New ASU dean led Loyola’s journalism school accreditation visit

Shadera Moore

Arizona State University’s journalism school has named Kristin Gilger, business journalism professor, as its interim dean, after Sonya Duhé was removed as the school’s incoming dean due to allegations of racism and insensitivity.

Gilger was also the chairperson of the three-person team from the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications that visited Loyola’s school of Communication and Design in October 2019.

The group, led by Gilger, evaluated Loyola’s performance in several areas, including diversity, and held meetings with students and faculty involved in the school’s programs.

Gilger and the team from the accrediting agency interacted with students and faculty to evaluate the performance of Loyola’s mass communication programs as well as the climate within the school.

“We ask them about the quality of the teaching, we ask them what they’re learning about diversity and inclusiveness, we ask them questions about the climate on campus for those issues, So, the students have a chance to speak up about it, and they certainly, if any of them want to, they can seek a team member or one of the team members out,” said ACEJMC president Patricia Thompson about the accrediting process.

The accrediting agency found Loyola in compliance with all nine of its standards, including the standard for “diversity and inclusiveness.”

The standard of diversity and inclusiveness, evaluates that “the unit has a climate that is free of harassment and all forms of discrimination, in keeping with the acceptable cultural practices of the population it serves, accommodates the needs of those with disabilities, and values the contributions of all forms of diversity,” according to the report.

Recent allegations of racism and insensitivity against Duhé have prompted questions about how closely the 2019-2020 accreditation report reflects the reality of the climate of diversity and inclusion within the department.

This standard was met in part by the presence of minority leadership groups such as Loyola’s chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, regular visits from guest speakers of color from the industry and several other program initiatives within the department. The report noted that the department lacks faculty diversity.

The Loyola School of Communication and Design’s accreditation status is not in jeopardy, and the 2019-2020 report will not be reopened, according to Thompson.

The Maroon is continuing to report on this story.