Associate professor of broadcasting Trina Creighton will retire from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln on August 20, 2021.
Her commitment to her students and her passion and devotion to diversity, equity and inclusion are values that Trina Creighton brought to the classroom during her time at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications.
Creighton is a broadcast journalist turned college professor. She began her broadcast career at one of the first black-owned and operated community radio stations in the country, KBBG Radio in Waterloo, Iowa. Creighton went on to work at KRNT Radio, WHO-Radio, then WHO-television as an anchor/reporter in Des Moines, Iowa.
She brings years of experience as a television news anchor/reporter/producer, radio announcer and news director. When she and her family moved to Omaha, she kept her position as an anchor/reporter at an NBC affiliate. Then in 2001, Creighton came to the College of Journalism and Mass Communications to teach broadcasting courses.
As part of her thesis for the Master of Science in Leadership Development, Creighton produced a half-hour video documentary called “The Academic Achievement Gap: We Do Better When We Know Better.” The documentary helped to illustrate the theme of her research: barriers holding back black adolescent males from higher education. She has shown the documentary at more than 100 venues.
Throughout her time at CoJMC, Creighton has taught courses in broadcast management, videography, broadcast writing and broadcast performance as well as the class that produced Star City News, the college’s former news broadcast.
In 2019, Creighton was asked to take on a leadership role as part of UNL’s N150 initiatives. The university also named her one of six Faculty Diversity and Inclusion Fellows. Working on a variety of university committees focused on improving the racial climate is what first renewed Creighton’s passion for working on diversity issues across campus.
Creighton has been teaching broadcast performance courses for almost 20 years, but her most recent focus has been teaching 200-250 students a semester in her classes Social Justice, Human Rights and the Media and Race, Gender and the Media.
To Creighton, her social justice course is about helping her students see where they can fit in to make a better society. She said she feels fulfilled in her teaching role when she hears them talking about being better citizens.
Creighton brought her passion closer to home and took over as chair of the College of Journalism and Mass Communication’s diversity equity and inclusion committee. The committee makes recommendations for ensuring diverse representation in the college’s faculty, staff and students, developing a culture of inclusion in the college and ensuring diversity and inclusion issues are infused throughout the curriculum.
In Creighton’s first year as chair, the committee partnered with Jacht, the college’s student-run advertising agency and the Public Relations Student Society of America Nebraska Chapter to develop a diversity and inclusion toolkit. The toolkit is intended to assist the University of Nebraska-Lincoln students, staff and faculty in forming an environment that is welcoming and inclusive for all. It includes guides on campus databases, helpful resources, local dining options and more.
Creighton took her plans a step even further and applied them to the CoJMC faculty space. After the murder of George Floyd, she felt like she became a new person. Growing up she was always taught that it wasn’t her place to talk about race with white people, but after watching something so tragic and horrendous she knew she could no longer “stay in her place”.
She reached out to former interim Dean Amy Struthers and Dean Shari Veil about facilitating a conversation about race with her colleagues. It was a conversation that hadn’t taken place in her 19 years of being at the college and it was time.
Struthers and Veil wholeheartedly agreed and the first book club among CoJMC faculty and staff took place a few weeks later. The group’s first discussion was over the book “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism” by Robin DiAngelo.
“I’m so grateful I was able to listen to Trina’s experiences with diversity, equity, inclusion and the Black Lives Matter movement,” CoJMC’s assistant director of advising Andrea Gaghagen said, “Participating in the Caste book discussions she led were an incredibly valuable step in my ongoing journey to becoming a better ally.”
After completing her Cornell certificate on diversity and inclusion this March, Creighton set new goals for the college that are already being met. Her work as chair of the college’s diversity equity and inclusion committee included developing a Promising Professors program that will identify underrepresented individuals with the potential to be future faculty and staff and then provide mentoring and support as they transition into academia.
Creighton inspired countless students with her passion, drive and demand for what is right. She inspired faculty and staff across UNL’s campus to live their truth and to confront their biases.
“Trina rallied for me, she believed in me and I’m working my dream job because of her,” Former student Sydney Boyd said, “I truly owe all of my success to her, thank you for believing in me when I had stopped believing in myself, Trina.”