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College of Arts and Sciences

Diversity Plan, B.S. in Communication

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School of Communication, University of North Florida

Adopted 11/17/17

Revised 8/13/19

The University of North Florida is committed to nurturing a diverse, multicultural community of scholars and learners. As part of the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Communication strives to be a model of a diverse culture that celebrates human differences, promotes equity, and upholds basic principles of social justice. Under this framework, the School of Communication has set a priority to make diversity central to its curriculum, activities, and staffing. We have adopted the following functional definition of diversity to guide our endeavors.

"The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. Functionally, it means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing and appreciating our individual differences as well as our similarities. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. Our functional definition of diversity is the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment. It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual."

-- Bush, L. L. (2008). Strategic diversity plan 2008-2012. College of the Mainland, Texas City, TX Retrieved from:


It is with these considerations in mind that the School of Communication proposes the following approach to transforming our culture to fully represent our community.

Diversity Plan - Faculty and Staff

Objective: To promote an environment where diversity is seen as everyone's responsibility, to increase the recruitment and retention of faculty members of color and of other underrepresented groups, and help them advance through the ranks. Important criteria for faculty diversity include, but are not limited to, gender, age, race, ethnicity, disability, religion, political viewpoint, sexual orientation, national origin, military service, and degree-granting institution.

Strategies and tactics from 2018 through 2023

  • Faculty should appreciate diverse research/scholarship/creative interests among faculty.


  • Encourage faculty research/creative activities on multicultural, diversity issues in communication.
    • Action: Devote time in School meetings at least once a year to faculty discussing diversity-related research and creative activities of their own and from others.
  • Implement mentoring programs that are sensitive to the needs of underrepresented faculty.
    • Action: Every untenured tenure-track faculty member will be assigned by the Director at least one tenured faculty member as a mentor in terms of scholarship, teaching, service, and how to go up for tenure.


    • Action: Instructors who have been in the School for five years or less can request as a mentor an instructor who has been promoted within the School.
  • Compile and constantly update data on the diversity of both full-time and adjunct faculty, and make them available for School faculty members, students, and other interested people.
    • In 2017: Of the 24 full-time faculty, 16 are white, two are African-American, and six are international (India, South Korea, Ukraine); 15 are women and 9 are men. Of the 17 adjunct faculty, 14 are white, two are African-American, and one is international (Ukraine); 8 are women and 9 are men. As a result, domestic minority and international faculty members represent 33% of the full-time faculty and 17% of the adjunct faculty.


    • Target: By 2021 increase domestic minority and international faculty representation beyond 2017 proportions.


    • Action: A Diversity Committee will be formed every year to investigate ways to increase diversity in terms of faculty hiring and retention. The Diversity Committee chair will then make recommendations at School meetings.
  • Ensure every faculty search complies fully with UNF Equal Opportunity Office's policies and regulations.
    • Action: Every faculty search committee will be trained by university-run seminars in diverse hiring practices to ensure diversity compliance.


    • Action: No faculty search starts interviewing candidates until the applicant pool is diverse in terms of gender and ethnicity.


    • Action: All faculty search committees must include gender and ethnic diversity before the committee can start the process of reviewing applicant files.
  • Identify and meet with graduate students with diverse backgrounds and perspectives at regional and national conferences, and send them a personal letter when an opening becomes available.


  • Develop networking opportunities with minority professional organizations such as NABJ (National Association of Black Journalists) and NAHJ (National Association of Hispanic Journalists) to seek out qualified candidates for a faculty opening.


  • Run faculty search ads targeting diverse candidates via various means such as listservs, professional bulletin boards, and social media.

Diversity Plan - Students

Objective: To increase diversity among the students enrolled in the School of Communication by identifying and enrolling students from under-represented populations, then educating and graduating them along with all students moving through the School's programs of study.

Strategies and tactics from 2018 through 2023

  • Increase School recruiting efforts among high school students and undeclared UNF students from under-represented populations.
    • Action: Actively recruit minority high school students to participate in the School of Communication's annual scholastic journalism workshop.
  • Establish mentoring for minority students in the School.
    • In 2017, 71.8% of students in the UNF communication major were white, 10.8% were African-American, 10% were Hispanic, 5.4% were Asian, and 2% were other. These numbers compare to 46.5% of students in Florida's State University System in 2016 who identified as white, 12.3% black, 25.6% Hispanic, 4.6% Asian, and the rest other.


    • Target: By 2021 increase minority student representation beyond 2017 School proportions and more in line with the demographics of students in the Florida SUS.


    • Action: Every year the School will participate in UNF's Open House, which is a forum that attracts high school students from a diverse cross-section of northeast Florida.


    • Action: Every year the School will participate in UNF's Majors and Minors Fair, which is visited by undeclared students of various ethnicities.


    • Action: Every year the Director will collaborate with UNF's International Center to identify international students who are interested in the communication school.


    • Action: Identify and participate in other initiatives to recruit and retain minority students, such as Jacksonville Commitment Plan, College Research-Out Program, and Swoop and Presidential scholars program.
  • Encourage and advise students who are interested in starting student chapters of national organizations, such as Association for Women in Communication (AWC), National Black Public Relations Society (NBPRS), National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association (NGLJA).


  • Ensure that all syllabi include information about the Disability Resource Center.


  • Faculty will make sure that all students are aware of the benefits and services available at the DRC.


  • Ensure that all students are treated fairly and without any advantage or disadvantage, based on age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or military service.


  • Identify, track and survey all students, monitoring their progress through the School and providing analysis of the under-represented segment of the student body as well as the aggregate.
    • Action: Every two years students in the required exit course (MMC 4975 Internship Senior Project) are asked to comment on their perceptions of School diversity and what recommendations they have for recruiting, educating, and retaining a diverse student body. Comments will be analyzed and discussed in School meetings. In addition, students in MMC 1004 Media Literacy and MMC 4975 Internship Senior Project do an assessment test every two years to measure their learning of the North Florida Nine, which includes the learning outcome "embrace diversity." Testing can indicate student mastery of diversity through pre- and post-testing.

Note: The process of recruiting, educating and retaining is not a linear one. We must have the same attitude toward our students once we get them in the door as we do when we are trying to get them to apply to the program. Therefore, we should look at the process as a continuous loop rather than something that has a beginning, middle, and end. We should always be mindful that satisfied graduates have the power to help us bring in new students.

Diversity Plan - Curriculum and Co-curricular

Objective: In recognition that learning occurs both within and outside of the classroom, the School of Communication will seek to promote a curriculum and co-curricular activities that reflects the diversity of society amongst faculty, students, and community.

Strategies and tactics from 2018 through 2023

Information about events for the university's Commission on Diversity and Inclusion, International Center, LGBT Resource Center, Women's Center, and Veterans Resource Center will be distributed in the School of Communication's weekly newsletter for students.

  • Invite ethnic student clubs to School-sponsored events.


  • Strengthen the commitment to UNF's Community-Based Transformational Learning (CBTL) initiative, which refers to "intentionally designed, coordinated and executed learning experiences in community-based settings that enhance participants' academic learning, contribute to their personal growth and increase their civic engagement while concurrently benefiting the community or communities in which these activities are embedded" (see
    • In 2017, there were six courses in the School designated as CBTL.


    • Target: By 2021, increase the number of School courses that are designated CBTL beyond 2017 levels.
  • Review all courses within the curriculum to ensure that readings and lessons foster perspectives that respect diversity. Embrace a variety of perspectives to promote sensitivity and respect for social differences. Syllabi in appropriate required courses should include a focus on diversity, whether domestically or globally. Diversity is demonstrated by listed learning objectives, readings, and/or assignments reflecting diversity.
    • In 2017, the School curriculum map indicated that the "embrace diversity" learning outcome (part of the North Florida Nine) is "introduced" in three courses required for all students in the communication major, with four required courses "reinforcing" the diversity outcome. In addition, each major concentration capstone course in the communication major is designated to "master," or apply, the diversity outcome.


    • Target: By the 2021-2022 school year, increase the number of required courses for communication majors that include readings and assignments that allow students to reinforce and master the diversity outcome.


    • Action: The Diversity Committee will investigate ways to increase diversity in terms of learning objectives, readings, and assignments in required courses. The Diversity Committee will then make recommendations at School meetings.
  • Provide an inclusive and motivating academic environment with process-reflective curricula, sound advising, social reinforcement, and learning opportunities.


  • Include guest speakers from under-represented groups for its regular classes and special events.
    • Actions: The Diversity Committee will investigate ways to better provide for an inclusive environment in terms of curricula, treatment of students, and finding guest speakers from under-represented groups.

The Diversity Committee will support the partnership between the School of Communication and VOTAC (Voices of the African Continent) in terms of mentoring in the Visiting Scholars Program, providing educational opportunities, and assisting with VOTAC events and conferences for students, faculty, and the community.