II. Standard 4: Diversity and Inclusiveness

The following will be available in the workroom during the visit:

    • Reports showing impact of faculty professional development aimed at enhancing ability to teach courses that develop culturally proficient communicators able to work on and advocate for diverse teams
    • Evidence of climate studies or other indicators of the unit’s level of inclusion

Executive summary:

The foundation of the college’s strategic plan is its eight value statements, including the following statement: “We are an inclusive community: All are welcome here. We respect the dignity of humanity and advocate for social justice. We are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion. We care for and encourage each other as we work together to create a better future.” The college is supported in its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion by the UNL Office of Diversity and Inclusion, which was established in 2018.

Administrative changes and the impact of the COVID pandemic stalled the assessment of the college’s 2016-2019 Diversity Plan, scheduled for spring 2020. New leadership in 2020-2021 led to the development of a five-year strategic plan, which incorporated diversity measures into college aims. In April of 2021, the college faculty discussed a diversity mission statement for inclusion on all course syllabi, and a search was launched for an associate dean for research and faculty affairs who would serve as the college’s diversity officer. In 2022-2023, the DEI committee, chaired by the associate dean for research and faculty affairs, assessed the previous diversity plan and drafted a new five-year diversity plan with broad input from college faculty and staff. The plan, which now incorporates annual assessments and faculty discussions to track progress toward goals, was unanimously approved by the faculty in spring 2023.

The college integrates diversity and inclusion across its curriculum, incorporating courses focused on diverse perspectives and cultural communication. Required and elective courses address inclusive language, race, gender, media ethics, social justice, human rights and global communication. Additionally, initiatives such as the Jacht D&I Toolkit, advertising and public relations campaign courses and journalism projects like Mosaic and Global Eyewitness actively promote diversity awareness and engagement within the college.

The college has implemented a comprehensive plan to foster a positive and inclusive culture, free of harassment and supportive of diversity. This includes the development of shared policies, tools and resources, as well as education and professional development opportunities for faculty and staff. Additionally, efforts have been made to increase the visibility of diversity and inclusion initiatives through various platforms, such as dedicated web pages, newsletters, student showcases and physical space enhancements.

The college has established several programs and collaborates with the UNL Office of Academic Services and Enrollment Management and the UNL Office of Diversity and Inclusion on initiatives to recruit diverse students from Nebraska and target out-of-state and international students. Recruiting initiatives include representation of diversity and inclusion in materials, partnerships with community organizations and workshops in diverse high schools. Efforts have resulted in an increase in underrepresented student enrollment in the college and a reduction in the gap between the college and the broader campus community.

The college has implemented comprehensive planning and targeted initiatives to support underrepresented students from enrollment to graduation, resulting in improved retention, four-year and six-year graduation rates and reduced equity gaps between underrepresented students and the broader student population. Key initiatives include the required course JOMC 100 The First Year Experience, expansion of degree planning, academic navigators, early feedback campaigns and an emergency scholarship program. These efforts have led to positive trends in retention and graduation rates for underrepresented students, as well as narrowing the equity gaps.

The college is committed to diversity throughout the recruitment and hiring process, supported by mandatory training provided by the university's Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance. The college actively promotes open positions through diverse publications, social groups and personal outreach to women and people of color. A recent assessment led to improvements, including assigning diversity ambassadors to search committees, resulting in more diverse shortlists and hires. The college is developing a best practice guide for hiring based on feedback and guidance from the UNL Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

The college prioritizes creating a welcoming and supportive culture to retain a diverse faculty and staff. Efforts include transparency in advancement processes, flexibility in work arrangements and improving salary equity. Onboarding programs for faculty and staff foster interpersonal connections, while initiatives like faculty appointment data sheets and individual meetings with staff promote transparency and career development. The college also increased flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic and conducted comprehensive reviews of faculty and staff salaries to address equity concerns.

The college actively invites a diverse range of professionals and guest speakers to engage with students through classes, public lectures and workshops. These speakers represent various races, genders and ethnicities, offering expertise and insights across different disciplines. The college also participates in a multicultural homecoming event, honoring notable alumni from diverse backgrounds and facilitating their interaction with students. Additionally, the college includes accomplished women, underrepresented alumni and international professionals in established speaker programs to further enhance the diversity of perspectives and experiences shared with the college community.

The college's strategic plan is built on a strong foundation of value statements that emphasize inclusivity, respect and a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. With the support of the UNL Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the college has undergone revisions and established a new five-year Diversity Plan to drive progress in these areas. By integrating diversity and inclusion throughout the curriculum, implementing comprehensive initiatives to foster a positive and inclusive culture, prioritizing diverse student recruitment and retention, promoting diversity in the recruitment and hiring process, creating a welcoming and supportive culture for colleagues and engaging with diverse professionals and guest speakers, the college is actively working toward its goal of creating a better future for all.

1. Complete and attach to this narrative section the following tables:

2. Provide a web link to the unit’s diversity plan. The plan should give the date of adoption/last revision, any designated timelines for reaching goals, the unit’s definition of diversity, and the under-represented groups identified by the unit. The plan should include key performance indicators, and focus on domestic minority groups and, where applicable, international groups.

CoJMC passed a new Diversity Plan on May 12, 2023. It can be found here.

The college defines diversity/inclusion, as noted in the plan: The college commits itself to welcoming and including students, staff and faculty of all races, nationalities, ethnicities, religions, genders, sexual orientations, as well as all social, political and economic ideas. In this context, inclusion means all people will be respected regardless of their background or beliefs and will have opportunities to engage fully in the life of the college.

In addition, the college’s strategic plan, approved on May 14, 2021, includes specific strategies and targets established to meet Aim 6 of the strategic plan: Prioritize community building that recognizes and celebrates diversity.


  • Attract and retain diverse faculty, staff and students committed to our values of hard work and collaborative problem-solving
  • Offer faculty and staff training on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)
  • Assess curriculum to ensure clear focus on DEI issues
  • Assess and redesign the Global Eyewitness program
  • Expand recruiting efforts for international students
  • Explore partner programs with universities in other countries
  • Increase faculty engagement in global experiences
  • Develop a support structure that includes student involvement opportunities, academic mentorship and faculty connections for underrepresented and first-generation students
  • Establish a Nebraska chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists
  • Develop partnerships with Nebraska high schools and student organizations with underrepresented populations that allows students to explore career opportunities in our industries
  • Establish a Summer Bridge Program or work with Big Red Camps to invite first-generation students and students from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups to enroll in a college transition program
  • Increase engagement with the Explore Center to encourage exploratory student enrollment in college ACE courses and involvement in The Circle
  • Maintain undergraduate advising loads at or below the NACADA recommendation of 285:1 to allow for proactive advising and stronger relationship development
  • Require all faculty to utilize Canvas for course management and grade reporting
  • Expand the JOMC 100 Mentorship Program by integrating the HS/Ambassador mentor pairs
  • Offer workshops for first-generation students on how to apply for continuing scholarships
  • Engage Buoy and Heartland practicum programs in supporting and telling the stories of underrepresented communities

2025 Targets:

  • 70% of faculty and staff will be enrolled in or have completed diversity, equity and inclusion training
  • 90% of faculty will be utilizing Canvas for course management and grading
  • Increase enrollment of students from underrepresented ethnic/racial groups by 7%
  • Increase enrollment of international students by 10%
  • Increase enrollment of students in study abroad programs by 10%
  • Increase the number of underrepresented and first-generation students participating in student involvement opportunities by 5% over a base rate established in the first year
  • Increase underrepresented and first-generation students Husker Power scores by 10%
  • Increase the number of first-generation and underrepresented students who apply to the college by 10%
  • Increase the number of underrepresented faculty and staff candidates on short lists by 10%

The full strategic plan can be found here.

3. Describe how the unit assesses its progress toward achieving the plan’s objectives, and how frequently faculty discuss the plan.

Following the last reaccreditation period in 2016, the college revised its Diversity Plan for 2016-2019, employing a three-year window for assessment. During that time, the college and university underwent several administrative changes, followed by the COVID pandemic. As a result, several initiatives noted within the plan were stalled.

When Dean Shari Veil assumed leadership of the college on July 1, 2020, she focused on developing a strategic plan that incorporated diversity initiatives, engaging the Global Eyewitness taskforce and revising the college’s policies and procedures to expand faculty governance. In 2021-2022, the college’s diversity, equity and inclusion committee began drafting a new Diversity Plan, while the college was searching for an Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Affairs to lead diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in the college. Cory Armstrong was hired as the associate dean for research and faculty affairs beginning in the fall of 2022. Under her leadership, the diversity, equity and inclusion committee conducted a thorough assessment of the previous DEI plan. The assessment revealed that while many of the plan’s goals were achieved, several of the metrics employed in the old plan needed to be retooled.

In the spring of 2023, the college’s diversity, equity and inclusion committee spearheaded efforts to create a new five-year plan, with annual assessment and review metrics. The plan was unanimously approved by the college faculty on May 12, 2023. The reviews and assessment of the 2023-2028 Diversity Plan are scheduled on an annual basis and include presentations by the diversity, equity and inclusion committee to the full faculty to discuss progress toward goals.

4. Describe how the unit’s curriculum includes instruction on issues and perspectives relating to mass communications across diverse cultures in a global society. Provide a grid that outlines where cultural communications proficiency is taught in the curriculum.

In 2018, the college’s Hearst Speaker Series that explored issues relating to all forms of diversity in contemporary media transitioned into the University’s efforts around the Multicultural Homecoming events. This allowed the college to engage a large group of diverse alumni. It also increased the events and opportunities for students aimed at fostering diversity awareness and understanding while our alumni were on campus. CoJMC faculty encourage — and sometimes require — students to participate in these events to reinforce curricular efforts to foster understanding of diverse perspectives. See Standard 3 for how the college assessed diversity in the curriculum through the graduating senior survey and industry professional committees.

The college incorporates diversity, equity and inclusion across all courses. All faculty engaged in diversity, equity and inclusion search committee training as part of the fall 2022 all-college retreat and faculty meetings regularly include teaching workshops that focus on creating a more welcoming and accessible environment, both online and in the classroom. In addition, roughly 20 faculty have participated in one of three additional classroom-focused diversity trainings. For example, journalism professors Michelle Hassler and Chris Graves have participated in the Catalyst Journalism Project bringing together investigative reporting and solutions journalism, and photojournalism professor Shoun Hill participated in the solutions journalism panel at the National Association of Black Journalists. These faculty have led other faculty to incorporate solutions-based approaches to covering challenging social issues and representation in news coverage. Graves has also attended The Poynter Institute’s Diversity Across the Curriculum.

Woman accepts award
Jemalyn Griffin (right) accepts the Inclusive Excellence Award from Dean Shari Veil in May 2023.

Former faculty member Trina Creighton was awarded the African American Unity Fund Grant Award in 2020 to honor her inclusive teaching excellence, and Jemalyn Griffin, assistant professor of practice, was honored with the college’s first-ever “inclusive excellence” award in 2023. Associate professors Valerie Jones and Ming (Bryan) Wang, along with lecturer Madeline Wiseman, have received recent $1,000 grants from UNL’s Center for Transformative Teaching to enhance their teaching skills to be more inclusive.

Faculty continue to find innovative ways to incorporate cultural communications into every course in the college. The core required courses embed issues in mass communications to include diverse perspectives. All the college’s introductory courses outline basic concepts of cultural communication surrounding domestic and global diversity. All the required writing courses build on this awareness, so students begin to apply their knowledge. The required JOUR 200a Fundamentals of Editing and Reporting I course specifically explores inclusive language and communication for diverse audiences. Students write three reflections on language use in the media: 1) how journalists use or don’t use inclusive language to promote human diversity, 2) how news organizations write about race and diversity with language that's inclusive, not exclusive and 3) how news organizations balance grammar norms with the need to respect people’s preferred pronouns. Following the JOUR 200a Fundamentals of Editing and Reporting I course is a required writing course specific to each major where these concepts are reinforced.

Starting in the fall of 2022, JOMC 222 Social Justice, Human Rights and the Media, was added as a requirement for all college majors. Prior to the requirement it was a popular elective course with nearly two-thirds of college majors enrolling. The course also attracts students from other colleges on campus and incorporates a book club model where students read and respond in smaller cohorts. Class discussions and guest speakers further explore social justice issues related to media. Recent guest speakers included journalist Shane Bauer about his book Prisoner, a Flatwater Free Press Forum on Nebraska Prisons and an industry panel discussion on race and the media. Specific information about course goals and programing in recent semesters is available here and here.

Race and the Media Panel
Flatwater Forum

CoJMC also requires JOMC 487 Media, Ethics and Society and offers several elective courses where the central theme is diversity and global communication, including:

Beyond specific courses, other initiatives integrate diversity and global issues in innovative ways. For example, the student-run advertising and public relations agency, Jacht, now includes leadership positions in DEI and regularly holds training for students and develops materials with the college DEI committee used across the college. Advertising and public relations campaign courses have worked with diverse audiences and clients throughout the community including the Malone Center, The Free Speech Center, STEM fields and OLLI Lifelong Learning. The journalism project, Mosaic, has adapted over time to cover diverse communities that include working with refugee communities in the area.

Award winning depth reporting projects have tackled topics covering the environment, sustainability, challenges facing White Clay, Nebraska, and the Pine Ridge Reservation, Being Black in Lincoln and all 93 counties in Nebraska. The international photojournalism project, Global Eyewitness, was revamped working with alumni, current students and campus partners. A statement on the process and changes was released in fall 2021. The project now takes a solutions journalism approach that is heavily informed by the culture and community it covers. On hiatus due to the pandemic, the project was planning to travel to Kenya in 2022, until political violence broke out there. Instead, the class continued our work with Pine Ridge Reservation and will return to international travel in 2023 working with partners in Vietnam. Creative courses have also worked with local agency Bailey Lauerman on a Design Diversity Challenge to highlight the importance of diversity in Nebraska and make it visible in the college through a mural on the third floor of Andersen Hall.

The following grid provides information about diversity topics covered in some of our core and elective courses.

Core Required Courses



Subjects Taught

JOMC 101

Principles of Mass Media

Introduction to cultural approaches to research and inclusive media representations

ADPR 151

Introduction to Advertising and Public Relations

Exploration of social impact, responsibility and ethics for diverse, global marketplace

SPMC 150

Introduction to Sports Media and Communication

Exploration of the issues facing sports media professionals; the place of sports fandom, sports culture, gender, race, identity and politics in the American sports landscape.

JOUR 200a

Fundamentals of Editing and Reporting I

Usage of inclusive language and discussion of how news and media organizations incorporate race and diversity

JOMC 222

Social Justice, Human Rights and the Media

Thematic and cultural topics involving human rights around the world

JOUR 200b

Fundamentals of Editing and Reporting II

Principles about research and engagement techniques to reach diverse and underserved communities

ADPR 221

Strategic Writing for Advertising and Public Relations

Goal-oriented writing designed for diverse audiences, tactics and media.

BRDC 260

Media Writing and Content Development

Awareness of diverse audiences and ethical considerations of written materials for electronic media

SPMC 250

Beginning Sports Writing for News and Promotion

Exploration of stereotypes in news coverage and the importance of diversity in media

JOMC 487

Media, Ethics and Society

Ethical challenges dealing with diverse and global audiences


The News Lab

Application of style guide for diverse audiences and sources that are representative of the community

ADPR/BRDC 329/429

Jacht Ad Lab

DEI guides and training developed by internal DEI team

Sample Elective Courses



Subjects Taught

JOUR 346

Nebraska Mosaic

Reporting for diverse audiences

JOUR 490 a/b

Global Eyewitness Multimedia Photojournalism Project

Solutions journalism, produce multimedia stories with an emerging country

ADPR 437

International/Multicultural Public Relations

Global issues affecting public relations

ADPR 438

Global Advertising

Cultural, economic, political and social differences in foreign markets

JOMC 422

Race, Gender and Media

Multicultural and gender diversity issues within the mass media.


Issues and Ethics in Sports: Cheaters, Billionaires and Mega Media: American Sports in the 21st Century

Examination of the robust confluence of race, gender, class, economics, politics, commerce and popular culture created by sport

Study Abroad Courses

Regional media visits and cultural issues

5. Describe efforts to establish and maintain a climate that is free of harassment and discrimination, accommodates the needs of those with disabilities, and values the contributions of all forms of diversity.

The college has developed a strategic and intentional plan to create a positive and empowering culture that is free of harassment, accommodates the needs of those with disabilities and values the contributions of all forms of diversity. The college’s focus is rooted in shared governance and our strategic plan, which aims to create a positive culture and embrace diversity and inclusion throughout our operations. To create a culture that is welcoming and embraces everyone, we have established shared policies and procedures, developed tools and resources to support DEI, implemented strategies to improve our culture, provided education and professional development for our faculty and staff and increased the visibility of DEI in our college.

Strategic Plan

During our strategic planning process in 2020, each task force was charged with incorporating diversity, equity and inclusion into their efforts. In addition, one task force was designated to focus on strategies to support all individuals in the college, including students, staff and faculty climate. This collaborative process resulted in developing a specific shared value celebrating diversity and inclusion: “We are an inclusive community: All are welcome here. We respect the dignity of humanity and advocate for social justice. We are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion. We care for and encourage each other as we work together to create a better future.”

Additionally, the process resulted in strategies throughout the plan that support the development of every individual in our community and ensure DEI is front and center in everything we do. Two of the eight strategic plan aims specifically focus on creating an inclusive culture.

  • Aim 6: Prioritize community building that recognizes and celebrates diversity
  • Aim 7: Establish a culture of life-long learning and professional development

In addition to these aims, strategies supporting the other six aims also embrace diversity and inclusion.

Shared Governance

To ensure the implementation of our strategic and diversity plans, the college enhanced our shared governance structure supporting diversity, equity and inclusion. The college has long had a standing diversity, equity and inclusion committee. In 2021, the college conducted a national search for an associate dean for research and faculty affairs. The search resulted in the hire of Cory Armstrong beginning in August 2022. This position was designed to serve as the college’s chief diversity officer. The associate dean for research and faculty affairs consults with any college community member who needs assistance with possible Title IX violations, EEOC issues, harassment incidents or threatening or alarming behavior. While the associate dean is not an investigator, this individual provides resources and support to help faculty, staff and students file reports or seek assistance from various resources across campus.

Additionally, the college updated its committee structure, appointing the associate dean of research and faculty affairs as chair of the diversity, equity and inclusion committee to create continuity over time and expanding committee membership to include a CoJMC staff member.

Policies and Procedures

The college has also revised its policies and procedures to ensure a climate free of harassment, create transparent mechanisms for addressing any situations that arise and create clear expectations and support for professional development and growth. The college’s policies and procedures are supported by and aligned with university policies and procedures, including university bylaws and promotion and tenure guidelines.

In 2021-2022, the college undertook a comprehensive review of its bylaws and policies and procedures to ensure a clear understanding of expectations for faculty and staff and establish mechanisms for the redress of grievances by community members. The comprehensive review included the college’s grade appeal policy, promotion and tenure guidelines and annual review policy. The college faculty adopted the updated policies and procedures on March 11, 2022. The policies and procedures are available here.

Separately, the CoJMC revised the annual review process for staff to focus on identifying and strengthening individual strengths and recognizing the diverse ways individuals contribute to the college. The CoJMC adopted the updated process in the spring of 2021.

Lastly, the college developed a policy related to the hiring and support of student workers. The policy includes provisions for advertising positions to ensure that we reach a diverse group of potential students and support student worker development. The college adopted the student worker policy on Oct. 8, 2021.

Tools and Resources

Following the murder of George Floyd in 2020, the college decided greater visibility of our support for diversity, equity and inclusion was necessary, and additional tools and resources to support faculty in their educational mission were needed.

Starting with a published statement of commitment, the college established a public-facing webpage dedicated to diversity and inclusion. The webpage provides connections to diversity and inclusion resources, including campus offices and centers, upcoming events, educational resources, support services and college news.

The page also provides access to a diversity and inclusion toolkit developed by the student-run advertising agency, Jacht, in partnership with the college’s diversity, equity and inclusion committee. The toolkit is available to all and provides additional tips and resources to support underrepresented students, faculty and staff. It is scheduled to be updated again in Fall 2023.

In 2021, the university launched new data visualization dashboards that provide each faculty member with information about the students in their courses, including information on underrepresented, first-gen and low-income students. These dashboards give faculty a greater understanding of their students and allow them to adjust their teaching to meet the needs of students.



In 2022, the college launched its first climate survey to gain insight into its climate and provide information on how to improve. The climate survey is distributed to all employees, including full and part-time faculty, staff, graduate assistants and student workers. The survey results are analyzed and published to the entire college community through the Monday Morning Memo. The results are then reviewed and discussed by the college’s strategic planning committee, which makes recommendations for improving the college’s culture.

From 2022 to 2023, we made improvements on 14 measures on the climate survey. In 2023, we had a 40 percent response rate to the survey, or 80 of 199 employees. Notably, the following areas demonstrated the greatest improvement:

  • I believe my opinions and perspectives are represented in decisions made. In 2022, 80.95% of respondents agreed with this statement, improving to 93.75% in 2023.
  • People here are open to trying new and different ways of addressing our college's challenges. In 2022, 79.37% of respondents agreed, improving to 90% in 2023.
  • The college promotes an environment of physical, mental, and social well-being. In 2022, 84.12% of respondents agreed, improving to 92.5% in 2023.

However, there were also areas where we saw a decline in agreement among respondents. While the change is not substantial, these are areas to watch:

  • I am satisfied with my involvement in decisions that affect my work. In 2022, 90.48% of respondents agreed, dropping to 88.75% in 2023.
  • I feel my professional development is supported and encouraged. In 2022, 92.06% of respondents agreed, dropping to 91.25% in 2023.

In addition, there was a gap in scores from staff vs. faculty in these areas:

  • The college promotes an environment of physical, mental, and social well-being. Results indicated that 95.8% of faculty agreed with this statement, compared to 75% of staff.
  • I feel my professional development is supported and encouraged. Results indicated that 91.7% of faculty agreed with this statement, compared to 83.3% of staff.
  • Leadership in the college has adequately communicated the organization's long-range goals and strategic direction. Results indicated that 100% of faculty agreed, compared to 91.7% of staff.
  • Most of the time it is safe to speak up in the college. Results indicated that 100% of staff agreed with this statement, but only 85.4% of faculty agreed with the statement.

Two statements received 100% agreement across faculty and staff:

  • I am proud to be associated with the college and university.
  • I believe my work positively impacts the success of our students, faculty and staff.

Review the complete results of the 2022 and 2023 climate surveys.

The college has also implemented programs to create a sense of community and ensure that faculty, staff and students feel valued. Starting in 2018, the college established culture pods, which organized small groups of faculty and staff for social outings. These activities aim to create connections between individuals who don’t normally work together. The social pods were paused during COVID-19 and the leadership transition from Interim Dean Struthers to Dean Veil. However, the program was re-established in spring 2023.

In 2021, the college staff launched a staff outing program that brings together all staff for social activities quarterly. The staff determine the activities, which have included axe throwing, miniature golf, bowling and painting. In addition, a lunch and learn series was implemented to focus on staff professional development (see below). Several personal goals of staff members included focusing on exercise and taking more breaks. The college added optional Walking Wednesdays over the lunch hour in the summer of 2023 to get staff up and moving while socializing with each other.

Three people pose together
Nicole Blackstock (left) poses with Andrea Gaghagen (center) and Natalie Becerra, the April 2022 winners of the Not Too Shabby Awards. Kudos serve as nominations for the Not Too Shabby Award.

In 2018, two members of the faculty, Valerie Jones and Kelli Britten, launched a program for peer-to-peer recognition among faculty and staff. The program, Hallway High Fives, provided notecards to all employees so they could share notes of thanks with their peers. With the onset of COVID-19, the program was converted to a digital platform and renamed Kudos. In 2022, the program was expanded to include students. The program allows individuals to submit digital notes of appreciation for members of the college community. Each Kudo is tied to one of the college’s values. Recipients receive an email notifying them of the Kudos along with a digital certificate. The Kudos are collected monthly and serve as the nominations for several college awards. In 2022-2023, 453 Kudos were submitted by faculty, staff and students.

To see a full list of all submitted Kudos, please click here.

Kudos serve as the nominations for the staff Not Too Shabby award. Each month the staff review the submitted Kudos and vote for one faculty member and one staff member to receive the award. Recipients receive a trophy they can keep in their office for the month and are recognized in the Monday Morning Memo.

Kudos also serve as the nominations for the Student of the Month award. The Student Advisory Board reviews all the Kudos submitted for students and votes for one student to receive the award. Recipients can choose between a Starbucks gift card, lunch with the Dean or college swag. They are also recognized in the student newsletter, Today@CoJMC.

Lastly, Kudos recipients are recognized at the monthly all-college meeting, where a recipient and a nominator are drawn randomly to be recognized and receive a Starbucks gift card.

Group holding awards
The 2023 Faculty and Staff Award winners. From left: Barney McCoy, Jemalyn Griffin, Ciera Kirkpatrick, Tiffany Groteluschen, Karez Hassan, Michelle Hassler and Jamie Wenz.

In addition to the Kudos, the college launched a faculty and staff award program. The Strategic Planning Committee developed the program, and the full faculty approved it in the spring of 2022. The award program was administered for the first time in the Spring of 2023 and includes the following awards:

  • Excellence in Teaching
  • Excellence in Research/Creative Activity
  • Excellence in Industry or Community Engagement
  • Excellence in Student Support or Advocacy
  • Staff Excellence Award
  • Inclusive Excellence Award
  • Friend of the College Award
  • To Infinity and Beyond Award

Faculty and staff are recognized at the Family Reunion College Picnic in the spring.

Education and Professional Development

As detailed above, the college has developed a comprehensive plan to incorporate diversity throughout the undergraduate curriculum, ensuring that students graduate with a deep understanding of domestic and global diversity. In addition to such efforts focused on students, the college has established programs to ensure education and training in diversity and inclusion for our faculty and staff.

Two people stand in front of building
Chancellor Ronnie Green joins the CoJMC book club meeting on Oct. 27, 2020.

In 2020, the college launched a diversity and inclusion book club, led by associate professor Trina Creighton that invited faculty and staff to read a shared book and participate in group discussions to deepen their understanding of diversity and inclusion. Following Creighton’s retirement in 2021, the DEI committee took over the book club and continued the program. The book club has read: How to be Antiracist, Caste: The Origins or our Discontents, American Prison, White Fragility, Community as Rebellion and Real Queer America. The book selected for fall 2023 is Tomorrow will be Different.

Since 2018, the college has hosted brown bag lunches with faculty to provide professional development opportunities in several areas. While workshops were conducted on issues of diversity and inclusion, the efforts were sporadic and uncoordinated. When Cory Armstrong was hired as the associate dean for research and faculty affairs, she was charged with improving the program and developing an intentional plan to incorporate diversity and inclusion into the offerings.

Group sits in a circle
Faculty attend the "A Rountable on Classroom Diversity" workshop on April 21, 2023.

In the fall of 2022, she relaunched the program as the Faculty Innovation and Exploration Series and established a regular schedule of workshops. Three workshops are offered each semester focused specifically on teaching, research and creative activity and diversity and inclusion. This schedule ensures that faculty receive at least two workshops per year on diversity and inclusion. In 2022-2023, two diversity-related sessions were held: “Crucial Conversations about Diversity” and “A Roundtable on Classroom Diversity.” Both events had 16-20 participants.

In 2021, the college launched a lunch and learn series focused on providing professional development to college staff members. Like the faculty series, the lunch and learn series incorporates at least one workshop on topics related to diversity and inclusion each semester. During 2022-2023, two lunch and learns were diversity focused. On Aug. 18, 2022, Tony Sattler, EVP and director of experience and insights for Swanson Russell, gave a talk on intergenerational communication. On Feb. 20, 2023, Pete Ferguson, coordinator of culture, inclusion and scholar development for Lincoln Public Schools, gave a talk on cross-cultural communication.

To support diversity and inclusion in teaching, the college has invited instructional designer Amy Ort to promote professional development opportunities through the UNL Center for Transformative Teaching in the Monday Morning Memo and to give a teaching tips presentation during each monthly all-college meeting, including how to make courses more inclusive and accessible. For details on additional teaching-related workshops, please see Standard 2 and Standard 5.


To ensure that diversity and inclusion remains at the forefront for our faculty, staff and students the college has taken several steps, in addition to the diversity and inclusion webpage noted above, to increase the visibility of DEI-related work and our commitment to diversity. To showcase student work related to diversity, equity and inclusion, the college’s primary news platform, the Nebraska News Service website, established a section to showcase Diverse Voices. The section regularly features content students create in classes and across our Experience Lab programs including the Nebraska News Service, Nebraska Nightly and Unlimited Sports.

Students listen to a guest speaker
Jacht students listen to a presentation by D.A. Graham, Ombuds, University of Kansas, during Anchor Week Nov. 2 to 6, 2020.

Our student-run advertising agency, Jacht, appointed its first Chief Diversity Officer in 2019 and established a diversity, equity and inclusion committee within the agency. Each year, the diversity, equity and inclusion committee undertakes an initiative to raise awareness about diversity and inclusion. Examples of past initiatives include a weeklong celebration of diversity, Anchor Week, a partnership with the UNL Office of Diversity and Inclusion on the annual university diversity, equity and inclusion report, and a promotional campaign for multicultural homecoming.

Additionally, our faculty and staff newsletter, the Monday Morning Memo, includes a section on diversity and inclusion that regularly shares upcoming events, diversity-related initiatives and opportunities for faculty and staff to engage in the college and on campus. Engagement opportunities are also shared through our student newsletter, Today@CoJMC, our alumni newsletter, CoJMC Alumni News, and our parents' newsletter, The Adviser.

Student stands in front of mural
Ashleigh Kawaoka inaugural winner of the BL Design Diversity Challenge stands in front of her mural on the third floor of Andersen Hall.

The college has also considered diversity and inclusion in our physical space within Andersen Hall. In 2021, the college partnered with Nebraska advertising agency Bailey Lauerman to launch the Bailey Lauerman Design Diversity Challenge. Students throughout the college compete to design a mural celebrating diversity in Nebraska. BL professionals judge the designs. The winning designer receives a scholarship funded by the agency, and their design is installed in a highly visible public space on the third floor of Andersen Hall for one year.

In the fall of 2022, the college’s diversity, equity and inclusion committee spearheaded an effort to review quotes from prominent individuals painted on the walls of Andersen Hall. Concerns had been raised that some quotes or their authors may not have been supportive of an inclusive community. After seeking feedback from students, staff and faculty, 20 quotes (roughly 50 percent) were removed by the college to update them and expand the range of historic and contemporary notable figures, including CoJMC alumni, whose inspiring and thought-provoking observations about the role of media in society can be shared with those who enter Andersen Hall.

6. Describe the unit’s efforts to recruit and retain a student population reflecting the diversity of the population eligible to enroll in institutions of higher education in the region or population it serves, with special attention to recruiting under-represented groups.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a land-grant institution, concentrates its recruiting efforts in the state of Nebraska and targets out-of-state and international markets identified by the UNL Office of Academic Services and Enrollment Management (ASEM). The college strives to maintain a student population that is more racially and ethnically diverse than the population of Nebraska and consistent with the broader University of Nebraska-Lincoln student population.

To achieve this goal the college has partnered with the UNL Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) and UNL ASEM on institution-wide diversity recruiting initiatives. The college has enhanced its commitment to recruiting diverse students by ensuring diversity and inclusion are represented in all recruitment materials and communications, establishing and growing partnerships with community organizations serving diverse students and targeting high schools with large, underrepresented student populations for a la carte workshops.

One of the central aims of the University’s N 2025 strategic plan, developed in 2019, was to create a climate at Nebraska that emphasizes, prioritizes and expands inclusive excellence and diversity. In April of 2019, the university appointed its first Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion to lead the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. One of the college’s Strategic Plan targets (for AIM 6) includes increasing enrollments of underrepresented groups by 7% and international students by 10% by 2025.

In partnership, ODI and ASEM lead institutional efforts to recruit diverse students. The college has worked closely with ODI and ASEM on the implementation of these efforts.

Nebraska College Preparatory Academy

The Nebraska College Preparatory Academy is a UNL program designed to prepare high-achieving, low-income students for admission into and success in competitive colleges and universities. Through rigorous coursework, personalized mentoring and college readiness activities, the academy aims to bridge the opportunity gap and provide these students with the support and resources necessary to navigate the college application process and thrive academically. The college partners with the academy by offering a wide range of media skills workshops to participating students throughout the academic year.

Diversity Leadership Symposia

Diversity Leadership Symposia are day-long events for high school students designed to celebrate and promote leadership in diverse communities. Each symposia targets a diverse group of students. Symposia include the First-Generation Symposium, Black Leadership Symposium, Latino Leadership Symposium and Native Leadership Symposium. The college presents opportunities available in CoJMC at each symposium and provides participating students the opportunity to tour college facilities along with presentations of the student experience.

College Access Days

College Access Days provide the opportunity for school counselors to sign up students to visit UNL as a group. Rather than a conventional campus visit, students engage in an immersive day that offers a firsthand experience of college life. The Office of Admissions collaborates with school representatives and community organizations to facilitate complimentary transportation from local communities, enabling college access visits for students. During College Access Days, the college showcases the various opportunities offered by the CoJMC and facilitates guided tours of its facilities for participating students. This allows students to explore the resources and possibilities available within the college firsthand.

Spanish Visit Days

Spanish Visit Days provide a campus experience for high school students with sessions and tours of the campus hosted in Spanish. Like the Diversity Leadership Symposia and College Access Days, the college presents about opportunities available in the college and provides guided tours of college facilities during all Spanish Visit Days.

In addition to our strong partnership with ODI and ASEM, the college has expanded its commitment to diversity recruiting by ensuring diverse perspectives are represented in all recruiting materials and communications, developing partnerships with community organizations that serve diverse student groups and targeting schools with large populations of underrepresented students for the a la carte workshop program.

Student group poses in front of backdrop
Assistant Director of Recruitment Alex Fernando (front) and studetn ambassadors attend a recruitment event in March 2023.

The college has a full-time Assistant Director of Recruitment who works with a team of student ambassadors to implement the college’s recruiting strategies. In fall 2021, the college established a diversity and inclusion committee on the ambassador team. The committee is charged with outreach to community organizations, reviewing all recruitment communications to ensure they are accessible to students unfamiliar with higher education and reviewing all student opportunities and communications to ensure students from all backgrounds are highlighted.

In 2022-2023, the Diversity Ambassador Team was:

    • Valerie Uribe, junior, advertising and public relations, graphic design
    • Marissa Kraus, junior, journalism
    • Natalie Frick, junior, advertising and public relations, sports media and communication
    • Skylee Nelson, junior, broadcasting, sports media and communication
    • Tyler Hurst, sophomore, advertising and public relations and sports media and communication

    Working with the assistant director of recruitment and DEI Ambassador Committee, the college has established several partnerships with community organizations that serve diverse students. Engagement is tailored to meet the needs of each organization but can include after school workshops, tours of campus, mini-camps, presentations about college and current student panels. Current partnerships include:

    Upward Bound

    Upward Bound is a federally funded program that provides tutoring and other services to increase the likelihood of college entrance for students from low-income families or families where neither parent has a bachelor’s degree. For many years, the college has been hosting hands-on workshops to Upward Bound students participating in a summer camp at UNL. The college hosted Upward Bound workshops on June 16, 28 and 29, 2023.

    Boys and Girls Club of Lincoln

    The Boys and Girls Club of Lincoln is a nonprofit organization that provides a safe and supportive environment for children and teenagers to participate in educational, recreational and character-building activities. It offers programs and services aimed at promoting academic success, healthy lifestyles and closing equity gaps. The college hosted the Boys and Girls Club students for a workshop in Andersen Hall on Feb. 15, 2022, where Kelli Bolling demonstrated podcasting. Another is planned for Fall 2023.

    Student stands in front of mural
    Professor of Practice Matt Waite works with a student during the Girls, Inc. summer camp in June 2023.

    Girls, Inc.

    Girls, Inc. is an organization dedicated to empowering girls and young women through a variety of programs and experiences. Its focus is on inspiring girls to be strong, smart and bold, providing them with opportunities to develop leadership skills, explore STEM fields and build self-confidence. The college launched a partnership with Girls, Inc. in 2023 by hosting workshops for Girls, Inc. participants during the organization's summer camp from July 10-13, 2023.

    Junior Achievement

    Junior Achievement is a global nonprofit organization that aims to inspire and prepare young people for success in the global economy through entrepreneurship, financial literacy and work readiness programs. It provides students with practical skills and real-world experiences to become confident, responsible and economically empowered individuals. The college hosted Junior Achievement students in Andersen Hall on Feb. 14, Feb. 28 and April 5, 2023.

    Youth Leadership Lincoln

    Youth Leadership Lincoln is a local program that empowers and develops young leaders in the Lincoln community. Through interactive workshops, community engagement and leadership training, it equips participants with the skills, knowledge and connections necessary to make positive contributions and create lasting change in their community. The college partners with Youth Leadership Lincoln to host a day-long youth conference in Andersen Hall. The 2022-2023 conference was held on March 24, 2023.

    Nebraska 4-H Extension

    Nebraska 4-H Extension is a statewide youth development program that provides educational opportunities and resources to empower young people in Nebraska. It promotes hands-on learning, leadership development and the acquisition of life skills, fostering the growth and well-being of youth across the state. Since 2019, the college has partnered with Nebraska 4-H Extension to offer Big Red Summer camps focused on digital media and storytelling. In 2022-2023, the college expanded its partnership to offer a second summer camp focused on esports. The 2022-2023 camps were held from June 11-16, 2023.

    Bay High

    Bay High is a Lincoln Public Schools focus program that provides concentrated educational opportunities to public school students interested in digital storytelling. Bay High strives to equip students facing limited access, restricted opportunities and the constraints of traditional education with the necessary skills for post-secondary education and successful careers. Participating juniors and seniors receive core educational requirements at their home high school and then spend half their school day at local Lincoln nonprofit, The Bay, taking classes in content creation and emerging digital technology in four subject areas: photography and videography, coding and development, design and digital asset creation and digital storytelling and podcasting.

    In 2022-2023, the college received a grant from the Cooper Foundation to launch an afterschool program at Bay High. Associate professor of practice Alan Eno and assistant director of recruitment Alex Fernando developed a yearlong two-day-a-week program that provides Bay High students the opportunity to participate in workshops taught by CoJMC faculty and student ambassadors and to create content for publication by Rabble Media. Additionally, the college partnered with the UNL Office of Admissions to host workshops on applying to college for Bay High students.

    These partnerships have allowed the college to engage with diverse students from across the State of Nebraska and encourage interested students to continue their education at CoJMC.

    The college also targets high schools with high populations of underrepresented students for our a la carte workshop program. The program is detailed in Standard 8. During the 2022-2023 academic year, workshops were conducted at the following target high schools in support of diversity recruiting.



    Workshop Date(s)

    Lexington High School

    Lexington, Nebraska


    Lincoln High School

    Lincoln, Nebraska

    1/13/2023, 3/8/2023

    Grand Island Northwest High

    Grand Island, Nebraska


    Omaha North High School

    Omaha, Nebraska


    Omaha South High School

    Omaha, Nebraska


    Fremont High School

    Fremont, Nebraska

    8/29/2022, 10/3/2023, 2/10/2023

    Piper High School

    Kansas City, Kansas

    11/7/2022, 3/23/2023

    These efforts have helped the college make progress in achieving its goal of enrolling a student population that is as racially and ethnically diverse as the broader campus community.

    Although we still lag behind the campus in underrepresented student enrollment, we have made progress over the past 10 years. In fall 2013, 12.6% of the college’s undergraduate students were from underrepresented groups. In fall 2023, that figure rose to 22.3%, an increase of 77%.

    line graph of enrollment proprotion

    Additionally, the gap between the college’s proportion of underrepresented students and the university’s proportion of underrepresented students has diminished, indicating that the underrepresented student population in CoJMC is growing faster than the university.

    line graph of enrollment gap

    As part of the N2025 strategic plan, the University also placed increasing focus on retaining students and reducing the equity gap between underrepresented and represented students. In 2021, the college developed a student success plan specifically targeted at improving retention and closing the equity gap.

    The plan identified three campus-wide metrics to serve as leading indicators of student retention. The metrics were:

    • Metric 1: Number of students with a completed degree plan
    • Metric 2: Number of first year students who attend an advising appointment in each of their first two semesters
    • Metric 3: Number of courses where faculty provide feedback in Canvas (the university’s learning management system) by the fourth week

    To support metrics one and two the college focused on the development of curriculum in the First Year Experience Course. The course added peer mentors in the fall of 2020 to help students navigate their first semester. The course also expanded its focus on degree planning to three weeks during the course and required all students to complete a degree plan and meet with their academic adviser.

    Although the college already had a high rate of Canvas utilization, the college offered workshops and professional development opportunities to help faculty better understand how to use the tool and promote early feedback. To review the full student success plan, please click here.

    Additionally, the university obtained a grant to hire academic navigators beginning in the summer of 2022 to support at risk students. Due to our smaller size on campus, CoJMC shares an academic navigator with the College of Architecture and the Hixon-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts. The academic navigator analyzes a wide variety of student data to identify students at risk and then conducts outreach to students to connect them with appropriate campus resources. Additionally, the navigator meets individually with students to develop academic improvement plans and improve study skills.

    Some of the data that academic navigators monitor to identify at-risk students is class performance, enrollment in future semesters, academic holds and survey responses related to student belonging. For additional details about the academic navigator program, please see #8 below.

    7. Units in which admission is selective or varies from general university admission requirements should describe considerations given to the effects of selective requirements on minority enrollment.

    N/A - we follow UNL general admission guidelines in the CoJMC.

    8. Assess the unit’s effectiveness in retaining minority students from first enrollment through graduation. Describe any special program developed by and/or used by the unit in the retention of minority students. Note the role of advising in this process.

    The college has built upon past success in supporting minority students from first enrollment through graduation through comprehensive planning and targeted initiatives. As a result of these efforts, we have seen improvement in our retention, four-year and six-year graduation rates for minority students and successfully reduced the gap in these rates between underrepresented students and the general student population.

    In the fall of 2015, the college launched a new required course for all incoming freshman, JOMC 100 The First Year Experience. This course is taught by the college’s academic advisers and provides students with information on navigating college life, academic success tips, degree requirements and campus resources. The course's purpose is to facilitate student retention, improve college graduation rates and shorten the time to degree.

    The college has made several revisions to the course to continue to improve our overall retention and graduation rates, rates for underrepresented students and reduce the gaps between the two. Some of the revisions include expanding the time spent on degree planning for students from one to three weeks to ensure all students have a full four-year degree plan, incorporating research on developing a growth mindset to improve student attitudes toward learning and incorporating a peer-mentor program to facilitate the development of relationships and connections that support student retention.

    A student’s assigned academic adviser is the instructor of their First Year Experience section. A student remains with that adviser until they graduate or leave the college. This continuity aims to build a relationship between the student and their adviser to support their retention and help them achieve graduation.

    Traditionally, JOMC 100 The First Year Experience has been required for all first-time freshmen. In the spring of 2022, the college added an additional course, JOMC 100B, to provide a similar experience for students who transfer into the college from other colleges at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and other academic institutions.

    In 2021, the college developed a comprehensive student success plan. As noted in Standard 6, the initiative was in response to a push by the broader university community to decrease the equity gaps for underrepresented students in retention and graduation rates. As a result of this planning process, the college implemented several initiatives to support the retention and graduation of underrepresented students. 

    The first initiative, The Experience Lab, was developed out of the college-wide strategic planning process and was in its pilot semester when the plan was written. The Experience Lab provides students with hands-on learning opportunities and just-in-time equipment training to engage students in career-related experiences from their first semester on campus.

    The second initiative was the further expansion of degree planning in JOMC 100 The First Year Experience. In addition to developing individual four-year plans, students are now required to meet one-on-one with their academic adviser to review their plan to ensure it meets all degree requirements. The academic advising team also modified its communication campaign to encourage students to meet with the adviser every semester. The college tracks progress toward this goal by regularly reviewing the proportion of students who have met with their academic adviser and have documented notes in the student information system.

    The final initiative has evolved since the inception of the plan. Initially, the college piloted a mid-term grade project with core required courses. The purpose of the program was to provide advisers with a way to identify struggling students during the semester. However, the university developed a new dashboard, Performance Outliers, that draws information on student progress directly from Canvas (the university’s learning management system) to create a real-time picture of student success. A campaign to ensure that all faculty give early feedback in their courses allows for students to make adjustments earlier in the semester and allows the college to track student progress and conduct individual outreach to struggling students.

    The college also established an emergency scholarship program to support students who face financial hardships that threaten their future enrollment. Academic advisors direct students to this program. If students have not met with their adviser, they are encouraged to do so before applying. Students can receive up to $1,500 per application.

    Although there has been some variation year over year, the college has successfully established an upward trend in the college’s retention rate, four-year graduation rate and six-year graduation rate for underrepresented students.

    The retention rate measures the number of underrepresented students who enroll in the college as first-time freshmen and return for their sophomore year. Between the fall 2017 cohort and the fall 2021 cohort the college saw a 14.1% increase in the retention rate for underrepresented students, growing from 72.2% to 82.4%.

    Bar graph of retention rate

    As noted in Standard 6, the university and the college have placed increased emphasis on reducing equity gaps on campus. The initiatives detailed in the college’s student success plan are specifically targeted toward this aim.

    The college efforts have been successful in reducing the retention rate gap by 28.3% between underrepresented students and the general college student population. For the fall 2017, the gap was 7.4%, which fell to 5.3% for the fall 2021 cohort.

    Bar graph of equity gaps

    The college has also seen improvement in the four-year graduation rate for underrepresented students. Between the fall 2014 cohort and the fall 2018 cohort, the college saw a 16.6% improvement in the four-year graduation rate for underrepresented students, growing from 42.9% to 50.0%.

    bar graph of graduation rates

    The college has also seen a 24.2% reduction in the four-year graduation rate equity gap between underrepresented students and the general college graduation rate.

    Bar graph of equity gaps

    The college has also experienced an upward trend in the six-year graduation rate for underrepresented students, growing from 14.3% for the fall 2012 cohort to 56% for the fall 2016 cohort.

    Bar graph of six year grad rates

    The six-year graduation rate has also experienced the most significant reduction in the equity gap between the general student population and underrepresented students, declining by 75.12% from 51% for the fall 2012 cohort to 13% for the fall 2016 cohort.

    graph of equity gaps

    9. Describe the unit’s efforts to recruit women and minority faculty (as enumerated in Table 7, “Full-time Faculty Recruitment”).

    College search committees are focused on diversity throughout the recruitment and hiring process. We are supported in these efforts by a university requirement that all search committee members complete training offered by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance. All search committee members must complete the training every two years. Additionally, the university requires diverse representation on all search committees requiring at least one woman and one underrepresented individual.

    The college has a long tradition of promoting open positions with diversity publications, posting opportunities to social groups and listservs of diversity interest groups and practicing personal outreach with women and people of color who have expertise we seek. The college has routinely posted advertisements with the following organizations for faculty positions.

    Faculty Ad Placements







    Higher Ed Jobs





    AEJMC Job Hub





    AEJMC Website





    American Advertising Federation





    American Advertising Federation Nebraska





    Public Relations Society of America





    Public Relations Society of America Nebraska





    American Marketing Association





    American Marketing Association Lincoln





    American Academy of Advertising (AAA)





    Nebraska Broadcasters Association





    National Communications Association





    Asian American Journalists Association





    Association for Women in Communication





    National Association of Black Journalists





    National Association of Hispanic Journalists





    National Press Photographers Association





    Online News Association





    Society for Professional Journalists





    Investigative Reporters and Editors





    Association for Women in Sports Media





    The college also requests that search committee members suggest additional organizations and advertisement placements that are specific to each position.

    In 2022, the college conducted a thorough assessment of diversity in our hiring process. The assessment revealed that the college does a good job of recruiting diverse candidates to apply for open faculty positions.

    However, a review of the gender, racial and ethnic diversity of our short lists and hires revealed that diverse candidates do not progress in the hiring process. At the same time the college was conducting its review, the UNL Office of Diversity and Inclusion was developing an enhanced training program and supporting website, Breakthrough Recruitment for Inclusive Diversity Growth and Excellence (BRIDGE), to share best practices in diversity recruitment. Additionally, ODI launched a Diversity Ambassador program, that provided enhanced training on diversity and inclusion in the hiring process to volunteer members of the university community. Beginning in fall 2022, units could request the assignment of a diversity ambassador to their search committees.

    In response to the college’s assessment, Dean Veil took two steps to improve our hiring process. During the Fall 2022 all-college retreat, the college had an hour-long session on thoughtfulness during the job search process, led by Gwendolyn Combs, director for faculty diversity and inclusion in the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor. The college also requested the assignment of diversity ambassadors for all faculty search committees in fall 2022.

    Fall 2022 Searches

    Diversity Ambassador

    Deepe Chair in Depth Reporting (2 Positions)

    Gwendolyn Combs, associate professor, Management

    Assistant Professor in Advertising and Public Relations or Sports Media and Communication (2 Positions)

    Stephanie Bondi, associate professor of practice, Educational Administration

    Assistant Professor of Practice in Media Production

    Amy Ort, instructional designer, Center for Transformative Teaching

    Assistant Professor of Media Law

    Stephen Wegulo, professor, Plant Pathology

    Fall 2022 searches resulted in the hire of six faculty. The demographic makeup of those hired were: one Black male, one Black female, two Asian/Pacific Islander males, one white male and one white female. The results of these hires provide an initial indication that the steps taken to improve hiring in the college had the intended effect and underrepresented candidates were included in short lists and ultimately hired in the college.

    Following the completion of the fall 2022 searches, the college’s DEI committee conducted a feedback survey of search committee members. The DEI committee plans to use the survey results, along with guidance from the BRIDGE program, to develop a best practice guide for hiring in the college. Additionally, the inclusion of diversity ambassadors on future search committees was incorporated into the college’s diversity plan.

    10. Describe the unit’s efforts to provide an environment that supports the retention, progress and success of women and minority faculty and professional staff.

    We know that interpersonal connections, college reputation and opportunities for growth and self-fulfillment are crucial in recruiting and retaining a diverse group of colleagues. To support the retention, progress and success of women and minority faculty and staff, the college has worked to create a welcoming and supportive culture that showcases our commitment to diversity and inclusion, creates greater transparency in the requirements and processes for advancement, provides flexibility to allow employees to meet their work and non-work obligations and increases salary equity across the college.

    As noted in #5 above, the college has taken several measures to improve the college climate and create a welcoming environment that celebrates the success of all. Additionally, we have taken steps to increase the visibility of our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

    In 2021, the college launched an onboarding program for faculty to create a welcoming environment for new employees. The day-long program is held the Monday before classes begin in the fall semester and provides information on university and college resources available to faculty, along with expectations and tips for success. The onboarding program also includes social interactions intended to build interpersonal connections between new faculty. A modified version of the program was launched in January 2022, for faculty with mid-year start dates. An example agenda for faculty onboarding is available here.

    In 2021-2022, the college staff worked together to outline a staff onboarding program. The plan is intended to serve as the basis for individual onboarding plans tailored to each position’s needs. The focus of the plan is to proactively welcome new staff to the college and help them build relationships with the college colleagues and campus colleagues in similar roles. To see the base plan, please click here.

    To ensure opportunities for growth in our faculty and staff, the college has worked to create greater transparency in the requirements and processes for advancement in the college. Based on feedback from faculty, the college began including contract renewal dates in annual review letters for professors of practice in 2021. This ensures that all contract faculty know where they are in their contract and their promotion cycle.

    Additionally, in the fall 2022, the college began preparing faculty appointment data sheets and distributing them at the fall all-college retreats. These data sheets provide each faculty member with individual details on their appointment dates, contract dates (if applicable), their next promotion dates, professorship expiration dates (if applicable), course load releases and other information pertinent to their employment with the college. This process ensures that faculty are fully informed about their appointment and provides an opportunity to address any discrepancies between the expectations of faculty and college leadership. The college plans to provide similar data sheets to faculty each fall.

    For staff, the Director of Business and Operations held individual meetings with each staff member in 2021-2022. These meetings reviewed each staff member’s job description, discussed career paths and ladders at UNL and reviewed the processes for promotion on campus. Each staff member was provided with a copy of their current job description, encouraged to review it and suggest updates based on their current workload.

    Associate Dean Armstrong, who started in July 2022, has focused on professional development opportunities and increasing research/creative opportunities with faculty. She has developed midterm, tenure and/or promotion workshops for college faculty to better understand the promotion process, along with monthly “Faculty Innovation and Exploration” workshops, which focus on topics of teaching, research/creative activity or diversity.

    We know that faculty often have additional obligations outside work that benefit from flexible schedules. Knowing this, the college has tried to increase flexibility for all employees. The associate deans work together to schedule classes that work for faculty. Associate Dean Wagler sends out a notification each semester to faculty requesting their teaching time and class preferences. He meets with faculty to develop practices to help them with scheduling issues and can keep full-time faculty teaching only two or three days each week. He has provided faculty with summer and mini-term teaching opportunities, along with the opportunity to teach special topics and small “pop-up” classes.

    The COVID-19 pandemic served as a catalyst for greater flexibility for staff. It demonstrated that most positions could work from alternative locations and pushed the college to equip each employee with laptops, webcams and other equipment needed to work remotely. The Director of Business and Operations works individually with staff members to create flexible work plans that meet individual needs, while considering college priorities. For example, one staff member worked remotely from Colorado Springs, Colorado, during three weeks in the summer of 2022, to spend time with her husband, who is in the military. Another staff member has used remote work and flexible hours to support her need to be present for doctors’ appointments and surgeries to address a child’s health concerns.

    The college has also worked to increase equity in faculty and staff salaries. In 2020-2021, the university launched a faculty salary initiative that provided colleges with funds to address equity concerns in faculty salaries. To support the initiative, the college was provided with additional data on faculty salaries at the university and across Big Ten Institutions. Using this data, the college conducted a thorough review of all faculty salaries.

    Unfortunately, the university-wide program was only available to tenure-track faculty. To address this discrepancy, the college first utilized university program funds to provide both equity and annual merit increases for tenure-track faculty. The college then took merit funds provided for all faculty to provide both equity and merit increases for non-tenure track faculty. To address staff equity, the college conducted a review of all staff salaries and then reallocated college held resources to provide equity increases for staff. This approach ensured that all employees benefited from the comprehensive equity review.

    11. If the unit hires adjunct or part-time faculty members, describe the unit’s effort to hire minority and female professionals into these positions (as enumerated in Table 8, “Part-time/Adjunct Faculty Recruitment”).

    Many of the adjunct faculty in the college have been with the unit for several years, often as alumni from the college who have had continued interest and expertise to share with the college. When we need to secure a new adjunct professor, the two associate deans, in conjunction with faculty content specialists, reach out to professional contacts, alums, and others for help in recruiting. The detailed process is outlined in Standard 5

    Seeking diverse candidates for our adjunct faculty pool is a priority. The two associate deans keep a running list of potential part-time faculty, stemming mainly from our alumni and guest pool. As part of the new diversity plan, outlined above, the diversity, equity and inclusion committee is creating a database of potential speakers and contacts who can work with faculty and who represent underserved and minority communities. The goal of these databases is to develop a strong list of guest lecturers and potential network of diverse instructors. When adjunct (and full-time) teaching opportunities arise, these individuals will be among those who are solicited for interest or additional contacts.

    12. Provide examples of professionals, visiting professors, and other guest speakers invited or sponsored by the unit during the past three years whose background or expertise served to introduce students to diverse perspectives. (Five examples a year are sufficient and those examples should include the name, title, subject area/expertise, race, gender of speakers to provide context. The unit has the option of providing a complete list in a separate digital file.)

    The college frequently invites a wide variety of professionals, visiting professors and other guest speakers to talk with students in classes and give public lectures. Guest speakers are spread throughout the college’s required and elective courses. They also speak at workshops to increase the cultural competency of our faculty and staff and give public lectures to benefit Nebraska citizens. Examples of speakers from the past three years include:






    Sept. 2, 2020

    Pedro Gomez

    SPMC 250 Sports Media

    MLB Baseball writer ESPN

    Hispanic Man

    Oct. 1, 2020

    Sreyoshi Bhaduri

    JGEN 200 Tech Communication

    Sreyoshi Bhaduri leads the Global People Analytics and Research division at McGraw Hill.

    Indian Woman

    Oct. 20, 2020

    Cedric F. Brown, APR

    Social Media Strategy for D&I campaigning

    PRSA Strategies and Tactics

    Black Man

    Nov. 2020

    Adrian Sanchez

    JOUR 346 Nebraska Mosaic

    Covering Latino issues for Latino American Commission

    Hispanic Man

    March 21, 2021

    Pablo Urquiza

    JOMC 191 Quienes Somos Nosotros (Who Are We)

    FC Diez Media Pablo runs the television production for a massive undertaking of hundreds of broadcasts in South America

    Hispanic Man

    Sept. 24, 2021

    Quanecia Fraser

    ADPR 221 Strategic Writing

    Reporter KETV Omaha

    Black Woman

    Oct. 8, 2021

    Marie D. De Jesús

    JOUR 306 Visual Communication Photojournalism & Multimedia

    Women in Photography: Staff Photographer of Houston Chronicle

    Latina Woman

    Oct. 9, 2021

    Damon Hack

    SPMC 150 Introduction to Sports Media

    Damon is an African American reporter and host on The Golf Channel.

    Black Man

    Oct. 15, 2021

    Khalilah LeGrand

    ADPR 350 PR Planning & Strategy

    Chief of Staff, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services

    Black Woman

    Feb. 2, 2022

    Wesley Lowery

    JOMC 222 Social Justice, Human Rights, and the Media

    Author of "They Can't Kill Us All" about Black protests

    Black Man

    Sept. 27, 2022

    Guy Harrison

    SPMC 189H Issues and Ethics in Sports

    Assistant Professor and author of "On the Sidelines" from University of Tennessee

    Black Man

    Oct. 4, 2022

    Marc J Spears

    Senior Sports Writer at Andscape and ESPN

    Reporting sports in and around the Black community

    Black Man

    Oct. 27, 2022

    Tiffany Blackmon

    SPMC 250 Beginning Sports Writing and Promotion

    ESPN sportscaster sideline reporter

    Black Woman

    Feb. 21, 2023

    Charlie Foster

    FIE: Crucial Conversations about Diversity

    Special Assistant to Vice Chancellor of DEI UNL

    Black Woman

    Aug. - Dec. 2022

    Nathan He

    Worked with Jacht as Professional in Residence

    Diversity & Inclusion Excellence Award Recipient and Assistant Director of Alumni Engagement UNL

    Asian Individual

    In 2018, the college was a founding member of a university collaborative that launched a campus-wide multicultural homecoming event. The program invites each college to bring a prominent alum from a diverse background to campus to be honored and speak with students throughout the college’s courses.

    In 2022-2023, the college selected Norberto (Rob) Ayala-Flores as its Multicultural Homecoming Honoree. Ayala-Flores was honored at a university-wide reception on Sept. 29, 2022. Additionally, he spent two days speaking with a variety of college courses. Review his itinerary here.

    The college’s Multicultural Homecoming honorees include (2018 included five):

    Additionally, the college seeks to include accomplished women, underrepresented alumni and international professionals in established college speaker programs including the Seline Lecture Series, Heart Visiting Professorship, Dick Worick Visiting Professorship and Roper Visiting Professorship. For details on college speaker programs, please see Standard 8.

    For example, the college invited Thomas Horky, professor of sport communication at Macromedia University in Hamburg, Germany, to be a Roper Visiting Professor in Sports Journalism in the fall of 2022. Horky’s expertise is in international sports journalism. He has conducted research and taught in a variety of countries including the U.S., South Africa and China.

    While serving as the Roper Visiting Professor, Horky mentored junior sports media and communication faculty on research and creative activity. Additionally, he spoke in a variety of classes and taught a class, European Sports and the Media: The 2022 Football World Cup.