Dean's Message

From the Dean: June 2020

The long-standing mission of the College of Communications has been to advance a democratic society. Yet, a truly democratic society is not possible unless there is social justice. And because race and society are inextricably interwoven, social justice is not possible without racial justice.

I believe without equivocation that Black Lives Matter and that racism is unacceptable. I believe that the Black Lives Matter movement has crystallized with renewed urgency long-overdue attention to racism, not only individual and interpersonal, but also institutional and structural. I believe that institutional and structural (i.e., systemic) racism affects everyone in society, however differentially.

I believe also that members of our College can take collective, corrective action against systemic racism in four areas – curriculum, pedagogy, service, and scholarship – while grounding these efforts in our whole and intersectional selves.

If our College mission is truly about “preparing communicators to advance a democratic society,” then it’s not enough to prepare our students for the status quo. We need to change the status quo for our students.

If our collective commitment is truly to “advance a democratic society,” then it’s not enough to be a leading college of communications within the current academic system. We need to lead the necessary transformation of the academic system into one that reflects racial justice and social equity.

Any change is hard; systemic change will require both continual personal reflection and sustained community conversation. I invite y’all to travel with me on this non-linear journey of education, reflection, discussion, and action.

I’ve shared with all faculty and staff some educational resourcesPDF File , research on the higher education systemPDF File , and reflection questionsPDF File , so that we can engage collectively in self-education and self-reflection, once we come back together in the fall.

In the meantime, if you have thoughts to share over the summer, I am holding calendar time, mental space, and emotional energy to welcome your inputs with gratitude.

Bey-Ling Sha, Ph.D., APR
Dean