The School of Communication’s Values Statement reads: “We value a diverse and inclusive environment, ethical decision making, freedom of thought and expression, and equality as cornerstones of a democratic society.”
When we adopted this statement in May of 2017, we were very mindful that, arguably more than any other discipline, communication plays a pivotal role in fostering, building and providing mechanisms to safeguard a diverse and inclusive society.
The nature of Communication Sciences and Disorders, for example, centers around the lives of people who live with communication differences—individuals who are potentially marginalized and vulnerable because of difference. As part of its mission, CSD supports toddlers who are deaf, school-age students who stutter, transgender adults seeking to reflect their identity in their voice, and older adults who struggle to formulate sentences due to aphasia.
All disciplines in Communication Studies, from rhetoric to political communication; from public relations to sports communication, are founded on the basis of critical thinking and evidence gathering that understands and respects different audiences and points of view, and empowers the voiceless to speak.
Journalism, on the other hand, provides audiences multiple perspectives on the world so they can better understand the issues, concerns, and attitudes of diverse people in it. Intercultural fluency provides journalists with the tools to hear, understand and reflect the diverse ideas, perspectives and voices of different audiences in all facets of modern life.
Marketing Communication is committed to ensuring that all students, regardless of their area of emphasis, learn about the importance of diversity and inclusion as they embark on careers in entrepreneurship, marketing communication, advertising, public relations, analytics, business or a myriad of other opportunities afforded by its programs. The ability to communicate in a world of diverse viewpoints, backgrounds and perspectives is critical to building understanding through communication, furtherance of business goals, and development of mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and the publics upon whom their success or failure depends.
Goal 1: Partner with high schools and community colleges in the surrounding communities in a meaningful way, in order to increase our outreach to students from underrepresented groups, including, but not limited to, African-American, Afro-Caribbean, Hispanic, Asian-American, and Native American students. This undertaking will help the School of Communication to grow and sustain a learning community that better reflects the diversity of Boston and its surrounding communities.
Goal 2: Work closely with Emerson Admissions and the Enrollment Office to support their efforts to recruit, admit, attract and retain students from diverse backgrounds, lower socio-economic groups, and first-generation in their families to attend college. In partnering with these entities, as well as with other campus resources, the School of Communication will be able to host annual events, offer a greater number of mentorship and leadership opportunities, and other ongoing activities that benefit underrepresented students within the SOC.
Goal 3: Work together with organizations such as NABJ, NAHJ, AAJA, PRSSA, and ASHA, among others, to establish at Emerson college chapters that support and mentor students from underrepresented groups; in case of existing chapters, support more directly activities that serve those students.
Faculty and Staff
Goal 1: Expand and sustain ongoing efforts to have a broader representation of people of color and women in the faculty and staff of the School of Communication. Achieving balanced representation of diverse and female faculty and staff within the SOC is of the utmost importance.
Goal 2: To create, foster and maintain a workplace atmosphere and culture that is inclusive and respectful of racial, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, and disability status, along with other aspects of social identity. Existing best practices in diversity and inclusion will be reviewed and improved upon across the SOC, and mentorship opportunities for faculty and staff on these best practices will be made available. To supplement these efforts, the SOC will host and promote events and activities that strengthen a culture of respect and inclusion.
Goal 3: The SOC and its departments will facilitate and lead the discussion of diversity and inclusion concepts and terms among its stakeholders, so that we are constantly learning and evolving in our understanding of those issues. We will strive to make the SOC a research hub and a place of best practices, when it comes to diversity and inclusion issues. In part, this will be achieved through organizing events that aim to enhance curricula and educate stakeholders about diversity and inclusion.
Goal: All academic programs in the School of Communication (graduate and undergraduate; majors and minors) will aim to adopt a diversity and inclusion learning outcome as part of their program. Within two years, all academic programs in the School of Communication will have at least one learning outcome addressing advanced issues of diversity and inclusion as part of their required curriculum. Departments and programs will continuously review and assess courses to make sure that learning outcomes related to diversity and inclusion are being adopted and met as intended. Within three years, all majors and programs in the School of Communication will have at least one course addressing advanced issues of diversity and inclusion as part of the required curriculum.
Community and Professional Engagement
Besides providing students with hands-on, experiential learning opportunities, community and professional engagement experiences expand the SOC’s presence in the community and in professional organizations; give us opportunities to bring diverse voices and groups into the School; and allow us to accomplish our overall mission of providing an excellent education in a diverse and inclusive, digital, global environment.
Goal 1: To ensure that each academic department has a variety of community and professional engagement opportunities available to students and faculty. All majors and programs will have at least one course available to their students in which community and/or professional engagement opportunities are a substantial part of the curriculum within three years.
Goal 2: By engaging with NABJ, NAHJ, AAJA, PRSA, ASHA and other professional organizations, we will aim to engage our students and faculty with a diversity of professionals who will enrich the academic life of the School in myriad ways. The SOC will bring to campus professional and community leaders from diverse backgrounds as lecturers, guest lecturers, project partners, student supervisors, and program evaluators, among other roles.
Goal 3: To support and enhance the work currently done by the Robbins Center, as well as other community-oriented engagement activities performed by the School and its academic departments.
Goal 4: Seek to establish more long-term community partnerships and relationships, giving the students and the faculty more opportunities and venues for engagement with diverse communities. This will help to establish more internships, partnered studios, engaged learning and other opportunities for our students and faculty.