It has never been more important than now to commit ourselves to supporting diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives that allow us to build a better School of Communications. The following page outlines the school’s diversity assessment report, diversity committee, topical programming, Unity in Communications program and #BlackLivesMatter statement. Additionally, the page lists university resources such as the Office of Inclusive Excellence Education & Development (OIEED), Inclusive Excellence website, bias response website and Boldly Elon strategic plan.
Diversity Assessment and Diversity and Inclusion Report
The School of Communications created its diversity plan in 2004 and most recently revised it in August 2016. Take a moment to review our most recent report:
The Diversity Committee is charged with continuing the implementation of the School of Communications diversity plan, investigating ways to enhance the international and domestic initiatives of the plan.
Unity in Communications
The School of Communications’ on-campus initiative supports students interested in enhancing diversity and inclusion in the communications and sport management industries. Some of the initiative’s events during the school year include discussions about topics that need to be voiced in the community, dinners to connect students with top communication professionals, and presentations about scholarship, fellowship and internship opportunities in the communications field for students of color. For more information, visit the Unity in Communications webpage.
- March 4, 2021: Adam Pawlus, who serves in the top staff post of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, addressed the history of LGBTQ news coverage, intersectionality in newsrooms, and how the organization can support student journalists.
- Jan. 19, 2021: Ross Wade, senior associate director of career services in the School of Communications, hosted an informational session titled “Taking Advantage of Virtual Internships.”
- Oct. 22, 2020: Adam Giardino, a broadcaster with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, spoke to students about his start in the broadcasting industry and his role as president of the Black Play-by-Play Broadcaster Grant and Scholarship Fund.
- Oct. 20, 2020: Cornelius Muller ’93 participated in a virtual dinner, discussing his inspiration and the challenges he overcame to start his North Carolina-based film company.
- Sept. 15, 2020: Kari Taylor ’09, Elon University’s deputy chief of staff, spoke to students during an online meeting about her experience as a woman of color in the television and film industries.
- March 31, 2020: Media relations expert Cathy Renna, the first national news director of GLAAD, visited with students virtually, discussing diversity in the media industry and having a voice in the workplace.
- Feb. 26, 2020: Mike Fernandez, recently named CCO of energy company Enbridge, served as the guest speaker at a February Unity in Communications dinner.
- Nov. 11, 2019: Kim Hunter, one of the PR industry’s strongest advocates for diversity, spoke to students at a Unity in Communications dinner.
Diversity, equity and inclusion programming
To prepare students for their respective communications industries, the School of Communications hosts panel discussions and events addressing diversity and inclusion initiatives, career advancement, company culture, salaries, industry trends and personal experiences.
- “Elon Sport Careers Diversity Forum convenes students, alumni and industry professionals (February 2021)
- School of Communications to host diversity town halls on July 29 and 30 (July 2020)
- “PR professionals provide an insider’s view of industry” (September 2019)
- “Executives lead discussion on diversity and inclusion in the entertainment industry” (March 2019)
- “PR executives charge students to be ‘unapologetically you’ when working in the industry” (February 2019)
Additionally, the school hosted hosted a Diversity and Inclusion in News Coverage luncheon (photos) in November 2019 as part of the programming for the 2019 National High School Journalism Conference in Washington, D.C. The event was hosted in collaboration with Pitney Bowes on the top floor of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Other relevant programming/news:
- “Denise Hill elected board chair of Diversity Action Alliance”
- “NC Local News Workshop, partner organizations launch NC Media Equity Project”
- “School of Communications hosts National Day of Reconciliation event”
- “Dean Rochelle Ford offers insights for PR Daily report on diversity on boards of directors”
- “Rochelle Ford honored for contributions to diversity education”
- “Clark featured in 24/7 Wall St. article about diversity on college campuses”
- “Elon contingent attends Paladin Awards Ceremony in New York City”
- “Lucia facilitates NIRSA’s summit on equity, diversity and inclusion”
- “School of Communications celebration adopts ‘Count On Me’ as theme”
Dear Elon Community,
The deans of the schools and colleges at Elon University stand unequivocally united against racism and police brutality. We believe Black Lives Matter. We are working to ensure our faculty and staff colleagues are better equipped to teach and lean into conversations that will help our nation and world change for the better. Hold us accountable to promote diversity and inclusion. Hold us accountable for recruiting and retaining diverse students, faculty and staff. Hold us accountable for meeting our diversity and inclusion goals. We are here to support our students, our faculty and our staff colleagues. We will work in our personal and professional spheres to make a difference.
Luke Bierman, Ph.D., JD, dean, School of Law
Ann Bullock, Ph.D., dean, Dr. Jo Watts Williams School of Education
Rochelle L. Ford, Ph.D., APR, dean, School of Communications
Rebecca Neiduski, Ph.D., OTR/L, CHT, Dean, School of Health Sciences
Gabie Smith, Ph.D., dean, Elon College of Arts and Sciences
Raghu Tadepalli, Ph.D., dean, Love School of Business
—Originally published on June 1, 2020
“We call upon our community members to help stop anti-Asian racism. Plain and simple, racism, sexism and violence are never OK in any form or fashion. The School of Communications at Elon University stands with the Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and our AAPI students, faculty, staff, alumni, community, partners and friends. We are working to ensure that Elon is a safe and inclusive place for you. Together, each one of us must call out acts of racism and bias when we see them in our daily lives and work to build a more inclusive and just society. Stop anti-Asian racism.”
Rochelle L. Ford, Ph.D., APR, dean, School of Communications
Derek Chauvin Verdict Statement
While the jury found former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all three counts, our nation continues to grapple with a wave of violence, racism and injustices, and the mental and emotional toll of recent events on our community is undeniable.
First, and foremost, the School of Communications at Elon continues to stand in solidarity with, and support of, our community members who identify as Asian, Black, Indigenous and all People of Color. These communities are disproportionately affected by violence – such as the senseless murder of George Floyd – and these instances are reminders of the work needed to curb systemic racism and oppression. We know that diversity and inclusion make us stronger, smarter, more caring and more just. Let us find strength through the acceptance of others and working together to improve society …
—Published on April 21, 2021
Additional School Resources
- WEEE website: The Women of the Elon Entertainment Empire – more widely known by the acronym WEEE – is a networking group for Elon alumnae working in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles and Elon undergraduate students interested in entertainment careers.
- WINS website: In conjunction with the Sport Management Society, Women Influencers in Sport (WINS) offers regular programming to encourage the development and education of female students studying sport management.
- Inclusive Excellence website: It is the shared responsibility of Elon University members to act
deliberately toward equitable outcomes.
- Office of Inclusive Excellence Education & Development (OIEED) website: The Office of Inclusive Excellence Education and Development serves as an institutional hub for the creation and support of inclusive practice and equity development for all members of the Elon community. It also oversees efforts and policy development for preventing and responding to bias and harassment campus-wide.
- Bias response website: The OIEED provides comprehensive response to issues of violence, bias, harassment and hate.
- Boldly Elon website: The university’s strategic plan for 2030 promotes a more diverse, equitable and inclusive community where all experience belonging and well-being.