Site team recommends UA journalism program be re-accredited

The accreditation site team from the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication finished a three-day visit to the UA School of Journalism Jan. 25 and recommended re-accreditation for six more years.

The three-member team praised students for their level of engagement and faculty and staff for their experience and dedication. David Cuillier, interim director of the School of Journalism, said the team also was "amazed at what the school has accomplished during the past six years under the leadership of Jacqueline Sharkey, such as moving to a new building, increasing faculty from five to 18, obtaining school status, implementing course fees and program fees, increasing minority students from 19 percent to 32 percent, bolstering research and grants, improving the curriculum, and developing campus partnerships in international journalism and science/environmental journalism. They see the school as an up-and-coming national leader in journalism education, and they view faculty members' passion and  commitment to journalism as something that sets the program apart from other programs."

In particular, the accreditors listed the following strengths:

• Faculty with exceptional international media experience who attract outstanding international students

• Legacy of former director's leadership

• International thrust in programming and in personnel

• Value added education that prepares students to convey information in professions beyond the field of journalism

• Transition of directors that has enabled the school to maintain momentum

• Resourceful acquisition of funding

• Faculty scholarship

• Exceptional co-curricular opportunities for students

• High-level of engagement of students

• Support of scholastic journalism

The program didn't pass the assessment standard, said Cuillier, "because we still need to do more to systematically measure student learning, but we easily passed the other eight standards (governance, curriculum, diversity, service, research, student services and resources)."

The site team also provided suggestions for how the program could improve, including in assessment, increasing diversity among permanent faculty, boosting multimedia curriculum, and dealing with the strain of tight resources, particularly the lack of operations funds.

"Having looked at a lot of programs' accreditation reports, including our previous ones, I can say this was particularly positive and is a testament to the strength of the school," said Cuillier. "We can be proud of what we've accomplished over the past six years, and what we will accomplish in the future!"

More than 100 journalism programs at U.S. universities are accredited. The UA program has been accredited for more than 45 years.
Before the visit, the site team reviewed a report prepared by the school that ran several hundred pages. While in Tucson, team members interviewed faculty members, students and campus administrators and visited classes.
The next step in the accreditation process comes at a meeting of the accrediting committee of ACEJMC in Chicago March 16-17. Cuillier will attend. At the meeting, the committee will study the site-visit report, and vote on whether to accept the site-visit team’s recommendation. The final step will be an Accrediting Council meeting April 27-28 in Arlington, Va. The Council’s vote on whether to re-accredit the school will be binding.

Published Date: 

01/25/2012 - 3:08pm

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