ACEJMC Ascent logo

v. 10, #3
October 2003

Also i n this issue:
Principles of accreditation amended
Assessment plans should be on the books now
Graduate reviews still under study
Conflict of interest policy amended
Ceppos appoints three committees
School discussion agendas to be more structured
Briefs
Updates
Calendar

Masthead & contact information

Council adopts revised standards

The Accrediting Council in September adopted a new set of accrediting standards. This action was the final step in a process that lasted more than two years. The revisions represent the most significant changes to the standards since the current set of 12 standards was adopted in 1984.

The most obvious differences are that the new set numbers nine standards rather than 12, and it includes an entirely new standard focused on assessment. The committee that developed the revisions reduced the total number by combining the content areas of several of the current standards.

Schedule for implementation
The new standards were adopted Sept. 5, 2003. They will become effective in September 2004, and they will be applied in accreditation reviews starting in the 2005 – 2006 academic year.

Schools to be visited during 2005 – 2006 should prepare their self-studies based on the new standards. In practice, this means that the Council staff will prepare new self-study documents for distribution in late summer of 2004.
Council members Saundra Keyes, Caesar Andrews (top) and Don Flores discuss implications of the new standards during a break in the September meeting.

Test cases
To ease the transition, two teams visiting schools during 2004 – 2005 will prepare two separate reports for the Accrediting Committee and the Council. Each team will write one report based on the existing standards and forms and another report structured to match the new standards. Both team chairs and both school administrators volunteered for this shakedown cruise.

Decisions about these schools’ accrediting status will be based on the existing standards and forms. The reports based on the new structure are intended to get the Committee and Council accustomed to the new presentation, and to gain experience that can be provided to teams the following year.

Details of difference
The new standards differ in presentation as well as number. Each begins with a statement of the basic principle of the standard. Following this is a list of five indicators. For each standard, units will be expected to demonstrate compliance with all five indicators. If the unit can present a compelling justification for doing so, the site team is allowed to recommend a waiver of compliance with an indicator. The team’s report must justify this recommendation.

Following the indicators are lists of evidence that schools could use to demonstrate compliance with the indicators. The list of evidence for each standard is only a guide to possible forms of evidence; schools need not present all, and can present other items in addition.

Click to: revised standards | current standards.

Schedule in brief
September 2003: new standards adopted
late summer 2004: new self-study forms distributed
September 2004: new standards become effective
September 2005 and thereafter: new standards used in accrediting reviews

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Principles of accreditation amended

The Council in September 2003 made three alterations to its Principles of Accreditation. Two changes take into account the interest in accreditation by schools outside the United States. The Council removed references to the First Amendment, referring instead to the freedoms and principles underlying it and expecting programs abroad to teach and promote these principles.

The third change strengthens the Council’s statement on ethical practice.

The changes in the principles will go into effect in September 2004.

Click to: the changes in detail.

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Assessment plans should be on the books now

It’s simple: All accredited schools should have assessment plans in place now.

According to the schedule adopted by the Council two years ago, all schools must have plans in place for assessment of educational outcomes by the beginning of the 2003 – 2004 academic year; must act on these plans to collect information during this year; and must begin applying findings from the assessments to improve curricula, instruction and learning starting in the 2004 – 2005 academic year.

Plans to be reviewed, collected
The Council decided at its September meeting to ask site visit teams to attach schools’ assessment plans to team reports. The plans therefore will become public documents. The plans will be collected, analyzed and made available to schools that request assistance with further development of their own plans.

The Council may drop this request in a few years when team members, the Accrediting Committee and the Council have become more familiar with how plans work in practice.

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Graduate reviews still under study

The Council at its September meeting backed away from a proposal for fully separate reviews of professional master’s programs. Instead, the committee that developed the proposal will examine the newly adopted standards to find places where criteria could be added, expanded or adapted to apply to graduate programs.

The proposal represented the latest step in a long process of revamping the Council’s methods for reviewing master’s programs. It was based on the new standards and criteria adopted for undergraduate reviews, with some additions and alterations to apply to graduate programs.

Tom Bowers and Barbara Hines examine the graduate review proposal.

Change pending
In May 2002, the Council voted to fold a more rigorous review of master’s programs into the current process. Site visit teams were to make evaluations of standards compliance separately for undergraduate programs and master’s programs, and were to make separate overall recommendations of accreditation status at the two levels. However, this change was suspended until the Council approved a set of criteria to apply to graduate programs.

A big pill to swallow
The committee’s proposal provided those criteria and a process for separate reviews. The Council discussed it at length. Major concerns were the increased burden on schools and teams, increased costs that probably would result and duplication of effort.

In the end, members decided not to adopt the proposal as presented, although they praised the committee for clarifying the nature of graduate education and offering a process whereby programs could continue to define their goals in widely varying ways.

The next step
Council President Jerry Ceppos appointed new members to seek ways to combine the committee’s previous work with the newly revised standards. He asked Mary Ann Ferguson, chair of the committee, to stay on, to be joined by new members Beth Barnes, Tom Bowers, David Rubin and Linda Shipley.

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Conflict of interest policy amended

Consultants no longer will be banned forever from taking part in evaluations of schools they have visited. The Council in September amended its policy on conflict of interest to allow consultants to return to the process 15 years after their involvement with the school.

Members pointed out that most consultants are basically disinterested and neutral in the first place. They also said that after 15 years circumstances at the school almost certainly would have changed substantially and that two accreditation cycles would have passed without the consultant’s influence.

The amended policy will go into effect in September 2004.

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Ceppos appoints three committees

Council President Jerry Ceppos has appointed members to three committees. A newly created group, the Planning and Procedures Committee, will consider long-term issues such as possible changes in length of the accreditation cycle and the duration of provisional accreditation.

Nominations Committee
Jan Dates (chair), School of Communication, Howard University; Don Flores, editor and executive vice president, El Paso Times; and Doug Anderson, dean, College of Communications, Pennsylvania State University

Graduate Review Committee
Mary Ann Ferguson (chair), professor, Department of Public Relations, College of Journalism and Communications, University of Florida; Beth Barnes, director, School of Journalism and Telecommunications, University of Kentucky; Tom Bowers, senior associate dean, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of North Carolina; David Rubin, dean, School of Public Communications, Syracuse University; and Linda Shipley, associate dean, College of Journalism and Mass Communications, University of Nebraska

Planning and Procedures Committee
Will Norton (chair), dean, College of Journalism and Mass Communications, University of Nebraska and Council vice president; Saundra Keyes, editor, The Honolulu Advertiser; Jerry Ceppos, vice president for news, Knight Ridder and Council president; Terry Hynes, dean, College of Journalism and Communications, University of Florida; and Jackie Jones, senior lecturer of communications, College of Communications, Pennsylvania State University

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School discussion agendas to be more structured

The Council agreed at its September meeting to organize its discussions regarding accreditation decisions more formally, with the intent of fostering greater consistency. The agendas for discussions of schools by the Committee and Council will be more structured than before.

Members decided to place at the top of the agenda schools found to comply with all standards. They also decided to discuss consecutively those schools seeking initial accreditation and to do the same with those schools for which the team has recommended provisional accreditation. Members hope this will help to achieve more consistency in discussions and decisions.

Because of existing commitments, the 2004 Committee meeting will not adhere strictly to this structure, but subsequent Committee meetings and spring Council meetings will do so.

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Briefs

Michael Perkins dies in kayaking accident
Michael Perkins died Aug. 14 in a kayaking accident on the Salmon River in central Idaho. He had been chair of the Department of Communications at Brigham Young University since 2001.

Perkins worked as a reporter at the Deseret News, Provo, Utah, and the Albuquerque (N.M.) Journal, and he taught at Drake University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He held a law degree and had recently been named head of the media law division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.

Edward Adams has been named chair of the department at Brigham Young.

Click to more information

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Updates

National Association of Hispanic Journalists
NAHJ has named Ivan Roman its new executive director, replacing Anna Lopez.

Florida A&M University
Robert Ruggles has announced his retirement as dean of the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication. James Hawkins was named interim dean; he is associate dean and chair of the Division of Journalism, the accredited unit within the School. Ruggles had been dean since 1974, when the School was founded.

University of Illinois
Ron Yates has been named interim dean of the College of Communication. He replaced Kim Rotzoll, who has retired.

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Calendar

Accrediting Committee
March 13 – 14, 2004
Michigan Avenue Westin Hotel
Chicago

Accrediting Council
April 30 – May 1, 2004
Sheraton Commander Hotel
16 Garden St., Cambridge, Mass.
Meeting location: The Nieman Foundation, host

Accrediting Council
Sept. 10 – 11, 2004
Michigan Avenue Westin Hotel
Chicago

Accrediting Committee
April 2 – 3, 2005
Michigan Avenue Westin Hotel
Chicago

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ACEJMC Ascent
Newsletter of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications

Vol. 10, No. 3, October 2003

President, Accrediting Council
Jerry Ceppos
Vice President for News
Knight Ridder
50 W. San Fernando St., Ste. 1500
San Jose, CA 95113
(408) 938-7830

Vice President, Accrediting Council
Will Norton
Dean, College of Journalism and
Mass Communications
University of Nebraska
Lincoln, NE 68588-0443
(402) 472-3041

Chair, Accrediting Committee
Beth Barnes
Director, School of Journalism
and Telecommunications
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY 40506-0042
(859) 257-2786

Vice Chair, Accrediting Committee
Doug Anderson
Dean, College of Communications
201 Carnegie Building
Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA 16802
(814) 863-1484

Executive Director
Susanne Shaw
Stauffer-Flint Hall
1435 Jayhawk Blvd.
University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS 66045 - 7575
(785) 864-3986
e-mail: sshaw@ku.edu

Publications Editor
Charles Higginson
Stauffer-Flint Hall
1435 Jayhawk Blvd.
University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS 66045 - 7575
(785) 864-7640
e-mail: crah@ku.edu

Council Website:
http://www.ukans.edu/~acejmc

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