The Hugh Downs School of Human Communication is strongly committed to developing an inclusive and diverse community of scholars and learners, as well as addressing and providing tools for combating various forms of systematic prejudice. 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.

To learn more about ASU's philosophy on Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, please click here

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. 

Featured classes

Professor Loretta LeMaster will be offering a new COM 394 course in the Spring of 2022, "Critical Conversations." This social-justice-oriented course focuses on developing students’ capacity to navigate difficult conversations about cultural difference, power, privilege, and oppression. Specifically, the course uses performance as a means of staging and rehearsing tough conversations that implicate mundane enactments, such as racism, transphobia, homophobia, sexism, ableism, colonialism, and xenophobia. Taking a critical approach to intercultural communication studies, this course supports students in developing communication tools that can be used to both intervene in oppressive communication and to develop a social justice approach to everyday communication. 

Professor Alaina Zanin will be offering a new COM 494 course in the Spring of 2022, "Applied Coaching Communication." Do you want to serve your community? Do you want to become a coach and role model in girls’ youth sports? AND do you want to earn course credit while doing it?  Throughout this course, you will learn a variety of techniques and topics that are designed to help you become an empowered coach and role model for young female athletes. You’ll also get the chance to practice what you learn and act as a coach in real life!   Please note: This course is designed for students to be on-site at a local elementary school from 3:00-4:15 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays for part of the semester. Carpool transportation will be coordinated at the beginning of the semester. 

More information on the ASU Charter