LETTER FROM THE CHAIR
Dear Journalism Alumni:
Since 1979, our department has been accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC). We are among approximately 100 schools nationally and internationally that are ACEJMC accredited and one of only three in the state of Ohio. Accreditation works on a six-year cycle, which means that every six years we are re-evaluated by the ACEJMC. The re-accreditation process involves a lengthy self-study document, a three-day visit from a site team made up of academics and journalism professionals, and final approval by the ACEJMC’s Accrediting Council.
During the past year, it was once again our turn to go through the accrediting process, and I’m happy to report that we have been fully re-accredited for another six years. After the self study and the site team’s recommendation for re-accreditation, we received final approval from the Accrediting Council at the end of April.
This is certainly great news for the department of journalism and public relations, our alumni and our current and future students. I know first-hand from meeting with prospective students and parents that accreditation is an important “selling point” and one of the things that allows us to continue to attract the best and brightest students. For example, the fact that the accrediting agency mandates maximum skills class sizes of 20 students in this era of pressure from administration to increase class sizes wherever possible is always something that prospective students and parents appreciate.
The accreditation process is a lot of work, however, and it is also relatively expensive. In addition to the yearly dues, there is also the expense of the site team visit every six years and the ensuing trips to the Accrediting Committee and Accrediting Council meetings to discuss our case. Like almost everyone else, we are facing shrinking budgets, and there is no doubt that the money we spend on remaining accredited could instead be put to other good uses.
That said, we as a faculty are committed to accreditation because we believe that it has real value for our current students, future students and our alumni. However, one of my first thoughts upon driving home from the Accrediting Council meeting in April at which we had received our final re-accreditation approval was, “there are going to be a whole lot of changes happening between now and 2015.” We all know about the changes taking place in the journalism profession and the media as a whole, and we are also acutely aware of the challenges and changes that will face higher education in the coming years. Will these changes make accreditation less valuable to us the next time around?
I certainly don’t know the answer to that question, but I would like to hear your input. As an alumnus of the department, do you think it is important that we remain accredited? Please feel free to contact me via e-mail, through our Facebook page, via phone or even in person to let me know how you feel. Given our five-year cushion before we have to start the self-study process again, we’ve got some time to think and consider.
I have to say, though, that one of the nicest things about the self-study process is putting down on paper all of the wonderful things that our faculty, students and alumni do. Although we’re a comparatively small group, we do a lot of great stuff here in West Hall, in Northwest Ohio and both nationally and internationally. You have, of course, read about a lot of these things in our newsletters over the years. There are also the more mundane things like advising, student records, maintaining facilities and equipment and assessment of learning outcomes that happen behind the scenes but that are the precursors of many of the great things you read about. It all goes into making the department of journalism and public relations an outstanding program.
Speaking of the newsletter, this is our first newsletter that will be delivered exclusively online. We are still developing our final format for online delivery and our hope is to put out the newsletter more often. Be sure to watch these (web) pages for updates. As always, we welcome your input and participation.
Dr. Jim Foust, chair
Department of Journalism and Public Relations