In an open letter to our students, posted on June 11, 2020, we made a number of commitments – including being clear about the actions we are undertaking as we try to address the very real concerns about the lack of diversity and inclusion in our program.

The changes we commit to below aim to address racism against Black, Indigenous and People of Colour as well as intolerance based on ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation and ability.

Please check back here regularly.

Plan

We will start recruiting for our newly mandated academic post – the Carty Chair in Journalism, Diversity and Inclusion Studies.

Our goal is to hire a new faculty member for this endowed chair by July 2021.

The successful applicant will create new course offerings, establish a program of research and bring a focus to the Journalism program’s efforts to foster an environment that cultivates diverse journalists and fully recognizes and engages with all members of Canadian society.

We won’t stop there – we commit to more diversity in the people we hire to teach you and work with you.

We will redesign our first-year introductory undergraduate courses and ensure they have a strong central focus on diversity and inclusion.

For example, the winter term course will be renamed “Foundations: Practising Journalism in a Diverse Society” and will be anchored firmly in the belief that real change starts with a clear understanding of how to cover communities that have long been marginalized. It will provide our first-year students with the means to approach and practice journalism from varying perspectives. We will make the same curricular changes in courses in other years of the program.

At the graduate level, we ensure our foundational courses reflect the same focus.

We will launch our new Master’s course on journalism, race and diversity in September.

We will give clear guidance to instructors to be mindful of diversity and inclusion issues in course design and delivery and in interactions with you.

To ensure we have real change in course content throughout our program, including the selection of topics, readings, assignments, examples and guest speakers, we will continually assess our curriculum and provide a Diversity and Inclusion checklist to assist instructors as they build their courses.

And to support the use of that checklist – to ensure you and your story ideas are truly heard, understood and welcomed – we will ask everyone who teaches you to participate in unconscious bias training in preparation for this coming fall and beyond.

We will make it mandatory for all of our students to complete a course in Indigenous history in order to meet our responsibilities more fully as a journalism program under the Truth and Reconciliation’s Call to Action 86.

Several years ago, we created one course that probes the historical and present-day relationship between journalists and Indigenous peoples in Canada and another that took students to Indigenous communities in Canada’s North. We made a calendar change to add an option from Indigenous Studies to our required history credit. But we know there’s more to it than optional offerings. That is why we will commit to this more fundamental change.

We will continue to support the work of the Journalism program’s student-led Association for Equity and Inclusion in Journalism as well as its efforts to engage with all of you.

In 2019, after discussions with current and former students, we hired an expert journalist with lived experience to conduct a consultation with our faculty and staff on issues of diversity. This expert then organized a “story circle” for students to share their experiences in our program and suggest changes.

Out of that process emerged the student-led group, which includes faculty members as liaisons (the group adopted the name Association for Equity and Inclusion in Journalism in August 2020). The group gathered and presented student concerns to us, along with specific recommendations for how we could make progress. It began examining how students could comfortably raise their complaints and have them addressed. It offered to provide feedback to us as we worked to improve the scope of our teaching practices and materials.

With financial support from the Journalism program and the Faculty of Public Affairs (FPA), the Committee scheduled a second story circle – this one to bring students and instructors face-to-face so that we could listen to the hard truths and then together explore ways of making our program better. This initiative was cut short by COVID-19, as was the committee’s planned public event that would have brought in journalists of colour and from other marginalized groups to discuss challenges in modern newsrooms.

The committee plans to hold the story circle online in August, 2020. It also hopes to mount further online programming, and will reschedule the journalists’ panel in the fall term.

Progress

August 27, 2020: Unconscious bias training sessions held

Facilitated by Lisa Khoo, faculty, staff and contract instructors received professional training on how to overcome unconscious bias. These discussion-based sessions looked at how implicit bias is formed and how it can affect our work and workplace. Attendees were also given tools and training on how to counter such biases.

August 24, 2020: Student-faculty story circle held

Facilitated by Anita Li and organized by the student-led Association for Equity and Inclusion in Journalism, the story circle brought journalism students and faculty members together to share their experiences and talk about how the program and university can improve anti-racism efforts in journalism education.

August 17, 2020: Call for applications for Carty Chair in Journalism, Diversity and Inclusion Studies posted

The Journalism Program issued a public call for applications for the Carty Chair in Journalism, Diversity and Inclusion Studies. Consideration of complete applications will begin November 20, 2020 and the start date for the successful candidate will be July 1, 2021.

 

August 15, 2020: Updated version of the Equity Checklist is posted

As part of our plan to ensure lasting change in course content throughout our program, including the selection of topics, readings, assignments, examples and guest speakers, we committed to the creation of a checklist to assist instructors as they build their courses. This is a living document that will be updated as necessary.

Download the Equity Checklist for Journalism Courses Fall 2020 / Winter 2021 here.

August 4, 2020: Permanent Working Group on Anti-Racism and Inclusion finalizes official mandate

Carleton’s Journalism Program is committed to creating a welcoming, stimulating, professional and creative environment for our increasingly diverse student body. We are committed to eliminating racism against Racialized and Indigenous people as well as inequities or other barriers based on ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender expression, sexual orientation or ability. We hope our program’s commitment to anti-racism and anti-oppression practices will benefit all of our students while they are here and that it will foster a wider culture of equity and inclusion in newsrooms of the future as they respond to and report on an increasingly diverse society.

The Permanent Working Group was established in order to help keep the Journalism school on track with structural changes that aim to make the school a safe and welcoming environment for all students. The group also provides specific direction and advice to the Journalism Program Committee and Program Head on matters pertaining to equity and inclusion. Students wishing to propose programmatic ideas or who have concerns may contact us directly here. Students with complaints may direct them to the Department of Equity and Inclusive Communities.

June 26, 2020: Permanent Working Group on Anti-Racism and Inclusion is established

The Journalism Program’s new Permanent Working Group on Anti-Racism and Inclusion includes faculty members as well as an external advisor who is a racialized journalist. It is chaired by the longest-serving faculty liaison with the student Equity and Inclusion Committee. The chair also represents the Working Group on the Journalism Program’s Program Committee, which functions much like the federal cabinet. It is a crucial change in program governance and among other things will ensure the initiatives we have committed to in our plan of action will be carried out in a timely and thoughtful way.