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College of Information and Communications

Accomplishments in the 2020-2021 academic year

By the Numbers

First academic unit on campus to complete a college strategic plan based on the university’s new strategic plan priority #4

Students, faculty, staff and others who registered for the USC Office of DEI, CIC sponsored Pulitzer Prize-winner Nikole Hannah Jones keynote address for the CIC DEI Research Symposium and SJMC Media and Civil Rights History Symposium moderated by ISchool’s Augusta Baker Chair Nicole Cooke and Civil Rights Center Director Bobby Donaldson

New cluster hires to increase faculty diversity in the CIC

USC’s first Graduate School Rising Star Fellowship awarded to the CIC to support its first enrolled graduate student under the auspices of the 4+1 MOA with Claflin University. The CIC launches the university’s first fully funded dual degree, pipeline program to increase student diversity in graduate programs

First two CIC Inclusive Excellence Awards presented to Valerie Byrd-Fort and David Moscowitz

First climate survey conducted in the CIC

Percentage of students, faculty and staff climate survey respondents who think CIC leaders consider diversity and inclusiveness as extremely important 

Percentage who think the CIC is supportive of fostering a culture of diversity and inclusiveness

CIC hosted the university’s first campus-wide virtual faculty diversity search committee training 

These highlights are in addition to ongoing college DEI efforts that include the ISchool’s new EDI programming through its Social Impact Committee, the well-established Diversity Leadership Board meetings, Laboratory for Leadership for Equity and Diversity (LLEAD), Augusta Baker Endowed Chair Lecture, CIC Brown Bag Luncheon Series, Dean’s Dive-In Lunch and Lead, ad hoc talks and guests, and new virtual forums introduced during the pandemic. 


The following table provides a snapshot of composition within the college. Our DEI strategic plan seeks to make progress in many areas, but an important one includes composition. Please share with me any questions or concerns (or suggestions) about composition. 


We seek to create a diverse, inclusive and aware college with a set of systematic activities. Each activity is evaluated for improvement or continuation each year. 

New Activities Last Year

The pandemic disrupted the regular and new CIC DEI initiatives. However, we were able hold new and continuing programming as follows. 

  • Collaborated with Kim Thompson, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs to present the CIC’s second forum on Diversity in the CIC classroom featuring panelists from SJMC and the ISchool
  • Partnered with the Center for Teaching Effectiveness to present an interdisciplinary panel discussion on diversity across the curriculum, planned and facilitated by Laura Smith
  • Partnered with Brooke McKeever, Associate Dean for Research, Ken Campbell, Director, SJMC Media and Civil Rights Center, and Nicole Cooke, Augusta Baker Endowed Chair, to submit a proposal to establish a CIC Racial Justice and Equity Media, Information & Technology Research Summit at USC, under the auspices of the USC Office of Research and Office for Diversity, Equity Inclusion (not funded)
  • Held formal signing ceremony to launch the USC and Claflin University Memorandum of Agreement, between the CIC and Claflin’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
  • Launched a national search for three cluster positions for faculty whose research explores race and ethnicity at the intersection of data, media and society. We ultimately hired four outstanding new faculty members—3 in SJMC and 1 ISchool to improve the CIC’s diversity composition from 11% to 15%. The College ranks fourth among 13 colleges and schools at USC for faculty diversity, behind only Nursing, Education, and Social Work.
  • Collaborated with Kim Thompson to conduct the CIC climate survey, funded by the provost’s office. The survey findings indicate that students, staff and faculty satisfaction with college DEI efforts, while confirming our resolve to do more.
  • The student chapter of the NABJ at USC, under the advisement of Assistant Dean for Student Services Rushondra James, was named a finalist for NABJ student chapter of the year.
  • Hosted a virtual university-wide faculty search committee training workshop to facilitate inclusive searches, attracting 100 participants.
  • Hosted Nikole Hannah-Jones as the joint keynote speaker for the 2021 SJMC Media and Civil Rights History Symposium and the CIC Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Research Symposium, funded by the USC Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the CIC.
  • Completed the CIC strategic plan for diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Appointed to serve on the Faculty Senate’s ad hoc Committee of 9 (+5) and the Faculty Senate task force on freedom of expression.
  • Appointed by the Provost Office to serve as a facilitator and institutional representative for the newly launched SEC Emerging Scholars Program 

New goals and continuing activities planned for 2021-2022

  • Represent the CIC on the University’s Council of Academic Diversity Officers (CADO), working with the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and inclusion. This includes the CADO-CTE support for the TTIE certificate program.
  • Student Dive-In lunches on various topics
  • CIC Inclusive Excellence Advisory Council Meetings
  • ISchool 50th Anniversary Commemorative Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Research Symposium
  • CIC Inclusive Excellence Graduate School Open House
  • DEI climate survey and other training as needed
  • Seek funding to support continuing and new DEI initiatives
  • Continue creating pipeline programs and partnerships with all HBCUs in South Carolina.
  • Facilitating climate survey and workplace civility training, if feasible
  • Create a Leadership Program for Women and People of Color (Academy, Symposium, Institute, Summit, TBD) 


We’re keeping busy. Again, please contact me with any suggestions or questions as this is a team effort. 

Note: I’m cataloging all diversity, equity and inclusion activities for accreditation and to track progress toward our goals, so please keep me informed of any planned events or speakers, along with a brief description and the number of students/faculty/staff attending. Thank you. 

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.