As communication scholars, we understand that messages have the power to create social transformation and improve lives. As a School, we embrace diversity, strive for justice, and believe communication practices that are centered around inclusion, belonging, and equity can harness the power of diversity and promote justice.
Our values and commitment
Diversity encompasses the active integration and dynamic coexistence of a wide range of intersecting social identities and identifying experiences, characteristics, skills, and expertise. Importantly, the term diversity describes a mix of people of different intersecting identities and experiences. Differences among people include, but are not limited to, intersections of gender identity, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, sex, social class, education, disability, national origin, learning styles, military background, marital status, and religion. Our School values diversity.
Justice refers to the rights and responsibilities all people have to ensure that everyone is treated with fairness and respect. As a school, we recognize these rights and responsibilities and actively work against bias and discrimination. To that end, we additionally recognize justice as a collective commitment to cultivating while improving justice in a reflexive community of learners. Our School values justice.
Inclusion describes the active process of embracing diversity and affirming its value as a form of justice. Our commitments to diversity and justice reveal that cultivating inclusion is a communal endeavor in which we strive to co-create creative learning and working environments in which all persons feel supported and encouraged to participate and contribute in diverse ways. As such, inclusivity is not only appreciated and respected but is indicative of our strength as a diverse community of learners. Our school works to cultivate and maintain this type of inclusive environment. Our School values inclusion.
Belonging refers to a felt sense of cohesion, understanding, and mutual respect that allows persons to feel supported and encouraged–if not safe and brave to communicate genuinely–within an environment. Inclusive and diverse environments committed to justice help create this felt sense of belonging. As a school, we work to ensure all members of our community feel respected, brave and connected. Our School values belonging.
Equity refers to structural fairness and is mindful of the ways intersecting identities and experiences mediate questions of “access” and “equality.” As such, we strive to enact policies and practices designed to increase access to resources and opportunities, including addressing the barriers and disproportionate burdens faced by some individuals or groups. Moreover, we understand increasing diversity, justice, inclusion, and belonging as moves toward equity. Our School values equity.
As a School, we are also aligned with The National Communication Association’s commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
As a School, we are also aligned with The Western States Communication Association’s commitments to anti-discrimination and diversity.
As a School, we are also committed to respecting the autonomy and right to justice, inclusion, and equity for all members of our community by:
- refraining from generalizations about groups of people, particularly those who are on the margins of US culture,
- listening to and respecting the experiences of others, and
- honoring and making use of people’s identified pronouns.
We invite you to join us in our efforts to build a community centered around these values.
News on diversity
Indigenous Land Acknowledgement
The Hugh Downs School of Human Communication respectfully acknowledges that ASU and our School are located on lands that are the ancestral homes of indigenous peoples, including the Akimel O’odham (Pima) and Xalychidom Piipaash (Maricopa) tribes of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
The Hugh Downs School recognizes the sovereignty of these nations and is grateful for their stewardship of the land and its resources. As part of our commitment to honoring the indigenous peoples of Arizona, our School promotes communication practices that foster inclusion and a sense of belonging for all.
Spotlight on Hugh Downs School Research
Professor Uttaran Dutta has collaborated with geographically remote community members in eastern India to build local sustainable resources and combat poverty. He also inspired tribal youth to creatively solve local problems through a program called "Come, Let’s Build Something New." They identified everyday problems and were encouraged to come up with their own solutions. Professor Dutta also collaborated with community members to co-develop a computer application to help those who were illiterate access useful information regarding local weather, employment, education, and other basic services such as health care. They also used the computer application to record their traditional songs, folklore, and paintings, and take videos of their dances and performances. This allows them to tell their own stories rather than having outsiders do so. As Dutta observed, “It’s truly amazing how a few thousand dollars can transform a society."
Professor Alaina Zanin researches why gender disparities in youth sport participation exist. Her team of researchers found that there are fewer girls playing sports due to lack of access, safety, funding and transportation. They also found that the situation is more pronounced for young women in underserved communities and young women of color. The groups have less access to athletic programs and engage in less physical activity. Zanin says there is also a gender bias, in that girls are more likely to be expected to help around the house or take care of younger siblings.
We support ASU’s charter:
ASU is a comprehensive public research university, measured not by whom we exclude, but rather by whom we include and how they succeed; advancing research and discovery of public value; and assuming fundamental responsibility for the economic, social, cultural and overall health of the communities it serves.