2019 Self Study - Part II, Standard 3: Diversity and Inclusiveness

 

Executive summary:

Diversity is a major value of the department and ensuring that diverse voices are part of the department’s teaching, research, service, personnel, and curriculum is a key goal of the department’s strategic plan. 

In the last year, the department conducted a curriculum review and found the current curriculum to be deficient in fully addressing domestic and global diversity. In August 2019, the department proposed changes to our current degree, including adding a Media and Diversity course to the core requirements. In January 2020, the College of Arts and Sciences’s curriculum committee rejected the degree proposal. The department has replied to the committee’s concerns and has asked it to review the proposal for a second time. If the college curriculum committee approves the proposal it will continue through the approval process. The department hopes to implement the curriculum changes in Fall 2021.

The department continues to recruit a diverse student body, with the department’s diversity numbers exceeding those of the university. The department continues to strive for diversity in the faculty and staff. The department also fosters diverse voices through the sponsoring of guest speakers, through work with local schools, and through the mentorship of minority students.

 

  1. Complete and attach the following tables:

Table 4. Area Population

Service Area: Describe here the unit’s geographic service area as far as student enrollment is concerned (region, states, state, counties, etc.).

Chattanooga is located in the southeast of the State of Tennessee, just a few miles north of the state line with Georgia.

The vast majority of our majors come from within Tennessee. Between 2014-18 the percentage of majors from Tennessee ranged from 94.56 to 97.03 percent. 

The second most common home state for majors in Georgia, with between 1.14% and 3.17% of majors originating from Georgia.

Based on the most recent Census figures, what percentages do the following groups represent of the population of the unit’s geographic service area as described above?

Tennessee Census Data

(https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/tn/PST045217#PST045217)

Group                                                                                                      % of population

Black/African American                                                                                  17.1 %

White                                                                                                                 78.6%

American Indian/Alaskan native                                                                     0.5%

Asian                                                                                                                    1.9%

Hispanic/Latino (any race)                                                                                5.5%

Native Hawaiian/other Pacific Islander                                                           0.1%

Two or more races                                                                                              1.9%

Other race                                                                                                                      

Female                                                                                                                  51.2%

 

Table 5. Undergraduate Student Populations

Show numbers of male, female, minority, white and international students enrolled in the unit, the percentages they represent of total journalism and mass communications enrollment, and the percentages these racial/ethnic groups represent of the total institutional enrollment. Use figures from the most recent academic year for which complete data are available.

Academic year: 2018 – 2019

 

Group

Male

Female

% of total in unit

% of total in institution

 

Black / African-America

27

34

13.96

9.64
 

White

114

216

75.51

76.36
 

American Indian / Alaskan native

0

1

0.23

0.28
 

Asian

1

4

1.14

3
 

Hispanic/Latino (any race)

4

11

3.43

4.8
 

Native Hawaiian / other Pacific Islander

0

0

0

0.04
 

Two or more race

4

16

4.58

3.43
 

Other race (unknown)

2

3

1.14

3.43
 

International students (any race)

0

1

0

1.55


Table 6. Faculty Populations, Full-time and Part-time

Show numbers of female, male, minority, white and international faculty members and the percentages they represent of the unit’s total faculty. (Report international faculty the same way the university reports them.)

Academic year: 2018 – 2019 Full-time faculty

 

Group

Female

% of total faculty

Male

% of total faculty

 

Black / African-America

1

7.14

1

7.14
 

White

4

28.57

6

42.86
 

American Indian / Alaskan native

0

0

0

0
 

Asian

1

7.14

0

0
 

Hispanic/Latino (any race)

0

0

0

0
 

Native Hawaiian / other Pacific Islander

0

0

0

0
 

Two or more race

0

0

0

0
 

Other race (unknown)

0

0

0

0
 

International students (any race)

1

7.14

0

0

 

Academic year: 2018 – 2019 Part-time/adjunct faculty

 

Group

Female

% of total faculty

Male

% of total faculty

 

Black / African-America

1

6.67

0

0
 

White

6

40

7

46.67
 

American Indian / Alaskan native

0

0

0

0
 

Asian

0

0

0

0
 

Hispanic/Latino (any race)

0

0

0

0
 

Native Hawaiian / other Pacific Islander

0

0

0

0
 

Two or more race

1

6.67

0

0
 

Other race (unknown)

0

0

0

0
 

International students (any race)

0

0

0

0

 

Table 7. Full-time Faculty Recruitment

Provide the following information for any searches for full-time faculty members conducted by the unit within the past three years. 

 

Academic years:

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

 

Opening

2

2

2

 

Total applicants in hiring pool

20

83

10

 

Females in hiring pool

9

31

11

 

Female finalists considered

2

4

2

 

Offers made to females

2

3

0

 

Offers accepted by females

0

3

0

 

Minorities in hiring pool

2

33

3

 

Minority finalists considered

0

0

1

 

Offers made to minorities

0

0

1

 

Offers accepted by minorities

0

0

1

 

International faculty in hiring pool

 

 

 

 

International faculty considered

 

 

 

 

Offers made to international faculty

 

 

 

 

Offers accepted by international faculty

1

 

1

** UTC does not track citizenship status during the application process. Citizenship status is only recorded at the time hire.   

 

Table 8. Part-time/adjunct Faculty Recruitment

Provide the following information for any searches for part-time or adjunct faculty members conducted by the unit within the past three years.

 

Academic years:

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

 

Opening

 

 

 

 

Total applicants in hiring pool

 

 

 

 

Females in hiring pool

 

 

 

 

Female finalists considered

 

 

 

 

Offers made to females

 

 

 

 

Offers accepted by females

 

 

 

 

Minorities in hiring pool

 

 

 

 

Minority finalists considered

 

 

 

 

Offers made to minorities

 

 

 

 

Offers accepted by minorities

 

 

 

 

International faculty in hiring pool

 

 

 

 

International faculty considered

 

 

 

 

Offers made to international faculty

 

 

 

 

Offers accepted by international faculty

 

 

 

 

** Due to the way in which adjuncts are hired, this information is not available.

  1. Attach to this report a copy of the unit’s written plan for achieving an inclusive curriculum, a diverse faculty and student population, and a supportive climate for working and learning. This plan should give the date of adoption/last revision, any designated timelines for reaching goals, the unit’s definition of diversity and the under-represented groups identified by the unit. Describe how the unit assesses its progress toward achieving the plan’s objectives.

The department’s diversity plan is available at:

https://www.utc.edu/communication/diversity-plan.php

The plan was first adopted by the department in August 2006. The plan was revised in August 2019.

The 2019 revisions included adding curriculum objectives related to the addition of a required media diversity course and adding faculty and staff objectives related to scholastic and professional workshops for minorities. Going forward, the department plans to assess progress on the plan by annually reviewing whether the objectives for that year were achieved.

 

  1. Describe the unit’s curricular efforts to foster understanding of issues and perspectives that are inclusive in terms of gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation.

In the current B.A. degree two required courses, COMM 1010, Introduction to Mass Communication, and COMM 3200, Mass Communication Perspectives, address issues related to domestic diversity.

In COMM 1010, students are introduced to discussions about media representations of race and gender. For example, in one assignment students analyze portrayals of race and gender in rock songs.

COMM 3200 addresses domestic diversity in a more in-depth manner than COMM 1010.  The course fosters understandings of issues and perspectives that are inclusive of gender, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation in a number of ways. These include:

assignment of several articles and chapters throughout the semester that deal directly with media stereotypes related to gender, race, and sexual orientation;

presentation in class lectures and readings of theories related specifically to media representation of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation;

in-class quizzes and exam questions based on the above required readings and theoretical concepts;

class exercises that require students to apply theories to analyze media images related to stereotypical representations.

final research paper on a media topic of the students' choice (studies chosen by students frequently focus on media representations of race, gender, and/or sexuality and the negative consequences of these representations).

During our recent year-long curriculum review, the faculty identified this as an area that needs to be more thoroughly addressed in the curriculum. As part of the new B.S. in Communication (proposed in Fall 2019, if approved it will go into effect in Fall 2021), students will be required to take COMM 4210, Media and Diversity. COMM 4210 is designed to build on learning that occurs in COMM 1010 and COMM 3200. The course will examine media in relation to domestic and global cultures, with an emphasis on using theory to analyze and interpret news, entertainment and strategic portrayals of diverse groups, and on developing culturally sensitive media messages.

 

  1. Describe the unit’s curricular instruction in issues and perspectives relating to mass communications across diverse cultures in a global society.

In the current B.A. degree two required courses, COMM 1010, Introduction to Mass Communication, and COMM 3200, Mass Communication Perspectives, address issues related to global diversity.

In COMM 1010 global audiences and cultures are discussed in terms of media economics, with a discussion of cultural imperialism.

COMM 3200 also contains a module on cultural imperialism that includes assigned readings and a class exercise requiring students to analyze a U.S. Nike commercial shown to Chinese audiences. Students analyze dominant cultural values in each country and attempt to identify conflicting values in the commercial.

During our recent year-long curriculum review, the faculty identified this as an area that needs to be more thoroughly addressed in the curriculum. As part of the new B.S. in Communication (proposed in Fall 2019, pending approval it will go into effect in Fall 2020), students will be required to take COMM 4210, Media and Diversity. COMM 4210 is designed to build on learning that occurs in COMM 1010 and COMM 3200. The course will examine media in relation to domestic and global cultures, with an emphasis on using theory to analyze and interpret news, entertainment and strategic portrayals of diverse groups, and on developing culturally sensitive media messages.

 

  1. Describe efforts to establish and maintain a climate that is free of harassment and discrimination, accommodates the needs of those with disabilities, and values the contributions of all forms of diversity.

The department is a welcoming environment for all students and does not tolerate harassment or discrimination of any kind whether in or outside of the classroom.

On an annual basis the department faculty complete the university’s required Title IX and sexual harassment training.

The university has a “safe zone” program that fosters a supportive environment for LGBTQQIA members of the campus community by providing education, resources and advocacy regarding gender and sexual diversities.  Our department is a safe zone.

The department works closely with the Disability Recourse Center (DRC) and the Mosaic program, as we are seeing a growth of Communication majors who are on the autism spectrum.  The DRC helps to provide accessibility for students, and the Mosaic program provides support for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

 

  1. Describe the unit’s efforts to recruit and retain a student population reflecting the diversity of the population eligible to enroll in institutions of higher education in the region or population it serves, with special attention to recruiting under-represented groups.

UTC’s student population increased from 10,315 in 2014 to 10,327 in 2018. The university recruits heavily from the Memphis, Tennessee area, where there is a large minority population.  Every year the university participates in several college fairs in the Memphis area.  This recruiting strategy contributes to the diversity of the university. In 2014, 22.45% of the students were minorities.  In 2018, that number increased slightly to 23.88% which still falls below the racial make-up of the city (61.023% white, 33.35% blacks, Asian 2.4%, two or more races 2.10%, Native American 0.14% and other 0.91%).

The diversity numbers in the department are slightly higher than the university’s. In 2014, the racial make-up of the department was 29% minority, compared to 23.57% in fall 2018. Despite this drop in diversity numbers, the retention rate has stayed constant around 64%.  The unit demonstrates its commitment to diversity through special mentoring and proactive advising for students in underserved populations. 

The diverse make-up of the faculty and staff also plays a vital role in retention.  Out of 15 faculty and staff, there are four African Americans and one Egyptian.  The professional academic advisor in the unit, an African American female, is well known in the Chattanooga community because of her many years as an on-air talent in broadcast radio.  She often visits inner city schools to participate in programs and other recruitment type activities. Each year, she also coordinates a day where girls from Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy, a predominantly black school, spend time on campus.

Lastly, faculty members purposely choose minority guest speakers in their classes and hold events that increase student awareness of diversity issues in media professions.

 

  1. Units in which admission is selective or varies from general university admission requirements should describe considerations given to the effects of selective requirements on minority enrollment.

The department does not have selective admission requirements. Any student enrolled at UTC may pursue our degree.

 

  1. Assess the unit’s effectiveness in retaining minority students from first enrollment through graduation. Describe any special program developed by and/or used by the unit in the retention of minority students. Note the role of advising in this process.

Every student must be advised either by the unit’s professional advisor or faculty members. Students are unable to register for the next semester until they have been formally advised. The department’s professional academic advisor not only advises students through the curriculum, but also serves as a mentor.  She identifies minority students who are struggling academically and then meets with them every other week. Through this mentorship, students have gone on to matriculate successfully through the program and to secure entry-level jobs.  The department head has provided a similar program for years.  Her mentees meet with her once a week.  During these sessions they go over graded assignments and provide an action plan for future assignments.

 

  1. Describe the unit’s efforts to recruit women and minority faculty and professional staff (as enumerated in Table 7, “Full-time Faculty Recruitment”).

On the department’s campus is the Office of Equity and Inclusion (OEI).  Whenever there is an open position in the department, OEI is contacted. OEI inspects application materials to determine if there is a diverse pool.  The department makes a concerted effort to have female and/or minorities applicant during the campus visit stage.

The university is also involved with National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE).  Campus designees attend this annual conference in an effort to recruit people of color.

Lastly, the head is strongly committed to diversity. During a recent lecturer search, there was an African-American candidate who had more than 30 years of broadcast experience but did not have a graduate degree. The unit has never had an African-American male on staff or faculty. The department head made a deliberate decision to hire the African-American candidate, with the agreement that he would pursue a master’s in Communication. So far, he has taken three graduate classes from Austin Peay University and has a 4.0.

 

  1. Describe the unit’s efforts to provide an environment that supports the retention, progress and success of women and minority faculty and professional staff.

The department head was able to secure a “Grow Your Own” designation for an African American male faculty member. The “Grow Your Own” program provides tuition assistance, books and other school-related materials for African-American faculty members to advance their degrees.  The unit’s head was also a participant in the “Grow Your Own” program from 2005-2008.  She earned tenure in 2014 and was named interim department head in May 2018. She is the university’s only African-America female department head.

The unit also has an Egyptian assistant professor, an African-American professional advisor, and an African-American administrative assistant. The head meets regularly with the Egyptian assistant professor and the African-American professional advisor to discuss potential conferences to enhance their skillsets. The unit’s department head also works closely with the administrative assistant. They discuss necessary administrative-assistant training, which is offered by the university throughout the year. The head encourages her to take advantage of these opportunities.

 

  1. If the unit hires adjunct or part-time faculty members, describe the unit’s effort to hire minority and female professionals into these positions (as enumerated in Table 8, “Part-time/Adjunct Faculty Recruitment”) and list those who are minority and female professionals.

Currently the department has seven adjuncts, of which three are women and one a minority.  Adjuncts are typically communication professionals in the local community. Often full-time faculty provide the head with names of potential adjuncts. The head also reaches out to local media for names of potential adjuncts.  Due to this effort the department was able to hire an African-American female adjunct, who also worked at the local newspaper.  Guest speakers also transition to adjuncts.  The department will have its first African-American male adjunct in spring 2020.

Current female/minority adjuncts (Fall 2019):

Nicole Brown

Jessica Harthorn

Catherine Morrison

 

  1. Provide examples of professionals, visiting professors, and other guest speakers invited or sponsored by the unit during the past three years whose background or expertise served to introduce students to diverse perspectives. (Five examples a year are sufficient and those examples should include the name, title, subject area/expertise, race, gender of speakers to provide context. The unit has the option of providing a complete list in a separate digital file.)

2018-19

Hannah Hammon, Director of Marketing & Communications, Chattanooga Zoo, guest speaker for a PRSSA event on public relations and marketing, white, female.

Amy Maxwell, Public Information Officer, Office of Emergency Management & Homeland Security, guest speaker in COMM 4000, Crisis Communication on crisis communication, white, female.

Symone Sanders, communications consultant and CNN Political Commentator, keynote presentation at the MLK Commemoration, co-sponsored with the Office of Multicultural Affairs, black/African-America, female.

Darian Scott, Director of Talent and Economic Inclusion, Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, guest speaker in COMM 4000: Organizational Communication on inclusion and diversity, black/African-America, male.

Jennifer Tittsworth, Media Relations Manager, Erlanger Health Systems, guest speaker in COMM 4000, Crisis Communication on crisis and health communication, white, female.

 

2017-18

Roland Martin, political analyst for CNN, keynote presentation at the MLK Commemoration, co-sponsored with the Office of Multicultural Affairs, black/African-America, male.

 

2016-17

Dr. Randal Pinkett, entrepreneur and author, keynote presentation at the MLK Commemoration, co-sponsored with the Office of Multicultural Affairs, black/African-America, male.

Heather Ann Thomson, historian and award-winning author of the 2016 National Book Award finalist "Blood in the Water," on the 1971 Attica Prison Uprising, guest speaker at event attended by COMM 2300 students, white, female.

 

 


2019 Self-Study