Diversity and Inclusion Policy and Plan Overview

The Department of Journalism and Digital Communication fosters diversity and inclusion in our faculty, staff, student body and curriculum. We recognize global domestic groups that have experienced de facto or de jure discrimination or under representation in mass media. We make special efforts to bring individuals and perspectives from these groups into our curriculum, our classrooms and our conversations.

Dimensions of diversity can include, but are not limited to, sex, race, age, national origin, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, intellectual and physical ability, sexual orientation, income, faith and non-faith perspectives, socio-economic status, political ideology, education, primary language, family status, military experience, cognitive style, and communication style.

We actively demonstrate the USF St. Pete core value Inclusion of Differences:

We seek divergent voices and tell untold stories. We actively recruit students, faculty, staff and administrators who bring global and domestic diversity to campus , with emphasis on representing our evolving regional demographics. We notice where conceptual differences synthesize, complement – or clash. In classes, in meetings and in public forums, we invite difficult dialogues to enable everyone to better understand different worldviews. We strive to create synergy.

Dimensions of Diversity

We foster diversity and inclusion in five ways:

  1. Faculty and Staff Diversity. We have hired faculty members with a variety of backgrounds and orientations, fully maintaining our commitment to diversity. Faculty résumés, activities and teaching approaches and perspectives indicate success in hiring an intellectually and otherwise diverse faculty. When reviewing qualified candidates, we give preference to hiring faculty, staff and graduate assistants who represent global and domestic diversity. We believe that students best learn to seek and present diverse views when exposed to diverse voices in their university experience.Goal: Maintain or expand our current level of diverse faculty representation.

    Action Steps:

    1. Recruit from a diverse population for future faculty openings.
    2. Advertise for open positions through a wide range of publications, targeting those likely to be noticed by diverse applicants.
    3. Maintain faculty diversity by providing opportunities for full participation in all teaching, research and service pursuits available at the university.
    4. Seek accomplished adjuncts who also represent diverse backgrounds.
  2. Student Diversity. Our department has a genuine culture of showing concern for minority students, nurturing and helping them succeed. The diversity rate for students in our department is higher than university average, attesting to the culture of acceptance we strive to foster.Goal: Maintain or grow a diverse student population.

    Action Steps:

    1. Engage with local and regional K-12 programs to recruit students from diverse populations.
    2. Market programs internationally via social media, our websites, and other digital platforms.
    3. Create a respectful, inclusive environment.
    4. Recruit students from across campus with selected courses open to nonmajors.
    5. Provide assistantships and other incentives to international students.
  3. Diversity Across the Curriculum. We seek opportunities to incorporate diverse ideas, perspectives and people throughout our curriculum. Elements of curricular diversity include assignments, modules, and, in some cases, entire courses, such as Neighborhood News Bureau and Race, Class, and Gender. We require all undergraduate majors and encourage graduate majors to hone their journalistic skills in Midtown, an historically African American community in St. Petersburg. We include our commitment to diversity and inclusion in all syllabi explicitly or implicitly through stated objectives and assignments. We reward students’ efforts to be inclusive as a basis for evaluation.GOAL: Incorporate meaningful experiences with diversity in every required and elective class.

    Action Steps:

    1. Continue reflecting on cultural representations in courses.
    2. Update courses to include current events from diverse perspectives.
    3. Highlight good and bad examples of minority representations across the media.
    4. Monitor how industry changes, especially with regard to digital technologies, impact diversity in newsrooms.
    5. Create opportunities for students to experience diversity in and around the campus community.
  1. Atmosphere of Inclusion Inside and Outside the Classroom. We actively demonstrate the USFSP core value Inclusion of Differences: We seek divergent voices and tell untold stories. We actively recruit students, faculty, staff and administrators who bring global and domestic diversity to campus, with emphasis on representing our evolving regional demographics. We notice where conceptual differences synthesize, complement – or clash. In classes, in meetings and in public forums, we invite difficult dialogues to enable everyone to better understand different worldviews. We strive to create synergy. We are committed to encouraging diverse voices and having the hard discussions. Faculty and staff model and insist on respect and civility in all that we do.Goal: Maintain a culture where all students, faculty, and staff feel free to express opinions, talk about difficult topics, and disagree with care and consideration.

    Action Steps:

    1. Organize campus conversations about free speech, civic engagement, and divergent viewpoints.
    2. Invite accomplished guest speakers, lecturers, and professionals who present students with novel ideas.
    3. Encourage students to ask difficult questions and engage in challenging conversations.
    4. Provide access to a wide range of publications and diverse media.
    5. Value respectful interactions above all.
  2. Diversity as a Student Learning Competency (Individual and Global Diversity). We have mapped individual and global diversity competencies to multiple required courses in all three JMS programs, providing ample opportunity for mastery.Goal: Ensure all students in all programs are exposed to the individual and global diversity competencies in multiple classes prior to graduation.

    Action Steps:

    1. Include our commitment to diversity and inclusion in all syllabi explicitly or implicitly through stated objectives and assignments.
    2. Seek and use materials about diversity and inclusion by diverse authors as part of course materials.
    3. Reward students’ efforts to be inclusive as a basis for evaluation.
    4. Ensure diversity competencies continue to be well-represented across our programs.

We review our progress toward these goals annually.

Adopted: February, 2015; Last Updated: May, 2016