Diversity and Inclusion Plan

Diversity and Inclusion Plan 2016-21

Adopted by the Missouri School of Journalism faculty April 15, 2016.


The School of Journalism has had a written diversity plan since 1986. In 2014, at the direction of the Faculty Policy Committee, the Faculty Multicultural Committee (renamed the Diversity and Inclusion Committee in 2016) undertook an assessment of the plan, progress toward goals and a review of priorities. This 2016 plan is the result of this review as well as a further review and revision in response to student activism on the University of Missouri campus in fall 2015.

Diversity and Inclusion Plan 2016-21

The Missouri School of Journalism will follow and build upon the policies and procedures of the University of Missouri. The University of Missouri does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, genetic information, disability or veteran status. The School uses its own data along with the University’s ethnic and racial data to identify underrepresented populations, to help develop diversity policies and to assess progress to goals.

The School has a special mission to serve diverse local, national and global communities through scholarship and practice. It strives to be a program and community that reflects and honors the diversity in our society and instills the values of diversity and inclusivity among its students, faculty and staff.

The School is committed to creating, maintaining and constantly improving curriculum, climate and a work environment that values and honors diversity with respect to race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, ability, veteran status, family status, socio-economic status, experiences, opinions and ideas.

With these principles and definitions in mind we set out to accomplish the following over the next five years:

A Diverse Curriculum and Pedagogy

Among other initiatives:

  • To further develop journalism and strategic communication students for socially responsible and successful careers in our increasingly diverse society, we will assess current curriculum and develop a curriculum that places due emphasis on the professional and scholarly contributions of diverse groups.
  • Our faculty will incorporate in course instruction and discussion issues of diversity in newsrooms, agencies and other typical areas of employment in journalism and strategic communication. Issues of diversity will be addressed through the study of historical perspectives of journalism, advertising and communication.
  • Within the School, we will inventory and review syllabi to ensure our sequenced courses build off of one another to continue education in diversity and inclusion. We will ensure our courses build on the foundational core courses.
  • We will track and highlight student work such as papers, presentations, theses, and capstone and professional projects, where 
diversity and inclusion are studied or examined.
  • The Journalism School’s library will work with faculty to ensure there are adequate resources that reflect diversity in backgrounds, opinions, perspectives and experiences that can be incorporated into courses.

A Diverse Faculty and Staff

Among other initiatives:

  • Demonstrate effective efforts to recruit, hire, support, and retain faculty, staff members, short-term appointments and adjuncts from diverse and underrepresented populations.
  • Post all job positions and publicize them widely through, but not exclusively, the University and Journalism School’s websites, appropriate publications, professional websites, professional associations, and the School’s network of alumni and professional and academic connections. Include specific language in job postings that encourages diverse and culturally competent applicants.
  • In order to make competitive offers to diverse candidates and to ensure equity in pay and rank, we will participate in the University’s diversity recruitment programs.
  • All new employees will participate in a thorough orientation to School and University policies, procedures, and customs, including diversity and inclusion training. The orientation will include the assignment of a mentor.
  • Establish partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) with strong journalism and communications programs. Potential opportunities include faculty exchanges, joint research teams, and workshops.
  • Commit to educating faculty for the future. As part of graduate student recruitment and retention, we will identify students from underrepresented populations who have the interest in and the potential for an academic career.

A Diverse Student Body

Among other initiatives:

  • Actively recruit students for the undergraduate and graduate programs from diverse communities and socioeconomic backgrounds by leveraging the University recruiting programs, Journalism School faculty and alumni networks, national media and communications conferences, existing programs at the Journalism School, including the Missouri Urban Journalism Workshop and the Sports Journalism Institute, and relationships with high school journalism programs.
  • Allocate resources specifically for the recruitment of students from underrepresented populations for the undergraduate and graduate programs.
  • Review existing Missouri School of Journalism scholarship programs and University of Missouri financial aid programs to identify those that can enhance the diversity of the student body and integrate these programs into student recruitment and retention. Increase funding for scholarships and financial aid that will contribute to a diverse student body as well as offer experiential learning that exposes students to the diverse domestic and international world in which they live.
  • Develop a diverse student retention program that will include the School’s advising program and mentoring programs with faculty, staff and student mentors as well as media production environments. Special attention will be paid to first-generation college students.
  • Build stronger relationships with campus resources that are designed to help first-generation college students and others to succeed in the academic environment.

A Supportive Climate and Culture for Working and Learning

Among other initiatives:

  • The leadership team, faculty and staff will support the initiatives, goals and assessment measures of the School’s diversity and inclusion plan and will actively create a community that is collegial, accepting and supportive of all faculty, staff, and students.
  • Regularly offer programming, discussions, and training that validate and celebrate the many backgrounds, experiences, cultures, race/ethnicities, nationalities, sexual identities and faiths represented in our community.
  • Encourage members of the community to treat everyone with dignity and respect, improve communication, resolve conflict and foster cross-cultural understanding and competence through policies, programs, resources, orientations and workshops for faculty, staff and students.
  • Map the activities and resources currently available within the School and the University to identify the opportunities and resources that can immediately contribute to and support a culture of inclusion.
  • Initiate an annual “One Read” program where the entire school will read a book focused on the theme of diversity and inclusion and will provide opportunities for discussion within the classroom and as part of the School’s ongoing programming.
  • Encourage students’ success from undergraduate to graduate by providing financial opportunities and resources as well as ensure diversity and inclusion training for academic advisors and faculty advisers.
  • Ensure that faculty, staff and students are included in the development of the School’s strategic plan.
  • Explore existing and new mechanisms for students, faculty and staff to report concerns and complaints about the School’s climate and culture.

A Process for Assessing Progress Toward Goals

Among other initiatives:

  • Ensure that internal and external community members and stakeholders receive clear and consistent communication and analysis about the University and School’s ongoing commitment to diversity and the progress to a more diverse and inclusive community.
  • Give visibility to the Diversity and Inclusion Plan on the School’s website along with other related diversity and inclusion information.
  • Maintain a standing faculty Diversity and Inclusion Committee to gather assessment data for tracking the School’s diversity plan and progress across demographic groups and for reviewing accomplishments and progress in achieving the plan’s goals.
  • The plan is a living document. The Diversity and Inclusion Committee will report annually to the dean, the leadership team, faculty, staff, and students on the plan’s progress and will make recommendations for revisions and additions.
  • The School’s administration will regularly monitor the representation of women and underrepresented populations in the faculty, staff, and student body and will publicize this annually to faculty, staff and students.

In the next five years the Missouri School of Journalism will:

  1. Increase enrollment of underrepresented populations from the benchmark fall 2015 enrollment of 17.5 percent to 20 percent.
  2. Increase diversity among faculty and staff from the benchmark fall 2015 levels.
  3. The Teaching and Learning Committee will audit curriculum every five years to map diversity components across emphasis areas, ensuring that upper-division coursework builds on principles taught in the foundational core courses.
  4. The Diversity and Inclusion Committee will review the diversity plan annually and will solicit input from faculty, student leaders and staff. At the beginning of each fiscal year the committee will submit a budget for diversity initiatives that help meet the goals of the plan.