Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Comm Arts

The Department of Communication Arts strives to be a supportive and empowering place in which to learn and work. We recognize that there are historically marginalized communities at the university, and that we have the potential to perpetuate structural inequality as well as the responsibility to work against it. We are committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive climate for all students, faculty, staff, and visitors, regardless of race, religion, national origin, sexual identity, gender identity, ability, age, parental status, or any other aspect of identity. Affirming UW-Madison’s strategic diversity interests, our department endeavors to:

  • Increase access and opportunities for underrepresented students, first generation college students, and women
  • Eliminate the achievement gap between majority and underrepresented students
  • Recruit, support, and retain more diverse faculty, staff, and students, and
  • Prepare all of our students, staff and faculty to thrive personally and professionally in a world that is diverse, global, and interconnected.

Since 2018, Communication Arts has had a Diversity and Equity Committee composed of one representative from each of the four graduate areas. The Diversity and Equity Committee meets once a month, and their mission is to develop concrete strategies to improve the department’s climate while also serving as a point of contact for those with relevant questions or concerns. Specifically, this committee seeks to:

  • Gather and communicate information about issues related to diversity and equity on a regular basis
  • Provide education and training for faculty, grad students, TAs, and instructional staff about issues of diversity and equity in the curriculum and in the classroom
  • Promote efforts to recruit, support, and retain a diverse student body, and
  • Serve as a resource and liaison for those who have experienced incidents related to bias, harassment, or other issues related to diversity and equity.

The Graduate Committee is actively working on examining our program’s processes in terms of applications, admissions and retention using data from UW-Madison’s Graduate School to develop solutions for more equitable and inclusive recruitment of new and diverse graduate students (e.g. holistic admissions, fee waivers, application support, mentoring, and more). Beyond our department, we also recommend that prospective graduate students make use of the resources provided by the Graduate School (https://grad.wisc.edu/diversity/) when applying. Current graduate students should consult the activities, resources, events and workshops offered by the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Funding.

As noted in the Professional Conduct section of this handbook, we believe that it is crucial for all faculty, students, and staff to help foster an inclusive and equitable environment by recognizing the contributions and values of others, contributing helpfully to group situations, and making a positive impact on the intellectual and collegial life of the Communication Arts Department. In particular, this includes respecting diverse opinions, perspectives, and cultures, and supporting students from communities who have been historically marginalized and underrepresented in higher education.

Students should contact their area representative on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee if they have concerns or questions related to DEI, or if they have suggestions for future initiatives for the DEI committee or the department.