CSUN Scores High in Diversity Rankings

Brandon Hensley

CSUN’s communications department ranked eighth in the nation, out of the top 100 schools that awarded bachelor’s degrees to minority students in communications by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine on Aug. 4.

The Mike Curb College of Arts, Media and Communication has a strong Latino population and provides a Spanish news outlet with El Nuevo Sol.

“I think one of the things unique about broadcast journalism is that our assignments were often a reflection of our own interests,” said Matt Johnson, a 2010 CSUN graduate from the department. “We had free range to do what we wanted, so a lot of our Hispanic students would bring back stories of quinceañeras or some kind of event that normally I wouldn’t have known about.”

He said smaller class sizes benefited his experience in school, called his broadcasting classes “exceptionally diverse.”

“It was great because in journalism you have to work as a team, especially in broadcast, so having a group of people in my class where I got to know their names, got to hang with after class, it was really a benefit to have such a modest-sized classroom,” he said.

In the same story, the college ranked 10th in bachelor’s given to Asians and 25th to African-Americans.

According to the school’s Institutional Research, 27 percent of all students in the communications department are Latino. Over nine percent are Asian-American and 8.5 are African-American.

Latinos make up 33.3 percent of undergraduate journalism majors, and African-Americans make up 15.5 percent. In cinema and arts, Latino undergraduates come in at 26.4 percent. Asian-Americans are the next largest minority at 8.6 percent.

With new means of communications evolving daily, it is important for the department to reinvent itself in ways it teaches students, according to professor Melissa Wall.

Wall teaches a new journalism class, Muslims and the Media, which emphasizes using multimedia in learning about Muslims and Islam.

“I think we have really great support from the university and the department chair (Jose Benavidas) to create this class and I think it is part of a vision to think about journalism education somewhat differently and to try and not just teach the same old things that we have taught year after year and to do things differently,” Wall said.

Johnson also had positive words for his broadcast professors.

“There is a huge demographic shift going on in the U.S. and I think the journalism department has done a good job responding to that.”