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Rev. Dr. Joan R. Harrell

Rev. Dr. Joan R. Harrell, Journalism Lecturer and inaugural Diversity Coordinator in the AuburnUniversity School of Communication and Journalism received an Inclusive Excellence Award fromthe Auburn University Office of Inclusion and Diversity when she was a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Auburn University School of Communication and Journalism in the fall of 2017. This grant gave her the opportunity to write, create and implement intergenerational interfaith dialogical truth-telling programming, add a course to the CMJN curriculum and launch the digital site, Becoming the Beloved Community, features photographs and videos recorded and stories written by Auburn University students. Becoming the Beloved Community also offers a safe and brave communal space for members of the public square to talk face to face about their real lived

experiences of racism, sexism, classism, and xenophobia with their neighbors who are not

marginalized because of the color of their skin, culture, sexual orientation or religion.

She teaches News writing, Feature Magazine Writing, Literary Journalism, History of Journalism, and JRNL 4970-003 Special Topics courses; Faith and Communities, The Intersectionality of Media, Race, and Vulnerable Populations, and Feature Magazine Writing: Religion, Race, and Politics. Harrell is an award-winning journalist, ordained, American Baptist minister, Cohort in the Vanderbilt University Divinity School Public Theology and Racial Justice Collaborative, former senior associate editor of the Journal of Healthcare, Science and the Humanities and crisis communications practitioner (2008-2015) for Trinity United Church of Christ of Chicago when the church was politically attacked after it’s parishioner, Senator Barack Hussein Obama became the first African American to become a candidate for the U.S. Democratic Party’s Presidential Primary.

She has published numerous scholarly articles about the intersectionality of media, sacralized

racism, politics, public health inequities, and American Christianity. Dr. Harrell invited students and colleagues, Professor Nan Fairley, Julie Bennett, and their students to become members of the Becoming the Beloved Community Collaborative.

Professor Nan Fairley

Nan Fairley is an associate professor of the School of Communication & Journalism at Auburn University.  She was the recipient of the 2011 AU Award for Excellence in Faculty Outreach and was named a College of Liberal Arts Engaged Scholar. She works with Dr. Mark Wilson on the CLA Living Democracy project and is in her 26th year of teaching journalism.

The philosophy of pushing students “beyond the interstate” has been a cornerstone of her journalism classes. She believes that the educational experience is much richer when students see the impact they can have in communities.  Students in her spring 2018 JRNL 4470 Advanced Magazine/Feature Writing class spent weeks interviewing and producing in-depth packages focused on Becoming the Beloved Community.

Professor Julie Bennett

Julie Bennett is an adjunct professor teaching photojournalism at Auburn University. She is an award-winning photographer, videographer and former photo staff manager who has spent the last 15 years telling Alabama’s stories through the state’s most influential newsrooms. Julie is a 2001 graduate of the Auburn University Department of Communications and Journalism. For the Beloved Community project, Julie's JRNL 3410 photojournalism students captured the moments surrounding the march across campus, reflections from Sarah Collins-Rudolph and community forums held at the museum. 


Becoming the Beloved Community Team (BTBC)

Director Multimedia and Web Designer, Monique "Ty" Cowan

Web Designer, Santoria Dunlap

Digital Designer, Jaylin Goodwin

BTBC Videographer, Tae Kim 

(LaFayette, Moss and Collins-Rudolph)

Public Relations, Kate Stewart

Social Media, Taylor Jordan

BTBC Writers

Melissa Mitchell

Amy Robertson

Melissa B. Manuel. Ph.D.

Cathlene Cowart

Ingrid Schnader

Madison Harvey

Monique Ty Cowan

Olivia Taylor  

Courtney Shea

Chris Heaney

Marisa Connally

Ashton Brock

Morgan Kirkland


Auburn University Office of Inclusion and Diversity


Alabama Rural Ministry

Auburn University School of Communication and Journalism

Auburn Ministerial Association

Auburn University Black Student Union

Auburn University College of Liberal Arts Office of Communications and Marketing

Auburn University Harold A. Franklin Society

Auburn University Muslim Student Association

Auburn University Wesley Foundation

Islamic Center of Auburn

Jule Collins Smith Museum

Macon County Ministers Council

Tuskegee University Wesley Foundation

Johnny Green, PhD, Auburn University, Vice President of Student Affairs

The Rev. Dr. John Wells Warren, Priest and Chaplain, Auburn University St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church

Mark A. Wilson, PhD, Director, Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities

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