By the Numbers: Aim 6: Attract and retain diverse faculty, staff and students committed to our values of hard work and collaborative problem-solving

Sunday, July 30, 2023 - 7:00am

Summary of Activities

Attracting and retaining a diverse faculty, staff, and student body committed to our values of hard work and collaborative problem-solving is a top priority for our college. To achieve this goal, we have undertaken several initiatives and programs that promote diversity and inclusion.

In August, after assessing our faculty hiring process, we discovered that despite attracting diverse applicants for open faculty positions, they were not progressing to our shortlists or being ultimately hired. To address this issue, Dean Veil took action and invited Gwendolyn Combs, the director of faculty diversity and inclusion from the UNL Office of Diversity and Inclusion, to conduct comprehensive diversity training during the fall 2022 all-college retreat. Additionally, we enhanced our faculty search committees by introducing diversity ambassadors, who are campus community members with specialized training in diversity matters. These initiatives had a positive impact, leading to four out of six faculty hires coming from underrepresented groups during the 2022-2023 hiring cycle.

During the 2022-2023 academic year, the college prioritized diversity, equity, and inclusion training for both faculty and staff. We organized two impactful Faculty Innovation and Exploration workshops centered around diversity, titled "Crucial Conversations about Diversity" and "A Roundtable on Classroom Diversity." Additionally, we held two enlightening staff lunch and learns focusing on diversity-related topics. On August 18, 2022, Tony Sattler, EVP and director of experience and insights at Swanson Russell, delivered a talk on intergenerational communication. On February 20, 2023, Pete Ferguson, coordinator of culture, inclusion, and scholar development for Lincoln Public Schools, presented a talk on cross-cultural communication. These initiatives aimed to foster a more inclusive and understanding campus community.

In the fall of 2022, the college implemented a new requirement for all students to complete JOMC 222 Social Justice, Human Rights, and the Media. This course, which had already existed, became mandatory following its approval in 2021-2022. Alongside this requirement, we continued to offer several other courses focusing on diversity and inclusion, including JOMC 422 Race, Gender, and Media, JOMC 492 European Sports and Media: The Football World Cup, JOUR 346 Nebraska Mosaic, and ADPR 437 International/Multicultural Public Relations. These additional courses complemented our commitment to fostering an inclusive and socially conscious learning environment.

After conducting a thorough review involving faculty, students and alumni during 2021-2022, the college successfully relaunched the Global Eyewitness program. This program now adopts a solutions journalism approach to share stories from underrepresented communities. In the fall of 2022, participating students embarked on a meaningful journey to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Looking ahead, program leaders Chris Graves and Shoun Hill are actively planning for an upcoming travel opportunity to Vietnam in 2023-2024, aiming to reestablish the program's international scope and impact.

Aside from the preparations for the Vietnam trip, the college also facilitated two enriching study-abroad experiences for students during the summer of 2023. One of these opportunities was a course, JOMC 491/891 Spain: Global Sports, Media, and Entertainment, led by John Shrader, which allowed students to explore Spain's dynamic media and entertainment landscape in a global sports context. The other study-abroad program, "England: The Monarchy and the Media," was co-led by Kelli Boling and Kelli Britten, offering students an immersive journey to the United Kingdom to examine the intersection of media and the monarchy. These study-abroad opportunities gave students valuable cultural insights and diverse perspectives on media and society.

The college made significant strides in expanding its efforts to promote diversity and inclusivity among its student body during the 2022-2023 academic year. To achieve this goal, the college collaborated with community organizations serving underrepresented students, hosting tours and workshops to provide valuable insights into the college experience.

One such collaboration involved Upward Bound, a federally funded program that supports students from low-income families in their journey toward college entrance. The college organized workshops on June 16, 28, and 29 to offer tutoring and other essential services, empowering these students to achieve their academic aspirations.

The college also partnered with Girls, Inc., an organization that empowers young women through diverse programs and experiences. A special summer camp for Girls, Inc. took place from July 10-13, providing a nurturing environment to foster personal growth and development.

Another partnership involved Junior Achievement, a global nonprofit organization that prepares young individuals for success in the global economy through entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and work readiness programs. The college hosted Junior Achievement students in Andersen Hall on Feb. 14, Feb. 28, and April 5, 2023, inspiring and equipping them for future success.

Youth Leadership Lincoln, a local program aimed at nurturing and empowering young leaders in the Lincoln community, held its 2022-2023 conference on March 24, 2023. The college actively supported this initiative to foster leadership skills and community engagement.

Additionally, the college worked diligently to reestablish its partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Lincoln, a non-profit organization providing a safe and supportive space for children and teenagers. The college plans to host additional workshops with the Boys and Girls Club during fall 2023, further strengthening their collaborative efforts.

In pursuit of promoting digital storytelling, the college received a grant from the Cooper Foundation to launch an afterschool program at Bay High, a Lincoln Public Schools focus program. Associate Professor of Practice Alan Eno and Assistant Director of Recruitment Alex Fernando co-developed a yearlong, two-day-a-week program that offers Bay High students workshops led by CoJMC faculty and student ambassadors. The students are encouraged to create content for publication by Rabble Media, enhancing their storytelling skills and creativity. Moreover, the college collaborated with the UNL Office of Admissions to provide workshops on college applications tailored specifically for Bay High students, promoting access to higher education and fostering an inclusive learning community.

In June 2023, the college hosted two Summer Camps organized by 4-H Big Red Camps. One of these camps, the Discover Digital Media Summer Camp, now in its fourth year, drew in eight talented students. They passionately crafted captivating stories about prominent Lincoln attractions such as the Children's Museum, the Outdoor Adventure Center, and various construction projects at UNL. A new camp, the Discover Esports Summer Camp, debuted this year. Seven students eagerly participated in this unique experience, where they organized and hosted an exciting Super Smash Brothers esports tournament. These camps provided valuable opportunities for students to explore their interests and talents while fostering creativity and camaraderie within the college community.

The college implemented several initiatives to bolster student success. In the fall of 2022, it secured an Academic Navigator, made possible through a university grant shared between CoJMC, the College of Architecture, and the Hixon-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts. The college appointed Alisa Smith as the new advising director, with her role commencing on July 1, 2023. Additionally, starting in the spring of 2023, the college initiated a pilot program for a course outlier dashboard. This dashboard, integrated with Canvas, identifies students whose current grades are more than 50% below the course average. Utilizing this data, the Academic Navigator proactively reaches out to students, offering individualized academic support and facilitating connections to campus resources.

Faculty members continued to support students by publishing course materials on Canvas and providing timely feedback by the fourth week of classes. In fall 2022, 100% of courses were published, and 97.3% received feedback by week four. The commitment to timely course publication and feedback continued into Spring 2023, with 100% of courses published and 96.0% receiving feedback by week four. These initiatives aim to create a nurturing and supportive academic environment, empowering students to thrive in their studies and achieve their goals.

The college continued efforts to tell stories about underrepresented communities through Experience Lab programs and enhance the visibility of diversity and inclusion. The Nebraska News Service, in particular, has demonstrated a commitment to supporting and telling the stories of underrepresented communities in the state. Student journalists have shed light on the rich heritage and challenges faced by Nebraska's Winnebago Tribe, covered the vibrant community of Lincoln's Everett neighborhood, promoted the successes and struggles of minority-owned businesses, and provided Ukrainian refugees a platform to share their unique journeys. By actively engaging with and uplifting these underrepresented communities, the Nebraska News Service has played a crucial role in fostering a more informed and empathetic society, promoting understanding and solidarity among all Nebraskans.

Reporting examples

During the 2022-23 academic year, more than half of Buoy’s work involved community partners focusing on serving underrepresented communities or those otherwise in need of help. Such projects included outreach and engagement for economically disadvantaged families struggling to fulfill basic needs, neurodivergent people of all ages and backgrounds (including prisoners), individuals with physical disabilities, rural children with inadequate community health resources, mothers with limited means to provide adequate postnatal care for their newborns, and families struggling with a terminal or severe chronic illness.

During the fall of 2022, the college celebrated the 2022 Multicultural Homecoming by hosting Roberto Ayala Flores, the esteemed founder of Puente Marketing, as the Distinguished Alumni. Engaging faculty and staff in meaningful discussions, the CoJMC Book Club explored two books on diversity: "Community as Rebellion" in the fall and "Real Queer America" in the spring.

The college also proudly organized the second edition of the Bailey Lauerman Design Diversity Challenge, allowing students to create a mural that celebrates diversity to be displayed in Andersen Hall. The outstanding mural designed by Diane Choi and Emerson McClure was installed on the third floor of Andersen Hall in May 2023.

Furthermore, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee thoroughly reviewed all the wall quotes adorning Andersen Hall. This review identified several problematic quotes, either due to their content or the speaker's character. As a result, the college acted and removed these quotes from the building during the spring of 2023. These efforts signify the college's commitment to promoting a welcoming and inclusive environment that fosters diversity and embraces all members of its community.

Review of the Targets





25-26 (goal)

70% of faculty and staff will be enrolled in or have completed diversity, equity and inclusion training[i]





90% of faculty will be utilizing Canvas for course management and grading[ii]





Increase enrollment of students from underrepresented ethnic/racial groups by 7% (blk, Hispanic, two or more)[iii]





 Increase enrollment of international students by 10%[iv]





Increase enrollment of students in study abroad programs by 10%[v]





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%[vi]





Increase the number of first-generation who apply to the college by 10%[vii]





Increase the number of underrepresented students who apply to the college by 10%[viii]





Increase the number of underrepresented faculty and staff candidates in short lists by 10%[ix]






The number of students from underrepresented groups declined by 1.3% between fall 2021 and fall 2022. This mirrors the trend at the campus level, which also declined from 6,445 underrepresented students in fall 2021 to 6,377 in fall 2022, a decline of 1%.

The college also decreased international student enrollment by 15%, dropping from 39 in fall 2021 to 33 in fall 2022. While the university has experienced declines in international enrollment for several years, it experienced an increase, growing from 1,816 international students in the fall of 2021 to 1,996 in the fall of 2022.

The university doesn’t maintain comprehensive data on participation in student organizations. Beginning 2023-2024, the college will use the Senior Exit Survey to gauge participation in student involvement opportunities by students.

The Husker Power Survey records concerns of first-year students that may indicate their risk of being retained at UNL. A decrease in the number of concerns reported improves the scores. The college saw a significant decrease, 35.5%, between the fall of 2021 and the fall of 2022. Please note that Hispanic students reported more issues than other underrepresented groups.

Racial/Ethnic Group

Concerns Reported



Black or African American




Two or more races


U.S. Nonresident


Unknown race and ethnicity




Grand Total



While the college saw a decline in the average number of underrepresented candidates in search shortlists, the college's efforts detailed above resulted in hiring four underrepresented candidates across six searches.

Review of the Strategies

Task Name



Create spaces to experiment with cutting-edge technology and innovations in the delivery of media to prepare students for dynamic careers



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



Require all faculty to utilize Canvas for course management and grade reporting



 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



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



Attract and retain diverse faculty, staff and students committed to our values of hard work and collaborative problem-solving



Expand recruiting efforts for international students



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



Maintain undergraduate advising loads at or below the NACADA recommendation of 285:1 to allow for proactive advising and stronger relationship development



Expand the JOMC 100 Mentorship Program by integrating the HS/Ambassador mentor pairs



Explore partner programs with universities in other countries




[i] Percent is determined by dividing the total number of full-time faculty by the number of faculty who have completed the Summer Institute for Online Teaching. Instructional Designer Amy Ort provides data on the completion of the SIOT.

[ii] Data is from the Undergraduate Analytics Canvas Course Metric #3 dashboard available in Tableau.

[iii] Data is from the Total Headcount Enrollment by College, Major, Degree, Ethnicity and Gender for Fall 2022 report available in Tableau.

[iv] Data is from the Total Headcount Enrollment by College, Major, Degree, Ethnicity and Gender for Fall 2022 report available in Tableau.

[v] Data is provided by the Office of Education Abroad.

[vi] Data is from the Fourth Week Survey Results dashboard available in Tableau.

[vii] Data is from the Special Populations Funnel Report available in Tableau.

[viii] Data is from the Special Populations Funnel Report available in Tableau.

[ix] Data is provided by the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance. The number represents the average number of underrepresented candidates in search short lists.