The Simmons Voice

  • October 4Simmons all clear after active threat alert

  • October 3Dean Judy Beal to retire at the end of 2018-2019 academic year

  • September 27Simmons postpones Gwen Ifill ceremony until next year

Filed under News

Crafting of Ifill College Mission Statement Underway

Faculty+are+busy+crafting+the+mission+statement+of+the+Gwen+Ifill+College.+The+mission+statement+is+due+in+December.
Faculty are busy crafting the mission statement of the Gwen Ifill College. The mission statement is due in December.

Faculty are busy crafting the mission statement of the Gwen Ifill College. The mission statement is due in December.

Mackenzie Farkus

Mackenzie Farkus

Faculty are busy crafting the mission statement of the Gwen Ifill College. The mission statement is due in December.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Charged with crafting a mission statement for Simmons University’s new Gwen Ifill College of Media Arts and Humanities, the five-person faculty task force has only five weeks remaining, facing a Dec. 1 deadline.

The committee met twice thus far, on Sept. 28 and Oct. 15. The rest of the college’s faculty members will vote on the mission statement presented by the committee in December. Following approval by Dean Norman, the mission statement will be displayed on a wall of the recently renovated wing of the Ifill College.

Due to Simmons University’s academic redesign, numerous departments are encompassed in the Ifill College, including communications, Africana studies, arts and music, children’s literature, English, history, modern language, philosophy, and women’s and gender studies.

Because the school is named for the late Gwen Ifill, a Simmons alumna and the first black woman to host a national political broadcast on Washington Week in Review, some community members now wonder how the committee plans to honor Ifill while also supporting the departments unrelated to journalism.

Dr. Lowry Pei, an English Professor at Simmons and mission statement committee chair, said creating a vision that includes the various disciplines of the college can be done. As a member of the English department and a writer of fiction, he sees similarities between Ifill’s profession and his own.

To me, the notion of constantly constructing and reconstructing a story that makes sense out of our experience feels like it encompasses all these different fields,” Dr. Pei said. “Journalism is that in one way, and fiction is that in another way, and a history is that in another way an so on. Those things are not incompatible.”

Consisting of faculty volunteers, other members of the committee include Associate Professor Eduardo Fables, modern language and literature, Assistant Professors, Audrey Golden, English, and Frannie Sullivan, history, and Senior Lecturer Lauren Rizzuto, children’s literature.

Department heads tend to agree with Dr. Pei. Dr. Danisa Bonacic, chair of the Modern Language and Literature department, stated she too sees Ifill’s legacy reflected in the work of her department.

“In her career, Gwen Ifill understood the complexities of foreign policies,” Dr. Bonacic said. “We believe that our students can improve their understanding of these complexities by immersing themselves in another language, another culture, and another historical perspective.”

Dr. Margaret Hanni, chair of the Art and Music Department, also stated her optimism regarding the committee’s ability to incorporate her department into the mission statement.

“I would expect the mission statement to reflect Gwen Ifill’s thoughtful engagement with the world around her and her demonstrated passion for asking difficult questions and seeking answers to the,” said Dr. Hanni. “The Department of Art and Music is committed to engagement with the world, expressed through visual and musical expression.”

The mission task force reached out to Ifill faculty via email asking for time to discuss the mission statement in an upcoming department meeting.

The email also provided a bulleted list of ideas to incorporate into the statement including “educate through and toward compassion, harnessing the power of language and images to communicate across differences, equip our students to lead meaningful lives and serve as voices that move us toward the common good” in addition to asking for other faculty suggestions.

In the coming weeks, the committee faces added pressure from the African American Alumnae Association (AAAA) following what they call a “racially insensitive hiring decision” on behalf of Simmons. The university named Dr. Brian Norman, a white male, as the inaugural dean of the Gwen Ifill College.

In an email to President Helen Drinan, NBC News correspondent, alumna, and friend of Ifill, Rehema Ellis, spoke on behalf of the African American Alumni Association (AAAA).

“Gwen was one of the premier journalists of our time,” Ellis said. “The first dean of the college that honors her should reflect a combination of her intellect, scholarship, and integrity, as well as her race and gender.”

The committee has yet to formalize a plan to address the concerns of the African American Alumni Association (AAAA) in the mission statement.

“Creating a diverse and inclusive community is central to the mission of the whole university and the success of the whole Gwen Ifill college,” Dr. Pei said. “How the mission statement will reflect that is not something I can predict.”

According to Dr. Pei, the committee will also be looking to students for input as they begin crafting the statement. The committee intends to reach out to student organizations for guidance.

As a student in the Gwen Ifill College, Isabelle Indelicato, a second-year public relations and marketing communications major, sees Ifill’s legacy as inseparable from goals of the new college.

“I hope that people see that it wouldn’t have been possible without Gwen Ifill,” Indelicato said. “The Comm[unications] Department shaped her and now she is shaping all of us.”

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Left
  • Crafting of Ifill College Mission Statement Underway

    News

    As Gwen Ifill Ceremony Postponed, Simmons Struggles with Ifill Legacy

  • Crafting of Ifill College Mission Statement Underway

    News

    Bill Cosby found guilty of sexual assault

  • Crafting of Ifill College Mission Statement Underway

    2017-2018

    Senate passes controversial Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

  • Crafting of Ifill College Mission Statement Underway

    2017-2018

    Simmons Communications Department hosts IBS East

  • Crafting of Ifill College Mission Statement Underway

    2017-2018

    “#MeToo” Twitter campaign spreads in scope

  • Crafting of Ifill College Mission Statement Underway

    2017-2018

    Dining Services representatives speak at SGA forum

  • Crafting of Ifill College Mission Statement Underway

    2017-2018

    Lupita Nyong’o speaks out against Harvey Weinstein

  • Crafting of Ifill College Mission Statement Underway

    2017-2018

    Walsh and Jackson face off in Boston mayoral election

  • Crafting of Ifill College Mission Statement Underway

    2017-2018

    U.S. mourns victims of Las Vegas mass shooting

  • Crafting of Ifill College Mission Statement Underway

    2017-2018

    Dining service changes leave students with problems

Navigate Right
The Student News Site of Simmons University
Crafting of Ifill College Mission Statement Underway