Communicating Diversity Student Conference Information
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The Communicating Diversity conference does not have a reserved block of rooms at any hotel. We encourage you to make reservations early if you plan on staying over a night. For advice about where to stay and/or to connect with possible roommates, email Tasha Dubriwny at here
Diversity Committee Mission Statement
"The Diversity Committee will help the Department of Communication create an atmosphere of respect and encouragement for people of diverse backgrounds, including, but not limited to, people of different races, ethnicities, religions, and sexual orientations. The Committee will assist the Department in achieving this Vision 2020 goal by establishing guidelines to recruit and to retain diverse faculty members, developing strategies to assist graduate students and graduate student teachers in facilitating “moments of diversity” in their classrooms, and by developing strategies to recruit and to retain a more diverse body of graduate students."
Statement of Support for the GLBT Community
In line with Texas A&M’s land grant mission and with core Aggie values, the Diversity 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.
Creating the Vision 2020 "Culture of Excellence" Through Diversity
The Communication Department's faculty members and graduate students work to educate and prepare Aggies for an increasingly diverse world. For example, look at some of the ways in which they engage the complexity of communication among disparate groups of people:
Srividya Ramasubramanian, Associate Professor
In our COMM 663 (Media Processes and Effects) seminar, we 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. But these topics are also integrated into other readings about health campaigns, political communication, children’s media, and advertising effects. Among other things, we 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. The online course blog helps us continue these discussions beyond the classroom. Through this process of engagement, we hope to become conscious of media’s role in society so that we can be critical media consumers and work together towards creating a more socially just media world.
Tasha Dubriwny, Assistant Professor
I approach teaching from an intersectional perspective, meaning that for each class I teach, I take into account how the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality pertain to the course topic. For example, in my COMM 470 class (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, we 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. One of my favorite topics in this class is breast cancer. By looking to popular media (Sex and the City, for example, included a plot line about breast cancer) as well as to our everyday interactions with breast cancer awareness activities (pink ribbon marketing campaigns, runs and walks for the cure), we sketch out the meaning constructed for breast cancer in our culture, one that revolves around ideas of femininity and proper womanhood.
Antonio La Pastina, Associate Professor
In COMM 615 (Interpretive Research Methods), Barbara and I honestly did not set out to teach about diversity. However, as it happens, the field note materials we are using for the mid-term assignment in analyzing qualitative data comes 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. Also, the field notes paint a vivid picture of life in the colonias, so, in fact, these students will have learned a lot about this culturally distinct and greatly impoverished part of Texas.
Patrick Burkart, Associate Professor
Prof Burkart has incorporated international topics, gender identity, sexual orientation, and race and ethnicity perspectives into his video game course and the communication technology skills class.
Brittany Collins, Graduate Instructor
For me, diversity can be boiled downed to one term “difference.” It is then my goal to introduce difference of thought, experience, or background into each class meeting. In the Spring, I will have the pleasure working toward that goal each time my COMM 335 class meets. I am excited to put a new spin on the class by primarily focusing on sub-cultures such as homeless communities, Gypsies, and traveling bloggers. I want to provide an environment in which diverse communities, those most often overlooked, become the focal point. And my hope is that by learning about different sub-cultures, we can gain a better understanding of how we fit into an extremely diverse world.
Important Links Related to Diversity
- Office of Vice President and Associate Provost for Diversity
- Diversity Committee — College of Liberal Arts
- The Department of Multicultural Services
- Stop Hate: Reporting Hate Crimes