The following report contains an update to the Open Letter to Journalism Students & Alumni, published in July 2020, in response to calls to action issued by students and alumni and in relation to equity work underway at the University. The update, prepared by Director of the School of Journalism Tim Currie, on behalf of Faculty of the School of Journalism, outlines progress made during the 2020-21 academic year.
On June 15, 2020, students and alumni of the University of King’s College issued a call for the School of Journalism to develop an action plan for more diversity and inclusion in the School’s student population, curriculum, faculty makeup and support of students who identify as Black, Indigenous and People of Colour.
On July 6, 2020, the School published its Open Letter to Journalism Students & Alumni. This document was developed in response both to the calls to action and in relation to equity work underway at the University. It committed the School to a series of initiatives in the 2020-21 academic year, and beyond, and to report publicly on its progress in a year.
The following is the School’s report for 2020-21. (The content of the 2020 Open Letter is in black text. The School’s update on its response is outlined in blue.)
Concerning its curriculum the School will:
An additional learning objective was added to JOUR 1002 Foundations of Journalism 1 on journalism’s relationship to power structures. This was addressed at multiple points in the course, specifically in “Week 4: How journalism disrupts and upholds power systems.”
Instruction was expanded in JOUR 1002 and 1003 in the following classes:
A review of these courses is occurring as part of a broader curriculum review in summer 2021.
These three courses were revised substantially in late summer 2020. A new instructor was hired, and a broader range of voices introduced. New topics added to JOUR 5701/6709 included:
With the successful launch of JOUR 3576 Reporting in Mi’kma’ki in spring 2021, the School will begin exploring possibilities for this course in 2021-22. (The initial launch of JOUR 3576 was cancelled in spring 2020 due to COVID-related disruptions.)
The University of King’s College and Dalhousie University, in consultation with Universities Studying Slavery, has postponed the International Universities Studying Slavery Conference to 2023.
An alternative to the symposium in 2021-22 is being explored.
This course was re-focused to involve more guest speakers from outside journalism with the goal of offering important context about Nova Scotia’s communities. Guest speakers in 2020-21 included:
New faculty member Prof. Brian Daly (see below) will teach this course in 2021-22.
With the return to in-person teaching planned for the 2021-22, new faculty member Trina Roache (see below) will deliver three classes in JOUR 1002 and JOUR 1003 Foundations of Journalism on the history of Indigenous communities in the Atlantic region, as it relates to the practice of journalism. As well, new faculty member Brian Daly (see below) will discuss reporting on diverse communities.
This exercise was not available online through the Dalhousie Elders in Residence program during this COVID year. Its return is anticipated for 2021-22.
Concerning Faculty, the School will:
The School filled the Rogers Chair with the full-time hire of Prof. Trina Roache, an accomplished journalist who comes to King’s from a long career at APTN & CBC. As a (recent) part-time instructor at King’s, Prof. Roache was instrumental in the launch of JOUR 3676 Reporting in Mi’kma’ki and co-developed the syllabus for online delivery in 2021. She will teach core reporting courses in all three programs this year, with a focus on video.
In 2020-21, Journalism School Faculty participated in the following School-initiated sessions:
This occurred informally with remote learning in 2020-21. More robust discussions are planned with the resumption of in-person learning in 2021-22.
Among other initiatives, individual faculty members made efforts this year to involve more journalists of colour as guests and collaborators in the classroom. For example, Prof. Fred Vallance-Jones invited Clifford Paul into his research-focused courses JOUR 3004 and JOUR 5151/6151 to talk about researching and reporting in Mi’kmaw communities. Other faculty members involved guests in similar roles.
The School acknowledges strengthening diversity and inclusion within its faculty and curriculum requires ongoing work. It pledges to build on these efforts in 2021-22 and report them publicly.
Tim Currie, Director
On behalf of Faculty of the School of Journalism