Rochelle Ford honored for contributions to diversity education

AEJMC, the nation’s oldest collegiate journalism education association, recognized the School of Communications dean with its top honor in diversity education on Aug. 9.

Rochelle Ford, dean of the School of Communications, was named the 2019 recipient of the Lionel C. Barrow Jr. Award for Distinguished Achievement in Diversity Research and Education, presented by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC).

Communications Dean Rochelle Ford
The Barrow Award, jointly supported by AEJMC’s Minorities and Communication (MAC) Division and the Commission on the Status of Minorities (CSM), recognizes outstanding individual accomplishment and leadership in journalism and mass communication research, teaching and service that emphasize underrepresented groups by race and ethnicity. Ford was honored on Aug. 9 during AEJMC’s four-day conference in Toronto.

The annual award is named for Lionel “Lee” Barrow, a well-known advocate for diversity within the journalism academy. In a career spanning nearly five decades, Barrow founded AEJMC’s study group on inclusiveness in media education and served as dean of Howard University’s School of Communication.

As a graduate and longtime faculty member of Howard University, Ford explained that receiving the Barrow Award has special meaning to her.

“Throughout his career, Dr. Barrow was widely known for his commitment to diversity, his courageousness as well as his candor,” Ford said. “He was passionate and steadfast in his beliefs, and it is an honor to promote the ideals and efforts he stood for. As a Howard alumna, I could not be more proud to build upon his legacy.”

​A nationally recognized leader and scholar, Ford has led hundreds of presentations on multicultural communications and diversity, and her scholarly works have been published in Public Relations Tactics, The New York Times and refereed journals. During her career, Ford’s efforts have received numerous accolades, including the Public Relations Society of America National Capital Chapter’s Diversity Champion Award and PRSA’s national D. Parke Gibson Multiculturalism Award. She has also been inducted into the Arthur W. Page Society (2014) and the PRWeek Hall of Fame (2018), and served as a JLID Fellow in 2006-07.

Prior to her arrival at Elon in summer 2018, Ford was a tenured professor and the chair of the Public Relations Department in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. Under Ford’s leadership, the Newhouse School public relations department earned the PRWeek Program of the Year award two consecutive years. In March, Elon was awarded the same accolade.

Having served as a faculty member at Howard University for 16 years, Ford has mentored hundreds of African American public relations professionals and championed the diversity agenda within the public relations industry through her research, grants, teaching and service. She is also the co-editor of a two-volume book series through IGI Global about the sustainability of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Following Barrow’s death in 2009, the MAC Division and CSM created the Lionel Barrow Jr. Award to recognize leadership in diversity efforts and honor his lasting impact. AEJMC also bestows a graduate scholarship in Barrow’s name.