Diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives planned for College of Media

The College of Media is pleased to announce a number of new initiatives, emerging from our recent strategic planning process, to create and sustain a diverse, inclusive, and equitable environment for our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Foremost among these is the appointment of Jason Chambers, associate professor of advertising, as our first Dean’s Fellow for Diversity. In this role, Chambers serves as our first senior diversity officer, helping to provide leadership in this important area within the College of Media and serving as our representative to campus entities.

Chambers chairs the college’s Diversity Committee, which was charged by Dean Tracy Sulkin to coordinate a series of workshops that engage with diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism; to develop a composite picture of, and determine ways to make more visible, the range of faculty teaching, research, and student activity, that foregrounds Black, Brown, and Indigenous peoples and provides models of diverse, equitable, inclusive, and anti-racist practices; and to engage with campus diversity and anti-racism initiatives. The committee hosted its first workshop on October 16, “Equity-Mindedness in the College of Media,” led by Ross Wantland, director of curricular development and education in the Vice Chancellor’s Office of Academic Inclusive Excellence. More than 30 faculty and staff participated in exercises designed to provoke new perspectives on equity and inclusion. 

Among our initiatives for students in this area is a new mentoring program that connects students with accomplished alumni to share perspectives and advice. This initiative is a joint effort of college leadership and alumna Carol Hillsman Sagers (BS ’79, advertising), a member of the College of Media Alumni Leadership Council and principal consultant at CHS Marketing Consultants. Sagers said: “We are connecting students to a ‘village’ of people who earned degrees and launched successful careers in their areas of interest. And everyone in the village has been where these students are now. I expect there will be a lot of experiences, identification of pitfalls, helpful hints, and wisdom shared between student mentees and mentors who want the students to succeed.” The pilot this academic year focuses on Black students and Black alumni; the program will expand in future years. 

The college also continues to prioritize scholarship support to recruit and retain an excellent and diverse student body. We are pleased to announce that, due to the generosity of a number of donors, our Media Underrepresented Scholarship Fund has now reached endowment level. This enables the college to establish a yearly scholarship for students from underrepresented groups. By contributing to this fund, you can help us expand our capacity to support students. 

Alumni mentors
Some of the Media alumni participating in a new mentoring program include Karen Coleman, Bianca Shamell Flowers, Felicia Fortenberry, Tamara Gibbs, Ryan Johnson, Clarrie Johnson, Pamela Crittendon Johnson, Carolyn Kidd-Harper, Renee Cogdell Lewis, Joy D. Lindsey, Tristin Marshall, Ronald Alan Norwood, Ric Pringle, Taylor Rooks, Carol Hillsman Sagers, Maisie Sparks, Cheryl Whitlow Thompson, and Catherine West.