Karla KennedyUniversity of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC) Scholastic Journalism Outreach Coordinator, Dr. Karla Kennedy, has been selected to receive the 2015 Martin Luther King, Jr. Award from the University of Oregon.

Kennedy is being recognized for her achievements that exemplify the ideals set forth by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and for her outstanding contributions to the equity, inclusion and diversity efforts at the UO.

“It is wonderful to be able to continue to beat the drums of justice,” says Kennedy. “Dr. King called himself a drum major for justice. It is humbling to be receiving this award. It truly warms my heart and charges my spirit.”

Kennedy is an award-winning scholastic journalism teacher who helps recruit students to the SOJC and works to advise Oregon high-school students and advisors on the First Amendment rights of student journalists. Her goal is that more minority students in Oregon have opportunities in journalism programs to become future media professionals. These efforts continue to strengthen scholastic journalism throughout Oregon, and enrich UO’s recruiting opportunities for students of color in Oregon high schools.

Kennedy is also the executive director of the Northwest Scholastic Press Association and serves as the advisor for the UO chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists.

“I’m very proud of the people I work with, the local communities that allow me to visit their schools, and the visionaries in the SOJC and the UO Office of Equity and Inclusion that support me at every turn,” Kennedy says.


SOJC awarded the UO Equity & Inclusion Innovation Award

Karla Kennedy and Julie NewtonThe School of Journalism and Communication has been selected for the UO’s 2015 Equity and Inclusion Innovation Award, recognizing the school’s commitment to strengthening its diversity efforts.

The faculty/student ratio of 56:1 at the SOJC was the highest in the country among top journalism and communication schools. In 2013, the SOJC launched an aggressive hiring plan to address this unsustainable faculty/student ration. Working with its diversity plan, the SOJC added 21 instructors with various ethnic backgrounds, including three international scholars and 10 females. The faculty/student ration is now 37:1.

The strengthening of diversity among faculty, as well as new courses focusing on LGBTQ, African American and Latino communities are all ways in which the SOJC is working to prepare students to live in a multicultural world and is testament to the innovative accomplishments that can be attained at the University of Oregon.

The Division of Equity and Inclusion sponsors these awards, which are administered annually to individuals and institutions whose activities embody Dr. King’s values.

Dr. Kennedy and the SOJC will be honored at the Martin Luther King Jr. Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, Jan. 21, in the Ford Alumni Center Ballroom.


Story by Katie Maclean ‘15