School of Communications Team
To best serve the public good, those entrusted to communicate news, information, insight, and entertainment in society should reflect the diverse audiences they seek to reach. As a School of Communications, we are committed to having a diverse and inclusive program that serves and reflects a global society.
The above is the preamble to a revised Diversity Plan that was approved by the School of Communications in the fall of 2010. The plan addresses diversity within the faculty, the student body, and within our curriculum. The first two bullets under “An Inclusive Curriculum,” state:
- Our students and faculty will discuss in class the importance of communicating with a diversity of audiences, as well as the historic and current contribution of diverse voices in society.
- We will work with the library to increase the amount of media-related resources that reflect diversity in opinions, perspectives, and experiences to incorporate into our courses.
In the fall of 2010, Darnell Cole, associate professor at the University of Southern California, spoke at a CATL-sponsored luncheon on diversity in education. One of his profound statements was, “What students learn they are also learning.” In other words, he said, content that doesn’t reflect diversity shows that diversity isn’t important.
This is the center of our proposal – to increase the amount of content in our courses that reflects diversity. The challenge in doing so is a lack of diverse resources available to instructors, particularly in the required COM 100 course (Communication in a Global Society) which all of our majors are required to take. This course focuses much of its content on the historical development of mass media (including newspapers, magazines, television, radio, the Internet, public relations and advertising). Texts for the course often cover historical contributions of white males in the U.S., leaving out important contributions from other diverse voices both nationally and globally. Because up to ten different professors teach this course, and because the course covers such a broad array of content, a reservoir of materials and resources is needed to help instructors infuse diverse voices into each section of the course content.