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The College of Communication and Information invites the campus community to participate in its ninth annual Diversity and Inclusion Week, September 24–27. With the theme “Let’s Talk: Listen, Learn and Lead,” the week will include panel discussions, forums, and speakers, featuring a keynote speech by Alison Bethel McKenzie, executive director of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).

McKenzie, a veteran journalist, educator and the first African-American to serve as executive director of the SPJ, will speak Monday, September 24, in the Communications Building’s Patrick Auditorium. A reception will begin at 4:30 p.m. with the speech beginning at 5 p.m.

McKenzie spent a year in Accra, Ghana, for the Washington, DC-based International Center for Journalists as a Knight International Journalism Fellow, helping Ghanaian journalists improve their reporting skills in the run-up to the 2008 presidential election. In 2016, she spent a year in Bangalore, India, as a visiting professor of print and investigative journalism.

She is a co-founder and former vice president of the board of directors for Media Institute of the Caribbean, as well as a former board member of Al Jazeera America and the National Press Club.

Sessions throughout the week will focus on search engines and artificial intelligence, social media and change, politics and civil discourse, immigration, technology and civility, life issues, marginalized populations and the justice system, cultural appropriation vs. appreciation, and more.

The week will culminate with an all-campus festival and barbecue from 5 to 7 p.m. on September 27 in and around the Communications Building. The event will feature games, a photo booth, live music, and international dance and cultural performances. CCI student organizations will host additional activities.

Visit the CCI website for a complete list of activities, dates, times and locations. All sessions are free and open to the public. Some sessions will be streamed online; links to those sessions will be posted on the site.


Donna Silvey (865-974-6727,

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,

Jorden Albright (