Diversity Statement for the Moody College of Communication
The Moody College of Communication is committed to a culture of inclusion and equity in which all of our students, faculty, staff, and visitors are welcome and respected. We believe that embracing diversity, within our faculty, staff, students, and curricula, creates a beneficial atmosphere for teaching, learning, and inquiry, and is a necessary condition for preparing our students to succeed in a diverse world and to change it for the better.
We further believe that multiculturalism is the key that unlocks everyone’s full potential. As one of the world’s leading institutions for the study and practice of communication, we charge ourselves with creating and maintaining a culture where multiculturalism is a way of life. As a community, we commit to establish and nurture a climate of inclusion that is anti-racist, anti-sexist, and anti-bigotry of all kinds, and combats prejudice, hostility, or discrimination toward any culture or group.
As we advance and enhance society through the study and practice of human communication, we strive to engage and empower voices that have been historically underrepresented, silenced, or forced to exist on the margins of society. Our community of scholars and practitioners collectively commits to amplify these voices and to amend the historical narrative of exclusion in communication education, research, and industries, so that all students, faculty, staff, and visitors know they are seen, heard, and valued.
The division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Moody College encourages students, faculty, and staff to create new opportunities that increase the understanding of, appreciation for, and advocacy of diversity issues. This is a pilot program specifically designed to provide support for new, innovative, and creative approaches to raise awareness, engage learners, and change behaviors around diversity and inclusion within the university community. Examples of programs that will be supported include lectures, symposia, workshops, conferences, performances, and other innovative approaches for advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion at the Moody College of Communication.
Ya'Ke Smith • Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Ya’Ke Smith, known for his unflinching and veracious style of storytelling, is a rising voice in independent cinema. His films have received world-wide acclaim, screening and winning awards at over 90 film festivals. The Director’s Guild of America, the Student Academy Awards, HBO, Showtime, and the City of Buffalo, NY, which proclaimed February 23, 2013 as Ya’Ke Smith Day, have honored him. His short, Katrina’s Son, screened at over 40-film festivals and won 14 awards. The film was also eligible for the 2012 Academy Award in short filmmaking. His debut feature, WOLF, which NPR called “an impressive piece by a young director,” premiered at the SXSW Film Festival and has gone on to screen and win awards at festivals across North America. The film is now available for download via several Video-on-Demand outlets. His short film, dawn., made its television premiere on HBO in February of 2015, and screened on the network for two years. The film was also streamed as part of Issa Rae's Short Film Sunday series on her YouTube channel.
Ya’Ke has been featured on NPR, CNN, HLN, Ebony Online, Indiewire, Filmmaker Magazine and Shadow&Act.
Ya’Ke graduated with his B.A. from the Communication Arts Department at the University of The Incarnate Word, where he later became the youngest recipient of the Alumni of Distinction for Professional Achievement award. He received his M.F.A. from the University of Texas at Austin’s film program, where he is currently an Associate Professor of film. He was previously the Morgan Woodward Distinguished Professor of Film at the University of Texas at Arlington.