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Creation, Development and Implementation of a Media Diversity Course

Dr. Clarence W. Thomas
VCU School of Mass Communications

Project Overview

According to the Forum on Media Diversity at Louisiana State University, “Only 35 percent of all journalism and mass communication higher education programs in the United States address issues of media diversity.” (See attached statement)

In order to address these unsatisfactory statistics, a new media diversity course, Minorities and the Mass Media (MMM), was proposed for creation, development and implementation at the VCU School of Mass Communications. The course was designed to address issues related to the presence and portrayal of selected minority groups (Hispanic, African American, Asian American, Native American) and women by American mass media. The course was initially offered as a Topics course and then approval was sought for regular course status. (See attached syllabus)

Course Objective

To facilitate student knowledge and understanding of the significance and impact of informative, entertaining and persuasive forms of mass media in the context of a complex, diverse society through an examination of:

  • Minority and female media image representations/stereotypes
  • Minority media  and female workforce representation (including management and ownership)
  • Contributions of minorities and women to the field(s) of mass media

Project Objective

CTE funding was sought in order to facilitate said creation, development and implementation of the course.  Since the proposed course, by its very nature, directly relates to an examination and understanding of media content, the proposal objective was:

To secure CTE funding would allow for the acquisition of technology and media content and thereby impact the course through:

  • Enhancement and Illustration of course content and
  • Stimulation and Provocation of lively class review, debate and discussion.

Accomplishments and Impact

The MMM course was approved for offering as a Topics (MASC 491) course during spring semester 2005.

The MMM course was approved on all levels (School, College, University) as a regular Mass Communications course offering (MASC 474) by the end of the 2005 school year.

The MMM course was approved as an African American Studies regular course offering and cross-listed (MASC/AFAM 474) with AFAM by the end of the 2005 school year.

The MMM course initiated a noteworthy guest speaker series during spring semester 2005. Tim Reid, award winning actor, director, producer and studio head made four presentations to the class.
(See attached press release)

Ultimately, student impact, in terms of enlightenment and understanding were facilitated through the use of the technology and content items provided by the CTE funds. Students and the professor had computer access, which aided in class preparation and presentation. Students and the professor were able to record and review class presentations. The class was provided access to media content (programming) which supplemented School and library holdings. (See attached photos)
In terms of student satisfaction and fulfillment, two student surveys* administered by the Professor, noted the following:

  • At mid-term:
    4 of 25 students rated the course as excellent and 19 of 25 rated the course as very good.

  • At end-of-term:
    11 of 23 students rated the course as excellent and 10 of 23 students rated the course as very good.


Amount $3,500.                  
Funding was used to purchase:

  • 1 Multimedia laptop w/case and laser mouse
  • 1 mini digital camcorder
  • Recordable DVDs/MDVCs
  • Pre-recorded programs (DVD/VHS)


Deepest appreciation and thanks are expressed to the following units and individuals for their assistance:

  • VCU Center for Teaching Excellence
  • VCU School of Mass Communications-
    Faculty and Curriculum Committee
  • VCU African American Studies Program-
    Faculty and Dr. Njeri Jackson
  • VCU Libraries- Ms. Serena Haroian
  • New Millennium Studios- Mr. Tim Reid

*Available upon request.

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Last modified: June 20, 2013
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