School of Communications accepts diversity award from national group

The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication formally honored Elon University's School of Communications this week with the 2010 Equity and Diversity Award in recognition of the school's commitment to advancing gender and racial diversity in its programs.

The award recognizes an academic unit for progress and innovation in racial, gender and ethnic equity and diversity in such areas as faculty hiring, school initiatives, the presence of a supportive climate for women and minorities, and institutionally embedded support.

AEJMC President Jan Slater presented Paul Parsons, dean of Elon’s School of Communications, with the award at the Sept. 24 luncheon organized as part of the school’s Board of Advisors fall meeting.

“This is a major issue in our industry and on our campuses, and it’s easy to say, ‘This is just too hard and we don’t want to do it,’” Slater told advisors, faculty and students at the banquet in Studio B of the McEwen building. “It is our mission to prepare students to serve a diverse society.”

Specifically, AEJMC praised the School of Communications for building a diverse faculty that is more than 25 percent minority, for its commitment to salary equity by gender, for its participation in national diversity programs, for securing $200,000 from the Hearst Foundation to endow minority student scholarships, for twice engaging in an innovative teacher exchange with historically black North Carolina A&T, and for faculty scholarship in the realm of diversity.

“This national award is a testament to the hard work of the faculty and staff of the School of Communications who have made gender equity and racial diversity key components in the building of our programs,” Parsons later said.

The Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University was the inaugural recipient of the national award in 2009.

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