COMM Statement of Commitment

Department of Communication Statement of Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Department of Communication fully supports the mission of the Office for Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) at the University of Connecticut. The Department of Communication adapts ODI’s mission statement and expresses a commitment to:   ​

  • Advocate for social justice, access, equity, and inclusion of all persons of the Department of Communication, including faculty, staff, and students. ​
  • Welcome and celebrate the experiences of individuals, regardless of background, through innovative teaching, research, advising, outreach, and community involvement.​
  • Acknowledge structural racism and transform departmental climate to build a more welcoming and inclusive community.​

The Department commits to reflect upon, acknowledge, and address areas of improvement by identifying specific actions that will promote and sustain key human values, including compassion, empathy, and respect.

The Department of Communication acknowledges that systemic and institutionalized oppression both within the academy and on a larger (inter)national level impedes the success, equal treatment, and rights of certain communities. A diverse and inclusive environment where all individuals’ voices are uplifted benefits everyone and is the foundation for academic growth and understanding​. The Department recognizes the importance of being clear about the things we do not tolerate. As such, the Department is committed to teaching, programming, and research that is anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-homophobic, anti-transphobic, and anti-ableist, and inclusive of individuals of all learning abilities, religions, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

The Department recognizes that statements without actions are meaningless and commits to making our department a safe space for individuals of all backgrounds. The Department will work to eradicate practices that uphold structures of oppression and marginalization in the academy and beyond. Passive approaches will not change the status quo, and the Department will take active steps to address issues in our department and the university more broadly, on an ongoing basis.

The Department of Communication established a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force to assist in addressing these aims. The DEI Task Force is focused on creating a more equitable and inclusive department environment. More specifically, the DEI Task Force is charged with developing specific policies, practices, and goals related to:

Teaching: Decolonializing course syllabi by ensuring all courses represent a diversity of voices, topics, and methodologies, and by proactively including work by BIPOC and transnational scholars;

Research: Promoting research that recognizes the experiences of underrepresented groups, moves beyond white and WEIRD samples[1], seeks to empower marginalized people on editorial boards, peer review practices, and grant committees, and considers citation practices that acknowledge diverse scholarship in the field and beyond[2],[3];

Advising and Outreach: Diversifying our speaker series, ensuring representation on advising panels, providing spaces (e.g., town halls and forums, regular assessments) for dialogue about issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion;

Community Involvement: Supporting local BIPOC-owned businesses, organizations doing social justice work, active efforts to promote work-life balance, and larger campus efforts (including student groups) to promote the overall health and wellbeing of underrepresented groups;

Recruitment and Retention: Ensuring diversity and equity in the hiring and recruitment of students, staff, and faculty by seeking hiring resources to address inequities in our department, pursuing financial support opportunities for graduate students, addressing and eradicating bias from the hiring and admission process, and providing support and mentoring for members of underrepresented groups.

Because this is an ongoing effort, the Department of Communication will continue to add information to this page and the associated tabs as plans develop.


[1] Afifi, W. A., & Cornejo, M. (2020). #CommSoWEIRD: The question of sample representativeness in interpersonal communication research. In M.L. Doerfel & J.L. Gibbs (Eds.), Organizing Inclusion (pp. 238-259). Routledge.

[2] Doerfel, M.L., & Gibbs, J.L. (Eds.) (2020). Organizing Inclusion. Routledge.

[3] Chakravartty, P., Kuo, R., Grubbs, V., & McIlwain, C. (2018). #CommunicationSoWhite. Journal of Communication, 68(2), 254-266.