Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in Communication Studies Courses

The Category I and II Faculty of Communication Studies created and endorsed the following statement on DEI on January 25, 2021, to be shared with all courses taught in COMM. Our faculty of teacher-scholars brings forth diverse topics, voices, experiences, worldviews, bodies, forms of evidence, styles of learning and communication to do the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). We promote a nuanced understanding of DEI at structural, interpersonal, organizational, institutional, and cultural levels. Diversity refers to difference, and the faculty are committed to accepting and welcoming difference in social identities. Differences across social identities, including but not limited to, race, ethnicity, class, gender, gender identity, sexuality, ability, religion, and nationality can and do create the vibrant tapestry celebrated in multicultural discourses. But social identity differences have been used to marginalize and oppress bodies, as well as silence voices and perspectives, that differ from dominant ones. Marginalization continues to strain inclusion (authentic belonging) and attempts to promote equity (justice). We recognize that students bring their identities, experiences, and levels of consciousness and prior education into our classrooms in ways that we do, and do not, plan for. We meet our students where they are and support the development of their communication skills, especially perspective-taking and active, deep, empathic listening, alongside knowledge acquisition on DEI.

Communication as practice and process is central to realizing new, more just and respectful, ways of being in social life and the wider world. Communication Studies strives to create classroom spaces safe for all to bravely share their thoughts and experiences, recognizing that going beyond superficial treatments of DEI leads to discomfort. As a faculty, we endeavor to proceed with care (compassion, caution, and support) in doing DEI work, recognizing that not only are legacies of power, privilege, and oppression brought to the classroom—but also uniqueness, dynamism, and creativity. We invite all students and the members of the MSU Denver community to join us in doing the work of justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion, through collaborative communication—debating where necessary, dialoguing where possible, but always learning along the way.