaluates and ensures equity, access, and program quality for Maryland higher education and K-12 programs. Additionally, she co-created and facilitated a professional learning series to help college leaders set the stage for building equitable learning environments, analyzing institutional data, identifying growth opportunities for DEI, conducting root cause analysis, selecting actionable strategies, and creating plans of action.
Dr. Wilson also led a department serving students from various underrepresented groups at Trinity Washington University in Washington D.C. as the Director of the Office of Career Services and Experiential Learning and Title IX Coordinator. In this role she developed effective programs, policies, and services to address barriers students faced because of race, gender, ethnicity, low income, or immigration status.
She earned her PhD in educational management from Hampton University and is a former performing artist with professional vocal, dance, and theatre training and experience. Dr. Wilson was selected for this position following a national search by a committee comprised of leadership from Peabody and Johns Hopkins University, as well as Peabody students, faculty, staff, and alumni.
More information on all of Peabody’s leadership, innovative programs, and initiatives is available at peabody.jhu.edu.