Inclusion Plan

Inclusion Statement 

The William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications (SJMC) aims to create and maintain an environment that values diversity by:

  • Respecting the identities and experiences of students, faculty and staff
  • Enhancing cultural competency skills for students, faculty and staff
  • Including social justice in learning, teaching and mentoring activities
  • Encouraging a variety of respectful opinions pertaining to current societal matters
  • Supporting interdisciplinary collaborations
  • Aligning with the values and mission of the University of Kansas as spelled out in its RISE platform: “When we Realize Intersectional Standards of Excellence, we contribute to the fulfillment of KU’s mission and vision by ensuring that diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) are integral to every part of KU’s research, scholarship, teaching, service, community engagement, and support.”

Alignments: The inclusion plan aligns with the University of Kansas Jayhawks Rising Strategic Plan and the Accreditation Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications competencies.

Conceptualization: Inclusion is an evolving concept, which encompasses a multitude of experiences, perspectives, identities and actions.

Rationale: The SJMC recognizes the need to use a narrow conceptualization of inclusion based on certain demographic characteristics (mainly race and gender) to comply with reporting criteria from the university and accreditation organizations. The SJMC also recognizes that this focus on race and gender when measuring the diversity of a particular unit is the result of a society that has been built on and continues to function in a system of institutional racism and sexism. Given this legacy, the SJMC encompasses race and gender in its definition of diversity AND broadens it by being more inclusive of people’s multiple identities, how these identities intersect, and how they change over time and based on context. Moving beyond identity, and exploring other facets of diversity, the SJMC conceptualizes diversity as the variety of experiences, perspectives, beliefs, identities and actions.

Committee: This is an elected committee, and membership will consist of three elected faculty members, one elected staff member, two undergraduate students, one graduate student, and the SJMC equity advisor. The SJMC equity advisor will serve as chair, and members will elect a vice chair annually. Faculty and staff members will serve a three-year term. Undergraduate and graduate students will serve a minimum one-year term. The committee will propose an annual budget to the dean, including $5,000 for a summer applied research competitive award. The committee will compile an annual report to be distributed to the faculty at the final faculty meeting of the academic year.

Key Performance Indicators

All steps are measurable to assess the implementation of the plan.

Key Performance Indicator I: Develop an academic environment fostering cultural competency and social justice.

  • Assess overall cultural competency levels of the J-School (students, faculty and staff) using a cultural competency assessment at least every four years. 
  • Hire and retain an equity advisor for the SJMC to assist in recruiting students, create SJMC programming, serve on faculty and staff search committees, chair the SJMC’s DEIB committee, and serve as a liaison to the KU Office of DEIB.
  • Review syllabi annually to assess inclusion of DEIB statements and assignments. 
  • Feature syllabus links and SJMC website to diversity-oriented professional associations, such as the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, the Indigenous Journalists Association, etc., to be updated annually. Use DEIB groups’ style guides in naming organizations.
  • Encourage instructors to post on Canvas events organized/sponsored by KU’s Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging and use extra credit as incentive for their students to attend some of these events every semester. The DEIB Committee will monitor such events and share with faculty in an annual report due in May each year.
  • Work with the Resource Center administrator to create a display panel in the Resource Center highlighting student/course accomplishments that reflect the diversity of experiences in the SJMC. To be completed Fall 2023.
  • Work with SJMC web producer to highlight DEIB students, faculty and staff to feature prominently on SJMC social media, Monday Memos and the website.
  • Encourage and promote the free circulation and exchange of ideas as an essential component of DEIB by hosting school-wide discussions and events about current events at least two times per semester. Sponsored by the DEIB Committee.

Key Performance Indicator II: Recruit and retain students who belong to underrepresented groups that reflect demographics in the KU area.

  • Use SJMC summer scholastic workshops to bring students from underrepresented populations to campus. Showcase all SJMC concentrations in these workshops.
  • Launch an annual Native American Storytelling camp in Summer 2022.
  • Visit area high schools with a highly diverse populations. Recruiters and others, including JSAP members, to make at least two such visits each semester.
  • Create technology workshops for those students during visits. Invite and support their visits to campus after workshops in their schools.
  • Engage alumni and especially the William Allen White Foundation Board of Trustees, to support scholarships for students representing underrepresented populations. 
  • Use scholarship dollars to recruit, support and retain these students.
  • Increase financial resources devoted to supporting the Journalism Multicultural Scholars Program and grow the program from 10 to 12 or more students by 2025.
  • Increase mentoring and leadership opportunities for students through student clubs, alumni panels and events such as Homecoming.

Key Performance Indicator III: Recruit and retain employees (faculty and staff) who belong to domestic underrepresented groups that reflect demographics trends in the U.S. in general and in higher education in particular.

  • Require all faculty search committee members to complete the training online for “Diversity Foundations for Faculty Search Committees” and follow the protocols in the university’s “Hiring for Excellence” handbook, including the inclusion of faculty and staff who belong to underrepresented groups when forming search committees.
  • Promote recruitment of faculty and staff with diverse cultural, life and social experiences by placing ads with professional affinity groups and organizations.
  • Increase mentoring and service opportunities for faculty and staff (committee assignment), especially on campus service that is encouraged and recognized.
  • Information about campus events will be posted in the Monday Memo and on social media. 

Key Performance Indicator IV: Develop a culture based on intellectual curiosity and inclusiveness (research paradigms, theoretical perspectives, etc.)

  • Showcase student and faculty research projects related to DEIB online and in Stauffer-Flint and Dole Development Center halls.
  • Collaborate with programs and centers, including International Studies, the Global Health Initiative, Haskell University, HBCUs, minority-owned businesses, and publications for research and creative work.
  • Continuing working with and reward community-based participatory research (CBPR) projects focused on working with underrepresented populations.
  • Expand our research collaboration to other areas of the globe to communities in need of our expertise through Memoranda of Understanding and Agreements.
  • Use a $5,000 summer grant for SJMC collaborative research projects that explore DEIB matters and have a direct impact on improving DEIB in SJMC and beyond. Encourage the summer funding to be seed money for more grants. Showcase results of summer grant in a display in the Resource Center.

Approved by faculty 12/6/2022