Skip Sub Menu

SJMC announces diversity and inclusion plan

The School of Journalism and Mass Communication strives to create a community of scholars that represents the complexity of the human experience in regards to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, gender identification, religion, age and physical abilities. The following is a plan which outlines the school’s diversity and inclusion goals:

The School of Journalism and Mass Communication is committed to creating a welcoming and supportive environment for all our faculty, staff, students and visitors, and celebrating our differences through the lens of the First Amendment value of freedom of expression.

To support those goals:

We will monitor and improve the recruiting, retention and graduation rates of students of color, and students from other underrepresented groups.

We will ensure that the percentage of SJMC students of color reflects the demographic area from which we recruit, as defined by Drake’s office of Institutional Research and the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

  • We will increase our collaboration with the University’s Crew Scholars program and University Admissions to recruit students from diverse local and national communities.
  • We will use our attendance at Journalism Education Association and other conferences to identify high schools with a concentration of students of color.
  • We will participate as presenters and sponsors at high school camps, especially those aimed toward students of color and other underrepresented groups.
  • We will work with our alumni of color to identify fruitful areas to recruit.
  • We will provide scholarships for at least two students from underrepresented groups to our summer Media Now Drake summer camp for high school students.
  • As part of our Meredith Hall fund-raising campaign, we will solicit donor funds to create scholarships for students from underrepresented domestic and international groups who could not otherwise afford a Drake SJMC education.
  • We will work with Drake international programs and admissions staff to create an action plan for recruiting more international students.
  • We will use our online BAJMC degree-completion degree as a way to open our hands-on, personalized educational experience to a wider and more diverse pool of prospective students.

We will audit the number of students of color and their retention rates annually and act promptly to remedy any identified problems.

  • We will ensure that our retention rate for self-identified minority and first-generation students is equal to or better than our rate for other SJMC students.
  • We will work with the office of academic excellence and student success to provide support for first-generation and at-risk students.

We will ensure that SJMC students are exposed to diverse domestic and global instructional viewpoints by hiring full- and part-time faculty who represent diversity and by inviting diverse guest speakers into our classes.

  • We will make diversifying our faculty a priority when hiring full- and part-time faculty, including inviting diverse or global scholars for semester- or year-long teaching appointments.
  • We will increase the number of diverse guest speakers participating in our classes, both in-person and remotely, with the goal of hosting at least one diverse speaker in each class every semester.
  • We will host at least one visiting professional a year who represents a diverse perspective.

We will ensure that issues of diversity, inclusion and multicultural competency are addressed effectively across the curriculum and in co-curricular activities sponsored by the SJMC.

We will conduct an audit of course content every two years to ensure that exercises and assignments that address diversity are incorporated throughout the curriculum in both core and major classes.

  • We will especially encourage faculty to create assignments that involve student engagement in the Drake neighborhood and diverse Des Moines communities, and work with the office of community engaged learning track and facilitate this.

We will incorporate reflective components into student learning about diversity and inclusiveness to allow students to witness their personal growth during their Drake years.

  • Assignments that require students to reflect on their personal growth related to diversity will be incorporated into JMC 30 Mass Media in a Global Society (lower-level course) and JMC 104 Communications Law and Ethics (upper-level course). The assignments in those classes will be assessed regularly to identify areas of growth or gaps.

The SJMC will be a model for the rest of the University in leading the discussion on issues of diversity and inclusiveness.

  • The School will sponsor at least one event annually that focuses on multicultural perspectives.
  • The School will hold faculty training at least annually on diversity, equity and inclusion in the classroom.
  • The School will collaborate with SJMC students of color on this work by adding more students to the SJMC Diversity Committee.
  • The School will work with students of color to develop online resources related to diversity and inclusion.
  • The School will work with University career services to identify the special needs of underrepresented students in the area of employment.

We will aim to meet or exceed the University’s rate for study abroad for SJMC students.

  • We will encourage SJMC students to study language and culture and monitor the number of SJMC students who do so.
  • We will work with international programs to create a trio of Spanish-speaking opportunities for our students at partner universities in Spain (Nebrija), Mexico (Monterrey Tec) and Chile (Universidad de los Andes).
  • SJMC will strive to offer opportunities within our curriculum for study abroad through J-Term or Summer term.
  • We will raise funds to help support student study-abroad experiences.

We will conduct an SJMC “diversity climate assessment” of its students every two years.

  • The School will monitor the climate assessment and other University and SJMC data annually to ensure we are being effective in our efforts to encourage multicultural competency and create an environment that is welcoming of diverse perspectives.

The goals of the SJMC Diversity Plan are monitored and assessed in conjunction with the overarching goals of the School’s strategic plan and the specific targets of the unit’s Continuous Improvement Plan.

University News