This past weekend, I joined 35 academics, editors and other professionals at the 2-day ACEJMC accreditation site training workshop in Arlington, VA. The full name for ACEJMC is the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.
From my vantage point this weekend, I became impressed with the ACEJMC mission and the devotion to the future of the communication profession by workshop volunteer leaders Peter Bhatia, editor of The Oregonian; Doug Anderson, dean of the College of Communications at Penn State; Trevor Brown, professor emeritus of the School of Journalism at Indiana University; Pam Luecke, head of the Department of Journalism & Mass Communications at Washington and Lee University, and Carla Lloyd, professor at the Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University. Peter Bhatia chairs the Accrediting Council, which has the final say in whether a college gets ACEJMC accreditation after review by the Accrediting Committee. Peter also serves on the Accrediting Committee, on which I am the newest member—hence, my need to attend this workshop.
To date, 115 colleges have received accreditation for their journalism and mass communication programs. It is not a nonchalant process for the respective colleges or the panel of academics and professionals who conduct the 3-day site visits. Colleges begin by submitting extensive self assessment documentation prior to the accreditation team visit. College programs are judged on nine criteria:
Mission, Governance and Administration
- Curriculum and Instruction
- Full-time and Part-time Faculty
- Student Services
- Resources, Facilities and Equipment
- Professional and Public Service
- Learning Outcomes
The site visit team presents a draft of its findings to the university prior to departing campus, noting their recommendation for accreditation, provisional accreditation or denial. Provisional accreditation allows the school two years to come into compliance, while accreditation stays in effect for six years.
ACEJMC Executive Director Susanne Shaw manages the program from her office at the University of Kansas. I’m intrigued by anything that helps raise the standards and credibility of communication programs, so I look forward to my 2-year tenure on the Accrediting Committee and my first site visit.