March 2022 to March 2023
July 5, 2023
July 5, 2023
As The Media School moves onward into its 9th year as a school, we continue to emphasize diversity and inclusion in our curriculum, programming, research, hiring practices, and other initiatives. A priority from our 2020 diversity report continues to drive our teaching, research, and service missions: committing to diversity and inclusion is a mindset that permeates all our work, so efforts to diversify who we are, whom we attract, and what we cover in the curriculum are actively integrated into our ongoing planning and implementation processes.
Our school has two active diversity committees – one faculty, one staff. The Media School deans collaborate with these committees as well as with our unit directors and graduate and undergraduate directors to help the diversity committees meet their goals. The Associate Dean regularly meets with the faculty diversity committee to share updates and listen to the committee’s concerns, and the deans have responded to many committee suggestions in recent years, from prioritizing minority faculty hires to supporting a staff and faculty volunteer program to honor the Juneteenth holiday. Diversity committee chairs and representatives provide regular updates and reports at full faculty and staff meetings to encourage greater participation in DEI efforts and activities within our school and the campus.
As demonstrated in this report, we actively implement and integrate many DEI strategies throughout The Media School. We as a school consider it important to compile our DEI-related efforts in this annual report for institutional knowledge as well as to consider and reflect upon past approaches while planning for our future steps. Now, and in the coming years, we hope our collective academic and professional endeavors will foster and shape a supportive, inclusive culture for our school’s students, faculty, and staff.
An important note in this year’s diversity report is the external review process The Media School recently undertook. After months of preparation and the creation of a 100+ page self-study report, our school hosted three faculty (external to IU) for a three-day site visit to learn as much as possible about our academic programs, our staff, faculty, and students, and our operations. One of many topics discussed in the reviewers’ final report was diversity, equity and inclusion – our school’s strengths in addressing DEI issues as well as challenges and opportunities for the future. We are grateful for the reviewers’ assessment of the school’s diversity and inclusion projects and look forward to incorporating their recommendations. These include a continued focus on the ongoing efforts to hire and retain diverse faculty and staff, along with the suggestion that the school expand the scope of its diversity-related projects—outreach programs and events, hiring plans, and curriculum reforms—to connect with the experiences and interests of the school’s growing constituency of Latinx students. Additionally, we need to ensure that our students (especially first-generation students, international students, and students from underrepresented groups) are aware of campus and school resources, as well as develop more accessible course materials, teaching strategies and extracurricular opportunities.
A vital objective for The Media School is to enroll, support, and graduate a diverse student population, and we continue to develop our potential pipeline to recruit underrepresented minority (URM) students. The makeup of our undergraduate population reflects the continued growth of our school and our work to attract a high-achieving, diverse student body. As of fall 2022, The Media School enrolled 1,852 majors, of whom a majority (61 percent) are female and 17 percent are underrepresented students of color. Our school looks to leverage alumni relationships to partner with schools and community organizations in areas with large URM student populations – these are productive relationships for us to build for our pre-college programs, for our undergraduate enrollment, and for our alumni and program networks.
The Media School continues to increase its financial support for the recruitment and retention of URM students. We nurture recruitment and scholarship resources for our pre-college programs: For instance, our pre-college Cinema Academy connects with IU’s Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs (OVPDEMA) for scholarships and partnerships, and our pre-college Game Design camp prioritizes the recruitment of young women and international students, as historically attendees have primarily been white males. In addition to administering and awarding scholarship funds for our enrolled underrepresented populations, including the Arnolt Diversity Scholarship, Mark LeBien High School Journalism Fund for Diversity, and the Scott C. Schurz Latin American Journalism Scholarship, the school's partnership with the Office of Scholarships is aimed at increasing student diversity through additional campus scholarship awards. We have also focused on expanding the representation of URM students in the school’s undergraduate honors programs. Our Honors Director works closely with the school’s Associate Director of Student Recruitment to attract, accept and then retain a diverse cohort of incoming honors students each year. Of the 32 honors students beginning in fall 2023, for instance, 25 percent of the cohort identifies as URM.
In fall 2022 our student services staff piloted a peer mentor program for underrepresented students who earned direct admission to the school, and our inaugural Multicultural Social Hour during Welcome Week was successful enough to warrant repeating in fall 2023. Our student services staff also provided inclusive leadership training for leaders of Media School student organizations in fall 2022 and coordinated materials for a group of URM high school students on a campus tour through Community & School Partnerships. We are especially proud of a January 2023 series of workshops we coordinated with the IU India Gateway for Indian high school students, facilitated by Media School faculty and staff. We hope to replicate the resounding success of engaging with 65 international students about storytelling through cinema and graphic design.
Other successful recent programming was coordinated with our student chapters of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) and the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). The NAHJ chapter’s alumni panel, Life After IU, was intentionally designed to add Media School programming to the campus calendar for celebration month activities. This program and the NABJ chapter’s Black Women in Media panel were both well attended. Additionally, The Media School assisted with funding to send several NABJ students to Nikole Hannah-Jones' investigative journalism workshop at Howard University. This followed a productive fall 2022 visit to campus by Hannah-Jones, sponsored in part by The Media School, that included a visit to two Media School classes. Another notable visitor to our school was CNN news anchor Fredricka Whitfield, who in March 2022 presented a public lecture for the Media School Speaker Series. During both this and the Hannah-Jones visit, we actively encouraged the campus community to attend Media School events.
We call attention to two recent stories involving Media School students and our DEI efforts. The first highlights our staff and faculty working collaboratively to improve accessibility for an undergraduate sports media student who is paralyzed from the chest down. The second celebrates the research of a graduate student studying gender identification in gaming. Stories such as these are reported on and featured for the Media School community and beyond.
The school’s Director of Undergraduate Studies continues to emphasize (1) the need for diversity across our curriculum and (2) the importance of including diversity-related learning outcomes in all our syllabi so our students are exposed to a wide and thoughtful variety of topics throughout their education. To that end, this year our faculty diversity committee built a Canvas site to collect instructional DEI resources at The Media School. We hope the site’s resources will encourage an inclusive and respectful teaching environment that fosters education, dialogue, and interaction about issues related to equity, social justice, and intersectional diversity.
With campus assistance, our school continues to increase support for its graduate students on Student Academic Appointment (SAA) lines. We hope this increase again has a positive effect on the recruitment and retention of students of color. Our graduate program this year was involved with a project in the College of Arts and Sciences, organized by recruiting consultant Keystone, to recruit students from Africa to our MS programs. This directly resulted in one applicant who was then admitted to our program. During the graduate application process, our Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) identifies URM and first-generation applicants and closely monitors their application reviews, including a focus on possible connections between applicants and faculty mentors.
The Media School views our alumni as key resources to enrich our curriculum and programming and expand networking opportunities for students. As another way to celebrate the DEI mission within our alumni relationships, the school’s staff DEI committee advocated this year to replace one of the digital screens in the Franklin Hall Commons with a slideshow of Media School Alumni Association board members. This is a diverse group, so highlighting its membership expands representation within the building. Additionally, we prioritized diverse representation in the school’s first-ever development report, Forward. Besides sharing it with alumni and other potential donors, this report is also shared with faculty candidates.
The Media School continues to prioritize hiring diverse and accomplished new faculty. For the 2022-2023 academic year, three new African American faculty members began teaching for us in the areas of race, gender, and class; sports journalism; and cinematography. Additionally, in spring 2023 we were able to hire another African American faculty member for our cinematic arts program, as well as make an extremely important hire for our school: we are excited to have Professor Novotny Lawrence join us as the new director of our Black Film Center & Archive (BFCA) in August 2023. We remain grateful to the offices of both the Provost and the President for their support of these faculty hires. Without campus funding support, we would not be able to grow our faculty as intentionally or as quickly.
We consistently provide opportunities and support initiatives that will help faculty strengthen their diversity-related learning objectives and provide some recent examples here. Associate Professor Lesa Major was awarded a grant from the Communication Science Racial Justice Fund to support research in homelessness and housing insecurity. Professor and DGS Rob Potter attended bystander intervention training sponsored by IU’s Asian Cultural Center. Senior Lecturer and Program Director of the BFA in Cinematic Arts Craig Erpelding partnered with IU Cinema and the BFCA to host Maya Cade, director of the Black Film Archive. Our Associate Dean, Professor Radhika Parameswaran, served as an expert for a WebMD series about colorism, drawing on her research about colorism and media culture. Our Journalism unit created a Race, Media, and Justice series for faculty to bring innovative scholars to campus who study this essential topic.
Additionally, many sessions of our M600 colloquium series are intentionally structured around DEI components. Recent topics include a session with Dr. Tara Pixley, Assistant Professor of Journalism at Loyola Marymount University; sessions for Black History Month and Women’s History Month; a session on equity and diversity across the globe; a workshop coordinated by the faculty diversity committee about the exploration of teaching and identity; and a discussion by Associate Professor James Kelly about his newest book which reports on a longtime partnership between IU and colleagues in Kenya to provide health care and train future professionals.
Reinforcing the value of collaboration, in January 2023 our school deans met with the leadership of the Groups Scholars Program to discuss how our school might work in tandem with that program to increase college attendance among first-generation, URM students. We expect at least one Media School faculty member to continue teaching a course for Groups students, as we have received positive feedback about that classroom experience. Plans are currently being developed for our student services team to have an enhanced presence in Groups summer orientation sessions.
We continue, additionally, to try to further diversify our school’s leadership. Our school’s current leadership team (deans, unit directors, and directors of our undergraduate, graduate, and honors programs) in recent years has been predominantly white and male. Beginning in 2022 we named Professor Nicole Martins as the school’s new director for research and creative activity. And beginning in summer 2023, we look to some added diversity in race and gender composition in our unit director cohort and our undergraduate studies area. While our incoming dean may not add obvious diversity to our school, we know from his history that he is committed to DEI issues and will lead our continued efforts in further diversifying the Media School’s leadership team.
Media School staff members, particularly the staff diversity committee, have made many positive contributions to the school’s growing DEI efforts. Part of an ongoing endeavor to diversify the content shown on the large screen in the Franklin Hall Commons, the committee coordinated with the BFCA to implement daily screenings of films from the BFCA collection during 2023’s Black History Month. Following that, in March for Women’s History Month, the committee scheduled 21 documentary films about women to be screened in the Commons. These month-long screening projects followed up on the committee’s initial foray into public screenings with five episodes of PBS’s Latino Americans for 2022 National Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month.
The school continues to support staff and their professional and personal interests in learning more about DEI issues. Student services staff members have supplemented their knowledge of DEI matters by attending diversity-themed workshops, including Confronting Asian-American Racism and Marginalization and FYE Conversations: Student Retention Training. The 2022 pilot program of a staff/faculty volunteer day in recognition of Juneteenth was a huge success. More than 20 Media School staff and faculty worked with three local nonprofit agencies, contributing nearly 50 volunteer hours as well as donations of food, clothing and school supplies. This well-received program is expected to become an annual tradition and plans for Juneteenth 2023 are in place. As with many of our priorities, enhanced collaboration between faculty and staff certainly adds value to existing efforts.
The Media School was an early adopter of the new Performance of IU: A Culture of Conversation performance management program for full-time appointed staff. The program includes documenting expectations around IU’s five core competencies, one of which is “values differences.” Requiring a conversation about how differences are valued is a step toward addressing the staff diversity committee's goal of adding a DEI engagement and education expectation to the staff assessment tool.
When our former Academic Advisor/Student Services DEI Coordinator left the university, we moved quickly to fill the position. That allowed us to continue coordinating DEI efforts for our students without the time lapse that often comes from a change in personnel.
During fall 2022, Media School staff members participated in extensive DEI training and professional development through the Inclusive Excellence Professional Development Series led by Dr. Carmen Henne-Ochoa, Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion in the College of Arts and Sciences. As well, in collaboration with the IU Bloomington Staff Council, staff can seek grant funding from the Professional Development Grant process. Ideally, this grant would enable the supported staff member to enroll in a diversity-focused training course, and then share the content with other Media School staff.
Finally, many Media School staff participated in the College of Arts and Sciences Staff DEI retreat in October 2022, both to learn more about a wide variety of relevant topics and to support Chad Parkinson, Media School graphic designer, who was a featured presenter.
The Media School’s diversity efforts underpin all our operations rather than function as an add-on or afterthought. This can be seen in initiatives as significant as our faculty hires, with support from IU's Provost and President, and as simple as encouraging preferred pronoun use in messages and profiles. We remain committed to cultivating a climate of inclusion among our students, faculty, staff and alumni, a forward-looking climate that reflects the best of our diverse and changing society.