Sept. 16, 2000 | amended August 2009
Mission of journalism and mass
communications | top
The mission of journalism and mass communications professions in a democratic society is to inform, to enlighten and to champion freedom of speech and press. These professions seek to enable people to fulfill their responsibilities as citizens who mean to govern themselves. They seek to help people protect,
pursue and promote their rights and interests in their personal lives
and in their work in public and philanthropic service, in commerce and
industry, and in the professions.
Mission of education in journalism
and mass communications | top
Professional programs should prepare students with a body of knowledge
and a system of inquiry, scholarship and training for careers in which
they are accountable to:
- the public interest for their knowledge, ethics, competence and service;
- citizens, clients or consumers for their competencies and the quality
of their work; and
- employers for their performance.
Commitment to diversity and inclusiveness
To inform and enlighten, the professions of journalism and mass communications
should understand and reflect the diversity and complexity of people,
perspectives and beliefs in a global society and in the multicultural
communities they serve.
Programs seeking accreditation should develop curricula and instruction
that educate faculty and prepare students with the multicultural knowledge,
values and skills essential for professional practice.
Programs should document their efforts to ensure the representation of
women and people of diverse racial and ethnic identity in the student
body and faculty and to expand these students' opportunities for entry
into the communications professions.
Institutional uniqueness | top
The Accrediting Council does not define specific curricula, courses or
methods of instruction. It recognizes that each institution has its unique
situation, mission, and resources, and this uniqueness is an asset to
be safeguarded. The Council judges programs against the objectives that
units and institutions set for themselves and against the standards that
the Council sets forth for preparing students for professional careers
in journalism and mass communications.
Curricular balance | top
The content and quality of a student's entire degree program are of vital
educational importance and are the responsibility of journalism and mass
communications units. To ensure that units monitor carefully each student's
entire degree program for appropriate balance between liberal education
and professional preparation, the Council requires that students take
a minimum of 80 semester hours (or 116 quarter hours) in courses outside
the major area of journalism and mass communications, with no fewer than
65 semester hours (or 94 quarter hours) in the liberal arts and sciences.
The Council urges journalism and mass communications programs to advise
students to acquire appropriately supervised experience in campus media
and professional internships.
The journalism and mass communications
degree | top
The Council embraces the value of a liberal arts and sciences curriculum
as the essential foundation for professional education in journalism and
mass communications. Professional education applies the knowledge and
perspectives of arts and sciences disciplines to the understanding of
the modern world and to the evolution and workings of diverse communities
Professional values and competencies
Individual professions in journalism and mass communication may require
certain specialized values and competencies. Irrespective of their particular
specialization, all graduates should be aware of certain core values and
competencies and be able to:
- understand and apply the principles and laws of freedom of speech
and press, for the country in which the institution that invites ACEJMC is located, as well as receive instruction in and understand the range of systems of freedom of expression around the world, including the right to dissent, to monitor and criticize
power, and to assemble and petition for redress of grievances;
- demonstrate an understanding of the history and role of professionals
and institutions in shaping communications;
- demonstrate an understanding of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and, as appropriate, other forms of diversity in domestic society in relation to mass communications.
- demonstrate an understanding of the diversity of peoples and cultures and of the significance and impact of mass communications in a global society.
- understand concepts and apply theories in the use and presentation
of images and information;
- demonstrate an understanding of professional ethical principles and
work ethically in pursuit of truth, accuracy, fairness and diversity;
- think critically, creatively and independently;
- conduct research and evaluate information by methods appropriate to
the communications professions in which they work;
- write correctly and clearly in forms and styles appropriate for the
communications professions, audiences and purposes they serve;
- critically evaluate their own work and that of others for accuracy
and fairness, clarity, appropriate style and grammatical correctness;
- apply basic numerical and statistical concepts;
- apply tools and technologies appropriate for the communications professions
in which they work.
Assessment of student learning
The Council seeks to promote student learning and encourages experimentation
and innovation. The Council evaluates curricula and instruction in the
light of evidence and expects programs seeking accreditation to assess
students' attainment of professional values and competencies.
Assessment is a system of evaluation of student learning at the course
or unit level (as opposed to grading at the individual level). Three criteria
should guide assessment of student learning:
- Awareness: familiarity with specific information, including facts,
concepts, theories, laws and regulations, processes and effects.
- Understanding: assimilation and comprehension of information, concepts,
theories and ideas.
- Application: competence in relating and applying skills, information,
concepts, theories and ideas to the accomplishment of tasks.
Student learning is evaluated to:
- develop curriculum, improve teaching, and enhance student learning;
- document what students have learned; and
- provide accountability.
Evaluation of student learning also enables the Council and its representatives
to make fairer and more consistent judgments across units and programs.
for assessment plans | top
The Council in September 2001 adopted a schedule for the development
and implementation of assessment plans. Schools seeking accreditation
or re-accreditation were required to have plans for the assessment of
educational outcomes by September 2003 and to collect information for
assessing student learning during the 2003 – 2004 academic year.
Schools were required to begin applying findings from the assessments
to improve curricula, instruction and learning by September 2004.
The Council has published a guide to assessment already in use by accredited schools. Copies
were sent in October 2001 to administrators of all accredited schools.
Additional copies are available (contact Cheryl
Klug for more information).
The Council recommends that accredited schools accept for transfer from
junior colleges no more than 12 semester hours (or equivalent) in journalism
practitioners | top
The Council recognizes that, although the academic community must firmly
control academic policies and programs, the accrediting process provides
a means by which practitioners have a voice in evaluating the teaching
of professional practice. They also can participate in the wider effort
of the academic community to formulate educational standards.
The Council tries to keep the burden of accreditation as light as possible.
It recognizes the time and expense involved in preparing the self-study
report and in hosting the visiting team. It endeavors to respect the institution
under review and to minimize in every way the distractions and expense
of the process.