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College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Media, Film & Journalism Studies

Students attend a lecture at the University of Denver

Media, Film & Journalism Studies

Mission & Values

MFJS Vision

The vision of the Department of Media, Film, and Journalism Studies is to create an engaged community that critically understands, practices, and explores media, culture, and public communication in a diverse and global society.

MFJS Mission

Our mission is to foster an intellectual and artistic environment that advances excellence in learning, research, and creative expression in the areas of media, film, journalism, strategic communication and international and intercultural communication. In all of these interdisciplinary areas we uphold a commitment to critical thinking, community engagement, experiential learning and social justice.

Values

  • Excellence in teaching, research and creative work
  • Critical and creative scholarship and artistic pursuits
  • Commitment to the public good
  • Transparency
  • Collegiality
  • Inclusivity
  • Integrity
  • Innovation
  • Engagement

Statement of Inclusive Excellence

The Department of Media, Film and Journalism Studies supports the University of Denver's commitment to inclusive excellence through its teaching, research, creative work, and its service to the university, community, and its global publics. Following the university's commitment to the belief that creating a diverse and inclusive community is necessary as we seek to prepare students for a globalized and interconnected world, we adopt the definition of inclusive excellence that is put forth by the university's Center for Multicultural Excellence:

Inclusive Excellence (IE) is the recognition that a community or institution's success of dependent on how well it values, engages and includes the rich diversity of students, staff, faculty, administrators, and alumni constituents. More than a short-term project or single office initiative, this comprehensive approach requires a fundamental transformation of the institution by embedding and practicing IE in every effort, aspect, and level of a college or university. The goal is to make IE a habit that is implemented and practiced consistently throughout an institution. 

 

As a department, we therefore embrace the following goals:

  1. Recognize the power of representation. We strive to be sensitive toward the ways that mediated representations contribute to the construction of society. Therefore, we recognize the interrelationship of power and representation, and challenge one another to create representations and critiques that support the rights of all persons to dignity and respect, with special attention to those who are members of marginalized or oppressed communities.
  2. Foster active participation by all. We strive to create classrooms that are welcoming and that invite participation, particularly in difficult discussions about difference. We stand with members of marginalized or oppressed communities and set high expectations for the respect of these persons and groups. We go out of our way to welcome newcomers and strangers into our programs and activities. Moreover, we seek to model the incorporation of a variety of perspectives and life experiences into our teaching endeavors by including books, articles, and media texts written or created by those with experiences and perspectives that differ from our own and extending guest lecture and other speaking invitations to people whose experiences differ from our own. We strive to incorporate into classes opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to be involved in campus-wide programming related to inclusive excellence.
  3. Recognize that language is important. We include a statement of expectations within our courses that recognizes that courses in our department often include sensitive material. We encourage students to be mindful and use language and reasoning that does not disrespect or marginalize others. We recognize that the University of Denver strives for inclusive excellence and this extends to this classroom; recognizing and respecting diverse identities, privilege and personal experiences is essential.
  4. Listen more than we speak. We recognize ourselves as people who are constantly learning and we therefore approach listening as a discipline that opens opportunities for knowledge and growth.
  5. Practice empathy. We seek to better understand the ways that communication practices and processes might affect others, so that we might appreciate how others may feel in relation to these processes and practices.
  6. Seek self-awareness. We strive to be more aware of our own privileges and remain open to change as we recognize that our actions or words might offend or hurt others, even if inadvertently. To accomplish this, we are committed to engaging annually in training, focused dialogue, and other activities involving faculty, staff, and students.
  7. Honor difference. We seek ways to express our appreciation for differing backgrounds and perspectives in our creative work, research, and teaching endeavors.
  8. Give people the benefit of the doubt. We recognize that most people do not seek to cause harm or hurt, and therefore we are generous in forgiving others.
  9. Embrace restorative practices. Even as we forgive, we graciously call attention to occasions where intentions fall short so that those involved might work to repair any damage done to relationships.

This is an incomplete list of goals, and we welcome members of our department's community to add to this list as we work together to embrace inclusive excellence.

#ShutDownAcademia & #Strike4BlackLives, June 2020

The Department of Media, Film and Journalism Studies supports students, faculty and staff who have been participating in demonstrations and working against police brutality and systemic racism. We recognize the traumatic impact the recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and so many others have had - on many of us, and on Black students and colleagues in particular. As part of our commitment to anti-racist pedagogy and scholarship, we as a department recognize that State violence against Black communities is connected to the colonialist history of the United States, and we recognize that white supremacy and systems of oppression are similarly woven into the systems of higher education.

We are participating in the June 10, 2020 #ShutDownAcademia and #Strike4BlackLives movement. As a department, we want to center the voices and scholarship of our Black and Brown students and colleagues, and will be taking this day to self-educate and consider how structural racism has played out, and continues to play out, in the life of this university and specifically in our department. We are committed to:

  • Reaching out to MFJS students who identify as Black and/or as a Person of Color, first and foremost, to both listen to and amplify their voices;
  • Decolonizing our syllabi by amplifying voices that are continually dismissed, overlooked, and/or silenced in both academia and society and by including assignments that ask students to reflect on white privilege and supremacy in scholarship within the area of study;
  • Sharing lists of authors/artists to center the voices of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and other People of Color;
  • Working with the DU Student Diversity Committee to support their initiatives for public accountability and reporting on Campus Safety;
  • Circulating and integrating films and other media that question, oppose and expand traditional intellectual canons;
  • Making a commitment to address all microaggressions in the classroom, which includes training faculty in how best to do so;
  • Actively working toward increasing the representation of tenure-track Faculty of Color in the MFJS Department. Educational research indicates that Students of Color are positively impacted academically and personally via Faculty of Color mentorship, course offerings, and culturally responsive pedagogy. With Faculty of Color, Students of Color are empowered to not only survive but to thrive in hostile racist climates on campus in particular.

We recognize that generations of students have had enough. We welcome your suggestions, critiques, and stories, acknowledging the pains that you have endured and the admirable resilience you have demonstrated in your life as a student at DU. If you are graduating, we are incredibly proud of you. If you will be with us for future courses, we look forward to working with you.

While recognizing that oppression is linked to power and privilege that discriminates unjustly against many persons of intersecting identities including those in Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, and other movements of People of Color and LBTQ communities, this moment of study and reflection focuses on systemic racism and the discrimination against Black lives, because we believe in the power of education to transform. As James Baldwin wrote, "Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced."

We hope that you will understand if we are not able to answer your emails or calls in a timely manner on June 10. If you have concerns, whether about past practices or about future scheduling, please know that we will be available throughout the summer months. We welcome opportunities to continue to learn with and from you in this time.

In solidarity,

The Faculty and Staff of the Department of Media, Film and Journalism Studies

Click here to access the full letter we sent out to students on Tuesday, June 9, 2020.