College of Communications earns diversity award

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The College of Communications at Penn State has been selected as the 2013 recipient of the AEJMC Equity and Diversity Award, which is presented annually by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

The award recognizes journalism and mass communication academic units that have attained measurable success with approaches to increasing racial, gender and ethnic equity and diversity. The award will be presented Aug. 8 during the keynote session of the annual AEJMC conference in Washington, D.C.

Members of the selection committee for the award commended the College of Communications for its approach and programs.

“This year we received several excellent award nominations that represent the repertoire of innovations in enhancing educational equity and diversity in our field. We commend Penn State’s College of Communications for achieving the gold standard in building a truly diverse, inclusive and equitable learning environment,” said Deb Aikat, chair of the AEJMC Equity and Diversity Award advisory committee and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill faculty member.

The nomination packet for the College of Communications outlined several key areas in building a program that encourages equity and diversity. They included:
-- curriculum and coursework that includes more than 80 diversity-focused learning modules;
-- programs and community outreach designed with a priority on multiculturalism;
-- a dedicated office of Multicultural Affairs; and
-- a sizable scholarship program for students of color.

“An internationally recognized research institution, Penn State has distinguished itself with equity and diversity,” Aikat said. “The Penn State College of Communications has fostered an inclusive curriculum, a diverse academic community and a supportive climate for research, teaching and public service.”

The AEJMC is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote the highest possible standards for journalism and mass communication education, to cultivate the widest possible range of communication research, to encourage the implementation of a multicultural society in the classroom and curriculum, and to defend and maintain freedom of communication in an effort to achieve better professional practice and a better informed public.

AEJMC has 3,700 members from 50 countries that affiliate among 18 divisions, 10 interest groups and two commissions.

“We’re grateful for the recognition that’s been given to the college for our commitment to diversity and equity in our student body, our faculty, our curriculum, our programming, our various external boards and our research,” said Dean Doug Anderson.

Previous winners of the Equity and Diversity Award were communication programs at universities located in states that are statistically much more diverse than Pennsylvania. Previous award winners were: the University of Southern California, 2012; Texas State University, 2011; Elon University in North Carolina, 2010; and Louisiana State University, 2009.

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Last Updated June 21, 2013