CSM Chairman’s Corner: Moving forward on multiple fronts in ’16

by the Rev. Kyle Huckins, Ph.D., CSM Chairman, March 2016

The Commission on the Status of Minorities is working to support the cause of historically underrepresented groups in the journalism and mass communication profession, academy and AEJMC by uniting with like-minded programs, promoting the attraction and retention of minority faculty and graduate students, and getting a new place on the Web.

At the CSM business meeting in San Francisco in August, members voted to make a $300 donation to the Trailblazers of Diversity project headed by Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez of The University of Texas at Austin. I reported this to the AEJMC board of directors at its meeting at the conclusion of the annual conference, and I strongly asserted this valuable effort dedicated to preserving the voices and stories of minority college educators is very worthy of our parent organization’s financial and philosophical support. I have done interviews with Felix Gutierrez and others as well as assisted with recordings, and I can testify firsthand that the material gained is quite helpful to advancing the legacy and pertinence of minorities in AEJMC, the profession and academia at large.

That meeting also saw me lobbying for speakers from the historically underrepresented in plenary sessions at the 2016 annual conference in Minneapolis. I stated that particularly a keynote address from such ranks would send a positive message to AEJMC’s minorities, who are increasingly disappointed with the organization’s lack of diversity in high-profile arenas.

CSM Chairman's Report Spring 2016
CSM Chairman’s Report Spring 2016

CSM’s Planning Committee is seeking to identify panelists for our commission’s session at the ’16 convention, which is slated to focus on how to hire and keep a diverse professoriate and graduate student body. Thanks to Tony DeMars, Osita Iroegbu  and Maccamas Ikpah for stepping up to serve with me on this committee. My survey of the available research on percentage of minority faculty finds virtually no progress in several years in attracting a greater share of underrepresented groups to those posts; in fact, there has been in some areas a regression. Graduate programs likewise are largely devoid of minority students, meaning it’s unlikely faculty ranks will gain ground in multiculturalism in the near future unless strong measures are taken. In a world and nation that are increasingly diverse, this is very much unacceptable.

The commission is getting a new website to better showcase its causes, research and other activities. CSMDiversity.org is up and running, and is much easier to update than our former main site and address. CSM will forward traffic and material from its old address to the new and invites contributions of writing, photography, audio and video pertinent to the commission’s membership to go on its website. Contact me at kylehuckins@ yahoo.com about your items, or, if they are specifically for CSM’s convention newsletter, send them to Newsletter Editor Nathaniel Frederick at nfrederick2@gmail.com. Thanks to Mas Biswas for his help on the new site.

Finally, many thanks to Nathaniel and our other officers for 2015-2017, Vice Chairwoman Marquita Smith and Secretary Cathy Jackson. Your work is much appreciated. Know that the Commission on the Status of Minorities stands ready to defend, protect and promote the historically underrepresented. Have a great 2016 in shining a light on diversity at your school!