Introducing CCIM Class Spotlight, a new series designed to explore the variety of classes offered across our college—from our signature courses to our newest class offering. In this blog post, Journalism Assistant Professor Gabriel Tait talks about a new course he will be teaching this Fall titled “Discussing Race & Empowerment”.

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What is the class about?

The JOUR 495/5–Discussing Race & Empowerment class is a special-topics course that seeks to foster critical conversations and reflections about issues related to race and student empowerment.

Could you describe the “light bulb moment” that led you to create this course?

The last two years I have taught a Diversity and Media course to our journalism students. During our classes a number of students have talked about being arrested, followed while shopping, and the challenges of trying to find their voice in a constantly changing society. Each time I hear how our students are affected by racism and biases my heart breaks. This class is a response to the aforementioned issues and was birthed following discussions between our department chair Dr. Johnny Sparks and Dan Waechter, assistant dean of CCIM curriculum. My approach is to provide an innovative class opportunity where our students can address, participate and develop an appropriate response to social concerns they have.

What is your teaching philosophy?

My teaching philosophy is multimodal. I use structured engagement and participatory approaches to disarm students and move them to a place where they will want to participate in the difficult conversations. I have learned these type of interactions produce great opportunity for change.

What teaching methodology will you use for this class?

Addressing the various learning styles, I will use a combination of experiential discussions, electronic media, case study reflection, and community interaction and mobilizations.

What are your learning objectives?

At the end of this class experience, students will be able to:

  • Engage historic and contemporary issues related to race and culture in America.
  • Define and discuss key ideas and concepts related to White Fragility and Antiracist paradigms.
  • Analyze and evaluate cultures and context as a basis for authentic relationship building.
  • Develop and mobilize a student driven class project on a social issue in the Muncie community.

What material will be studied in class?

There will be two New York Times best-selling books that will serve as the foundation for class discussions:

  • Ibram X. Kendi, How To Be An Antiracist. (S.l.: VINTAGE, 2020).
  • Robin J DiAngelo, White Fragility: Why It’s so Hard for White People to Talk about Racism (S.l.: Allen Lane, 2019).

Various videos and articles related to privilege and social movements will be used and discussed as needed.

JOUR 495/5 will be taught using a “hy-flex” learning model. What does it mean for students?

At this time, the class will meet face to face utilizing a “hy-flex” learning model. In other words, students may not meet in person all three days each week but the course will cover all student learning objectives. As part of this hy-flex instructional model, I will accommodate classroom density and other safety measures. The particular details are still being worked out.

Are there any prerequisite to this class?

There are no prerequisites for this class.

How will students will be evaluated?

Students will be evaluated several ways; 1) an Authentic Assessment model will be utilized, and 2) an end of the semester team project.

What kind of students do you expect in your class?

All students are welcome. We are looking for students that have a heart for community, social justice and change and are committed to positively addressing an issue of importance.

Finish the sentence: You will get an A in this class if you…

… are actively present in class and produce work that teaches the professor about your group’s passion.

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Interested in joining the class?

  • Speak to your academic advisor or follow the course registration process outlined here and look up JOUR 495/5.
  • For more information, please contact Dr. Gabriel Tait at


Gabriel Tait Dr. Gabriel Tait is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Journalism. He is the Visual Communication division head for the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC). Dr. Tait’s research areas include photojournalism, diversity, and media, participatory photography, the role photography plays in constructing and representing cultural identities. He also created his visual research methodology called, “Sight Beyond My Sight” (SBMS). Dr. Tait has published in diverse journals and publications including Visual Communication Quarterly (VCQ), Newspaper Research Journal, On Knowing Humanity (OKH) Journal, and the Encyclopedia of Christianity. Dr. Tait’s tenure as a photojournalist spans nearly 30 years, working at the Detroit Free Press, St. Louis Post-Dispatch and several other newspapers.