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Stony Brook University School of Communication and Journalism

(Voted on and approved by the faculty on April 30, 2021)

The School of Communication and Journalism at Stony Brook University, the only such school in the SUNY system of 64 colleges and universities, was created with the mission of becoming a center for excellence in training and preparation of the future generations of journalists and communicators.

In its fifteen years of life, dating to the launch of the School of Journalism in 2006, the school has witnessed complex social changes. The SoCJ has strived to embrace diversity, promote tolerance, and become a window into a field that has been historically unreachable to immigrants, minorities, people of color, disabled, neurodiverse and non-cis sections of our populations and that has hindered women from reaching their full potential. As its mission is to help shape the future of a profession that will operate in a nation even more diverse than it is today, the School has advocated, and will continue to advocate for the expansion of newsrooms and the communication field to its graduates. Among current students, as of Fall 2020, 58 percent were identified as women, and 54 percent have identified as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). Many also identify in non-normative ways. This commitment serves a twofold purpose: to consolidate the School's reputation as a center for excellence in training and preparation of the future generations of journalists and communicators; and to reverse some of the damage that a lack of equal representation and of diverse points of view in the news has caused to our profession and, consequently, to our society.

This foundational mission remains vital to the SoCJ. Its faculty, students and administrators understand that diverse newsrooms and a diverse communications field can help better shape the ideas the public has about the United States and the representations that circulate in the media, academic work and our society. We embrace and welcome a fast-growing BIPOC, non-cis, neurodiverse and disabled population.

The SoCJ endorses SUNY's aspiration, as expressed in the 2015 SUNY Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Policy, to become the "most inclusive State University system in the country," by ensuring that "the student population we serve and the administrative staff and faculty we employ are representative of the diversity of our state... " Following SUNY's statement, the SoCJ "will identify diversity, equity and inclusion as essential aspects of system and campus planning and as indispensable characteristics of academic excellence and the ongoing experiences of every member of the SUNY community." (

The SoCJ will consolidate its mission and responsibility towards BIPOC, non-cis, neurodiverse, disabled and other underrepresented members of our community and toward women's aspirations for full equity and inclusion, by reflecting their interests, experiences and aspirations in its curricular design; by recruiting and retaining faculty and students of diverse ethnic, cultural, national and socioeconomic backgrounds; and by creating the instruments needed to achieve the mission of all ethical communicators: to serve the greater public interest in our increasingly interconnected world.

Plan for Increasing Diversity of Faculty and Staff

Just like any organization that takes diversity seriously, the SoCJ aims to achieve a faculty composition that reflects the diverse makeup of the population it serves. To consolidate this goal, the SoCJ five-year plan proposes to:

  • Maintain a Diversity Committee to oversee programs and plans that address issues relevant to a diverse faculty, staff and student body. The committee will report on diversity issues at faculty meetings at least twice per academic year.
  • Remain committed to our tenure requirement that faculty must "enrich diversity in university life."
  • Adhere to all non-discrimination federal and state laws and university policies.
  • Include women, students of BIPOC backgrounds and members of other historically underrepresented groups on search committees.
  • Continue to follow rubrics for faculty and staff searches that emphasize a commitment to diversity.
  • Advertise job openings in publications and online sites targeting BIPOC candidates.
  • Work wtih organizations including NABJ, NAHJ, AAJA, NLGJA, SAJA, and Disability Writers, among others, to identify potential candidates and encourage applications.
  • Maintain an active list of prospective candidates from underrepresented groups for faculty and staff positions.
  • Promote additional affiliations and encourage attendance at regional/national conferences. The SoCJ should fully subsidize travel and conference feeds for both full-time and adjunct faculty when attendance is primarily for promoting the School's diversity goals. This money should not come from individual faculty professional development accounts.
  • Enlist the help of the SoCJ's faculty, alumni and its Professional Advisory Boards (current and former journalists), educators and professionals from other areas of interest related to journalism to help identify and spread the word to potential candidates from underrepresented backgrounds.
  • Diversify the SoCJ's 15-member Professional Advisory Board from three to at least six BIPOC members, a number that correlates with the SoCJ student composition.
  • Work closely with faculty members to ensure representation and meet diversity concerns across the racial, ethnic, cultural, gender, sexual, age and socioeconomic platforms.
  • Create the instruments to protect BIPOC groups, and women, from discrimination, racism, homophobia, misogyny, and xenophobia, and compel the School to react strongly against all type of discrimination.
  • Create the structures to bring speakers and professionals from underrepresented groups to offer lectures, seminars and talks to both students and faculty on their areas of expertise and interest.

A Diverse Student Body and High BIPOC Retention Rate

Policies at an administrative level will give voice to all students and will aim to understand and address the needs of a growing underrepresented ad BIPOC segment of our student population.

  • Work with the University's admissions office on the recruitment and evaluation of applicants who have expressed an interest in journalism to ensure that a vibrant cross-section of people with disabilities, BIPOC and people from underrepresented and financially disadvantaged backgrounds are encouraged to attend Stony Brook.
  • Market the affordability of the School and communicate the range of student aid that is available.
  • Actively recruit students from Long Island, Brooklyn and Queens high schools for the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Students and provide those students with recruiting materials to attend Stony Brook.
  • Create a marketing package to recruit at regional community colleges for students that reflect the School's underrepresented populations.
  • Support the campus SPJ chapter while encouraging students to join relevant associations individually.
  • Encourage students to join regional and national women's and BIPOC journalism associations and attend their national conventions where recruiting and networking take place.
  • Work to retain a diverse student body.
  • Create a fund for traveling and reporting on Long Island for students who don't have access to transportation.

An Inclusive and Relevant Curriculum

The School is dedicated to providing an enriching academic and experiential curriculum that creates an atmosphere in which diverse ideas and opinions are encouraged and diverse cultures are embraced. As part of this mission, the School encouraged and diverse cultures are embraced. As part of this mission, the School will:

  • Continue to include women, especially women of color, and other members of underrepresented groups on curriculum committees.
  • Ensure curriculum development committees create syllabi with content that encourages diversity in opinion, perspectives and discussion. Create and maintain an inventory of syllabus language and course assignments that help achieve this diversity.
  • Invite media professionals from underrepresented backgrounds to speak to students in journalism classes and at special events, thus serving as role models to the students.
  • Work with students to help secure internships and employment in professional media organizations.
  • Develop an assessment tool to aid faculty in ensuring that students use critical thinking in selecting stories and seeking out sources that are inclusive across racial, cultural, ethnic, religious, class, gender, age, physical ability, neurological ability, sexual orientation and economic class.
  • Analyze faculty reports on course outcomes regarding diversity in topics, resources, speakers and sources.
  • Provide "best practice" models in texts, assignments and case studies to educate faculty on how to diversify syllabi.