|The Communication Department’s faculty members and graduate students work to educate and prepare Aggies for an increasingly diverse world. Our aim is to create the VISION 2020 “Culture of Excellence” through diversity, an aim embodied in the mission statement of the Department of Communication Climate and Inclusion Committee:
ANNUAL “COMMUNICATING DIVERSITY” STUDENT CONFERENCE
Every year the Department of Communication at Texas A&M University invites submissions from undergraduate and graduate students throughout Texas to our annual day-long student conference, “Communicating Diversity,” which presents work from that highlight voices of minoritized and marginalized groups and focus of diversity issues related to gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, class, age. The conference is held on the Texas A&M campus in College Station, Texas. We invite submissions related to, though not limited to, cultural diversity in “old” and “new” media, global technology, civic discourse, leadership, health communication, organizational communication, rhetoric and public address, interpersonal communication, and intercultural communication.
INTEGRATING DIVERSITY INTO THE CLASSROOM
One of the most important and direct ways to create a culture of excellence through diversity is in the classroom. Our faculty are dedicated to developing creative and interactive ways to engage issues of diversity both in the classroom and through community engagement. For example, look at some of the ways in which they engage the complexity of communication among disparate groups of people:
In COMM 663: Media Processes and Effects seminar taught by Srividya Ramasubramanian, students learn about how media influence everyday lives of various groups in society. Specific weeks are set aside for in-depth discussions about race, gender, and sexuality in popular media and are integrated into readings about health campaigns, political communication, children’s media, and advertising effects. Students learn about how media frames diversity issues, how media cultivates social realities in ways that marginalize disadvantaged groups, how they influence public agenda by privileging dominant cultures, how they reinforce existing stereotypical beliefs, and how repeated exposure to dehumanizing depictions could lead to desensitization.
In Tasha Dubriwny’s COMM 470: Media, Health and Medicine, students are asked to become critical consumers of the health messages we receive from the media. Using tools of rhetorical criticism, they analyze popular texts like television shows and movies, looking specifically for how race, class, gender, and sexuality are co-constructed with the health issues at hand.
In COMM 615: Interpretive Research Methods, Antonio LaPastina and Barbara Sharf did not set out to teach about diversity. However, as it happened, the field note materials they used for the mid-term assignment analyzied qualitative data which came from a participant-observation project being done in the South Texas colonias. In order to provide a context for this assignment, the class heard a guest presentation about the colonias areas, in general, and the project specifically.
These are just a few courses in which faculty in the Department of Communication integrate diversity in their courses.
STATEMENT OF SUPPORT FOR THE GLBT COMMUNITY
In line with Texas A&M’s land grant mission and with core Aggie values, the Climate and Inclusion Committee of the Department of Communication is committed to maintaining our department as a safe, welcoming, and hospitable space that values cultural diversity, constructive deliberation, equal opportunity, and respect. We condemn actions that marginalize, ostracize, threaten, and silence members of historically marginalized and disenfranchised groups on campus. In particular, we express unequivocal support for and reach out empathetically to the GLBT community on campus in light of recent attacks against them. It is imperative that we address the fears and vulnerabilities experienced by such groups and remain committed to creating an accessible, inclusive, and friendly campus where everyone is valued. We call upon faculty colleagues and higher administration to do more by taking concrete and visible steps to respond to such incidents and to adopt institutional policies that help with recruitment and retention of members of such groups.
|Diversity at TAMU:|