The Department of Media Study (DMS) is one of the country’s leading programs in experimental and independent media. DMS is led by an award-winning, internationally-active faculty who continue to probe media and its social implications in the widest context. We offer students exposure to an always evolving array of thematic foci, ranging from screen culture to software studies, incorporating documentary and experimental film, video and sound, robotics, social media, gaming, interactive fiction, digital poetics and critical spatial practice. Come to Buffalo and see for yourself!
The faculty of the Media Study department stand in solidarity with the transgender community and others who have been the target of Michael Knowles’ rhetoric and threats of eradication and genocide. While we are committed to the free and open exchange of ideas, we are also committed to inclusiveness, social justice and respect for all. There is no space for hate speech as there can be no open exchange of ideas without inclusion, justice, and respect. We view Knowles’ public appearance on our campus as contrary to the values and aims of our academic community.
We are inclusive. We celebrate multiple identities and we value differences. We are building a community of students, faculty and staff where diversity, equity and excellence lead our future.
We recognize that education begins and ends with experiencing multiple ideas and multiple values. We seek to make our classrooms a place of mutual respect and creative growth where all ideas are valued and creative risks taken. We seek to study media and make media that engages with difference, and we understand that in order to pursue diversity we need to continually re-examine our practices to achieve a better community.
We are proud to be part of a public land-grant University whose mission is to provide access and opportunities for all people. As a department we are committed to the inclusion of historically underrepresented groups - Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color. Media Study is committed to policies that promote inclusiveness, social justice and respect for all, regardless of race, color, ability, age, gender, sexuality, disability, national or ethnic origin, political belief, marital status, veteran status, familial status, immigration status, and religion. We believe that a diverse department is integral to academic excellence and that our students, faculty, and staff should reflect the diverse world in which we live.
The land on which our media department operates is the territory of the Seneca Nation, a member of the Haudenosaunee Six Nations Confederacy. Today, this region is still the home to the Haudenosaunee people, and we are grateful for the opportunity to live, work, and share ideas in this territory.
The Department of Media Study aims to centralize and commit to “equity,” “inclusion” and “diversity” in regards to race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, disability, resources, and other social and institutional barriers to higher education and the arts. In order to do this, we as a department aim to measure the current status quo, create goals for diversity and inclusion, and measure these changes with a critical lens to the terms themselves.
A key component to these barriers of inclusion includes the predominantly white faculty and administration in higher education. Currently, the department has only two faculty members of color, and a majority of white faculty and staff members. Additionally, we do not have any faculty members from Indigenous, Black, and/or Latinx groups serving as tenure track faculty or as lecturers. The homogenous numbers in regards to race and ethnicity of faculty and staff need to change. Our student body is more diverse than faculty and staff, and we recognize the need to prioritize creating spaces, opportunities, and resources to support Black/African American, Asian/Asian American, Latinx, Indigenous, Pacific Islander, and/or international students. In order to center diversity, equity, and social justice, our department aims to recruit new faculty, staff, and students from these communities and to provide an action plan for building a more diverse, supportive, and just department community.
This movement has started with the Diversity Committee focused on these aims. To that end, we hope to create a Diversity Action Plan, and Cultural Practices for the Department. Along with this, we seek to address issues around diversity of gender, sexuality, class and ability within the leadership of the department, and the course content of our classes. For example, we may suggest and ask faculty to assign content that is BIPOC oriented and that addresses diversity. For PLASMA, we aimed to invite artists and scholars who are BIPOC and address these issues, and we aim for this practice to be included in faculty hiring and recruitment, our course content, and culture of the department. We intend to establish workshops, small groups, and/or other support structures for first generation students and students from marginalized communities and backgrounds.
Instead of only a statement of intent, the department aims to create inclusive practices and policies of mentorship and retention for faculty of color to succeed and acclimate to the department. This requires a commitment from the department to increase diversity. Some proposed policies, goals, and practices include: 1) We aim to include our Diversity Statement on the DMS website. 2) We will offer workshops, events, and spaces for students of color and marginalized students to help navigate the university structures. 3) We ask to include and discuss diversity practices at every faculty meeting as a discussion point and to collaboratively develop a plan of action and timeline for increased practices and policies of diversity.
Increasing diversity in the Department of Media Study requires a commitment from not only the Diversity Committee but one that is drawn from the entirety of all members of the department. We recognize this may require the prioritization of resources, time, and focus from the department as a long-term commitment to diversity and inclusion at every level of the departmental functions and culture.