Virtually absent: searching for journalism and mass communication deans of color

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Keonte C. Coleman (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Laura Gonzalez

Abstract: Journalism and mass communication (JMC) administrators lead unique academic programs because many of their graduates will have a direct impact on the way countless members of society view themselves and their neighbors. This study’s purposes are to add to the limited body of research focused on JMC administrators, and to contextualize the experiences of JMC administrators of color through a higher education administration conceptual framework. A repository of JMC program leaders does not currently exist, so a list of the top administrators at 101 JMC colleges and schools in the United States was compiled via a virtual census of the programs’ websites. These programs were selected because, unlike smaller JMC programs, their websites consistently included photographs and biographies of their top administrators. This virtual census of the programs spurred a mixed methods study on the leaders who oversee some of the preeminent JMC programs in the country. The quantitative portion consisted of a 38-question Qualtrics survey that was emailed to 113 current (n=102) and recent (n=11) JMC deans/directors. Current JMC administrators (n=31) completed the survey, and their responses illuminate qualities needed to successfully lead their programs, and factors that impact their willingness to lead. Descriptive data gleaned from cross-tabulation tables and demographic responses paint a picture not seen in previous JMC administrator studies. There were 24 current (n=19) and immediate past (n=5) JMC deans/directors of color emailed to participate in the qualitative portion of the study. The self-identified JMC leaders of color (n=4) contextualized their experiences utilizing pseudonyms in an online discussion board. Two coders independently conducted qualitative coding utilizing thematic analysis, which revealed three main themes: leading with a purpose, value in differences, and enduring hardships. “Some people might underestimate how well-versed administrators of color are in many topics, challenges, realms. We have to be. We don't get where we are just because of color -- often, in spite of it.” This is just one example of the information shared on the discussion board by one of the leaders of color who, like the other respondents, seemed to bring a higher purpose to leading their organization. This study holds implications for better understanding the JMC program deans/directors within the context of higher education, and provides insight into the value leaders of color bring to JMC programs.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2018
Deans, Diversity, Higher education administration (HED), JMC schools/colleges, Journalism & mass communication (JMC), Leadership
Deans (Education) $z United States
Minority college administrators $z United States
Journalism $x Study and teaching (Higher) $z United States
Mass media $x Study and teaching (Higher) $z United States

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