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Joan R. Harrell

Joan R. Harrell


Director of Inclusive Excellence, Dean's Office

Communication & Journalism

Dean's Office

Joan R. Harrell

Contact Me


232-H Tichenor Hall

Office Hours

Wednesday 2:00-5:00 pm or by appointment


DMIN, Chicago Theological Seminary

MDiv, Interdenominational Theological Center

MS, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

BS, Stephens College

About Me

Joan R. Harrell is the Director of Inclusive Excellence in the office of the Dean for the College of Liberal Arts and Lecturer in the School of Communication and Journalism. She has a Certificate in Diversity and Inclusion Leadership from Cornell University.

As a journalism educator, she intersects her local and international news experience with examining how marginalized people and communities, stereotypes, social and geographical locations, cultures, coded language, artificial intelligence, sustainability, health disparities, and unconscious bias, factor into the truth finding processes which journalists and media practitioners and communicators use, to research, investigate, conduct interviews, and verify facts.

She teaches journalism courses that engage emerging journalists, media, public relations and communication practitioners how to become intentional listeners, thorough researchers, conduct informative interviews, respect interviewees and their communities, and write compelling stories and opinion editorials for multimedia platforms.

Her scholarship and public engagement includes collaborating with descendants of the historic United States Public Health Service Syphilis Study at Tuskegee to tell their stories.

Before entering academia, she was a researcher and field producer at the ABC News Bureau in London, England; assignment editor for the CBS News Bureau and CSPAN in Washington, DC; associate producer for Alvin H. Perlmutter; and correspondent and associate producer for Bill Moyers in New York City. She worked as a local news reporter and anchor and received numerous awards. Her public relations skills and expertise afforded her opportunities to work as the Senior Vice of Programming in the Women’s Division of World Space Corporation, Vice President Walls Communications and Vice President of Media Relations for Hill and Knowlton Public Affairs Worldwide in Washington, DC.

She is the former associate senior editor of the Journal of Healthcare Science and the Humanities and freelance writer for Essence Magazine, Christian Century, The Huffington Post, We Talk, We Listen, and Sojourner’s Blog.

Rev. Dr. Harrell is also an ordained minister in the American Baptist Church, founder of the digital humanities project, Auburn University Becoming the Beloved Community, and member of the inaugural cohort in the Henry Luce Foundation Public Theology and Racial Justice Institute at Vanderbilt University Divinity School. She was honored as a guest lecturer for the "Theological Bioethics Within Marginalized Communities Series" at Harvard University Divinity School Center for the Study of World Religions.

She is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists. Her research investigates the intersectionality of narrative ethics, alterity, racism, media, social change issues, religion, womanist theology, bioethics communication, and public health injustices.

Research Interests

Intersection of bioethics, cultures, ethnicities, alterity, artificial intelligence, media ethics, religion and vulnerable populations