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College of Humanities & Sciences

Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture


It is the policy of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences to provide equal opportunity for employment and educational access to all programs and services without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, gender, political affiliation, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information or disability.

Within the framework of the aforementioned policy, the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture is committed to diversity in all aspects of its program, including providing a climate of inclusion as well as addressing student and faculty hiring and retention, curriculum, research and scholarship, and outreach and service.

Learn About Safe Zone Allies in the Robertson School

Diversity Plan - I. Introduction

The Robertson School is committed to diversity as a fundamental principle in fulfilling its mission. The School recognizes the critical importance of educating its students to embrace diversity as an important consideration in their careers in mass communications and as a means of contributing to society.

Diverse individuals and groups bring varied human characteristics to the School.

Diversity includes, but is not limited to, differences in race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical ability, national origin, socioeconomic class, marital status, religion, political thought and academic freedom.

A diverse School provides for a diverse classroom setting, which facilitates exchange among individuals with different perspectives. The School will expose students to alternative viewpoints and will encourage critical thinking related to diversity, multicultural and global issues. In addition to ensuring that diversity is an emphasis in classes and curriculum, the School will work to ensure that diversity is reflected in student, administrator, faculty and staff recruitment, and in all of its activities, initiatives, programs and outreach.

All faculty, staff and administrators have responsibility for achieving these diversity goals. The School’s plan is intended to empower all of those individuals, as well as students, to redress non-compliance with the principles of diversity that are detailed in this plan. To that end, this plan places the responsibility for addressing any issues or concerns that may be raised by students, faculty or staff with the Director of the School and/or other appropriate University officials.

Diversity statement for Robertson School class syllabi

From the School's Faculty Handbook:

Faculty members are responsible for ensuring that the School’s diversity plan is implemented. Faculty are encouraged to include reference in their course outlines to the plan and to the role of faculty (and students) in its implementation.

The language approved by the faculty for syllabi is as follows:

“It is vital that students in this course, with guidance from the instructor, broaden their journalism/mass communications experiences by including in their course work people and subjects such as ethnic, racial and religious minorities, people with disabilities, the disadvantaged, gay men and lesbians and other similar groups. This includes but is not limited to developing a sensitivity to language and images that may create an appearance of bias. The intent is to ensure that student work reflects the diversity of the community, and that students are exposed to diverse ideas and perspectives. In this class, it is the responsibility of the instructor and students to foster an environment that supports free expression.

The VCU Robertson School of Media and Culture is committed to diversity in all aspects of its program, including providing a climate of inclusion, as well as addressing student and faculty hiring and retention, curriculum, research and scholarship and outreach and service. Students are encouraged to review the School’s Diversity Plan, which is posted on the School’s website.”

(Previous Revisions 2008, 2011, 2015 A-F)
Revised 12/4/15

Robertson School Student Demographics

Demographic breakdown of mass comm majorsFall 2019Percent
Unknown/Not Specified50.6%
Black/African American18723.2%
Two or more races637.8%

Source: VCU Office of Planning and Decision Support, Fall 2019

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Safe-Zone Training

Safe-Zone Training has been completed by many of the Robertson School’s faculty and staff. All of these Robertson School employees are “certified” Safe-Zone allies, which is indicated by the Safe Zone sticker placed outside their office doors.

From University Counseling Services: “The sticker indicates that, within your office or room, homophobic and heterosexist comments and actions will not be tolerated silently, but instead will be addressed in an educational, informative and non-threatening manner.”

Support Zone Training

Support Zone training has also been completed by many of the Robertson School’s faculty and staff. These Robertson School employees can be identified by the Support Zone Emblem (left) on their office doors.

Support Zone training was created and piloted in the Robertson School. Created laregely in part by Joshua Smith, public relations faculty member, Support Zone better equips faculty and staff in the School to help students that might be suffering from emotional distress in and out of the classroom. Read more about it here.

Green Zone Training

Green Zone training has been completed by many Robertson School faculty and staff members. These Green Zone certified staff and faculty members can be identified by the Green Zone training emblem (left) on their office doors.

Green Zone training, created by a VCU faculty member in 2010, helps faculty and staff better know how to assist student veterans that are transitioning to university and civilian life. Read more about Green Zone here.

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