Diversity, Equity and Inclusiveness

TCU is committed to creating an environment where students, faculty and staff thrive and a campus community that is welcoming and respectful to all.
Texas Christian University, Office of Diversity & Inclusion 2018-2020 Report

As far back as 2012, the Schieffer School of Journalism, the precursor to the present Department of Journalism at Texas Christian University, convened a committee to study and articulate a diversity, equity and inclusion plan that will guide the department in the years ahead. The plan which was adopted the same year, survived the eventual split of the school into two departments in 2014, and continues to be implemented by the present Department of Journalism.

The department’s notion of diversity, equity and inclusion is in line with TCU’s conceptualization of the same as expressed above. However, while the department is committed to creating a nurturing, welcoming and respectful environment like the university, it more specifically believes that in order for journalism to serve as a bulwark of democracy, those with the power to produce the news or teach budding journalists should reflect the diverse audiences they serve. In keeping with the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, the department teaches the abiding principle that reporting cannot be fair and accurate unless it tells the “story of the diversity and the magnitude of the human experience.”

The Department Journalism therefore believes that its faculty, staff and student body should be made up of people from diverse backgrounds, including race, color, gender, creed, ethnicity, nationality, class, sexual orientation, age, religion, learning styles, ideologies and disabilities. We also believe that commitment to DEI will create the necessary culture of inclusiveness and equity where individual differences will be appreciated, valued and celebrated.

Our Reality

Statistics from our TCU Office of Institutional Research (Fall 2022) show that the reality of our situation from an ethnic perspective, which is a prominent component of diversity, is that from Fall 2019 to Fall 2022 White students constitute 64.4% to 67.2% of our university’s student population, while the population of Hispanic/Latino is between 14.2% and 16.6%, and that of Black/African Americans is 4.9% to 5.8%. The figures are slightly higher in our department, with the populations ranging from 61.1% to 65.5% for Whites, 14.7% to19% for Hispanics/Latino, and 7.1% to 12.4% for Blacks/African American students in the same period. Students from other ethnicities are remarkably fewer in number.

 Given our situation, the Department of Journalism encourages and supports efforts to achieve, sustain and value diversity through a variety of efforts, especially those that:

  • Define diversity and inclusiveness as a way of life at the university, the department, in the workplace and the world, not just an isolated objective related to recruitment or accreditation.
  • Celebrate the rich contributions of women and men from diverse backgrounds to the professions represented in the department.
  • Create a culture in which no individual is given or denied opportunity because of any aspect of diversity.
  • Maintain goals related to recruitment and retention of a diverse faculty, staff and student body.
  • Emphasize creative and innovative ways to encourage a healthy culture of diversity and inclusiveness in the faculty, on student media, in student organizations and in the classroom.
  • Establish, maintain and encourage diversity-related curriculum that both focuses solely on diversity and integrates diversity into the curriculum broadly by making it part of every course as appropriate, thereby helping students to see diversity in the context of the professions but also realizing that most need an intensive course to kick start their knowledge and awareness.
  • Prepare students to seek improvements in diversity and inclusiveness for their professional industries; and
  • Recognize that diversity is an economic, legal, moral, ethical, social and political issue.

Our Goals & Objectives

The following are the overarching goals of the Department of Journalism’s Diversity Plan. These goals shall be updated as necessary:

  1. Establish and nurture a culture and environment of diversity and inclusiveness in the department.
  2. Become a diversity leader at TCU.
  3. Increase the quality and quantity of curricular diversity activities for students.
  4. Establish a mandatory course for students that is devoted to the media and DEI issues.
  5. To develop and maintain programs and procedures to increase student, faculty, staff and administrator diversity in the department.
  6. Encourage DEI training for staff and faculty.

Strategies & Tactics

  1. Infuse DEI issues into various course syllabi with emphasis on item #4 of our Schieffer Seven road map for journalism students.*
  2. Utilize and explore recruitment opportunities to address imbalances and diversity in faculty composition in the department.
  3. Encourage students in our newsroom to embrace diversity, equity and inclusion in news sources and coverage.
  4. Use department funding to bring speakers of diverse backgrounds, especially minorities, to our classrooms to share experiences with our students.
  5. Create a minority students feedback forum.
  6. Assist students in gaining memberships of minority groups such as the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists.
  7. Encourage the development of new courses devoted to the examination of (a) Latino/Latino and the media (b) LGTBQ and the media (c) Black/Africans and the media (d) Civil Rights and the media.
  8. Encourage students to speak up on DEI issues among themselves and in classrooms.
  9. Collaborate with other TCU departments that are pedagogically working to achieve similar goals such and language and women’s studies departments.
  10. Work with TCU admissions office to recruit prospective minority students into our department.

Key goals attained

Some key diversity goals have been achieved since the original adoption of the plan in 2018. These include:

  • The composition of faculty has changed from a lopsided 7-2 male dominated character to a 6-3 composition in favor of female faculty; from 7 Caucasians and 2 minorities to 2 African Americans, 3 Caucasians, one American of Latin American origin, one Asian American, and one international faculty from Afghanistan.
  • Our students now belong to the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ).
  • We have a mandatory Diversity and the Media course for all journalism students.
Revised & Adopted: April 2022. The DEI plan in its present form was discussed and approved in Spring 2022.
* #4 of Schiffer Seven says: “Diversity: Students will value diversity in a global society and its impact on information-gathering and adapting messages to an ethnically and culturally heterogeneous audience”