Communication/journalism department receives accreditation


On May 3, Shippensburg University’s communication/journalism department received full accreditation from the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC).

“ACEJMC accreditation signifies our commitment and ability to provide programs of the highest quality at Shippensburg University,” Dr. Barbara G. Lyman, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, said.

“To offer a communication/journalism program with the stamp of this accreditation puts us in company with Penn State and Temple. At the same time, here at Shippensburg students can participate in, manage, and lead the various student media groups including the student-run radio, television, and newspaper as well as yearbook, gaining high impact experiences that prepare them for their futures.”

The department began its goal for accreditation nearly seven years ago. In the fall of 2006, a consultant from the ACEJMC visited the department and gave feedback on which standards were not up to accreditation certification. Of the nine standards, the department was compliant with six. The areas that needed improvement were diversity, course assessment and curriculum revision.

After five years of working to improve those areas, a site visit was conducted in 2011, which resulted in the department receiving provisional accreditation.

In fall 2012, two ACEJMC representatives visited the department and spoke with students in communication/journalism classes and student media groups to evaluate the department’s progress.

The representatives, Dr. Will Norton Jr., dean of the Meek School of Journalism at the University of Mississippi, and Dr. Judy VanSlyke Turk, professor in the School of Mass Communications at Virginia Commonwealth University, recommended the department for full accreditation. Their recommendation was vital to the council’s final decision.

“The accreditation process was definitely a journey,” Dr. Ted Carlin, communication/journalism professor said. “Seven years of talking, tweaking and testing. The department never wavered in its commitment to its students.”

“The decision of the ACEJMC Council is welcome news,” Dr. Joseph Borrell, associate professor and department chair said. “Faculty in this program work long hours helping communication/journalism students prepare themselves for careers after graduation in such areas as media and public relations. The rigorous review of the Department of Communication/Journalism by ACEJMC’s outside experts confirms the strength of our program.”

Shippensburg University’s communications/journalism program is one of 111 worldwide to receive the accreditation of ACEJMC, the only program in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) network and the third statewide.

According to ACEJMC’s website, the organization “establishes educational requirements and standards and provides a process of voluntary program review by professionals and academicians, awarding accredited status to units that meet its standards.

In this role, the Council assures students, parents, journalism and mass communications professionals, and the public that accredited programs meet rigorous standards for professional education.”

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