ACEJMC Accrediting Standards

The revisions approved by the Council in September 2012 are reflected in the following standards.
Revisions wentinto effect September 2013. The current standards language can be found here. The nine standards were adopted in September 2003. They went into effect in September 2004 and were applied in accreditation reviews in the 2005 - 2006 academic year. The previously used 12 standards are archived here.


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Standard 1. Mission, Governance andAdministration
Standard 2. Curriculum and Instruction
Standard 3. Diversity and Inclusiveness
Standard 4. Full-Time and Part-Time Faculty
Standard 5. Scholarship: Research, Creative and Professional Activity
Standard 6. Student Services
Standard 7. Resources, Facilities and Equipment
Standard 8. Professional and Public Service
Standard 9. Assessment of Learning Outcomes


Preamble

Institutional uniqueness

The Accrediting Council does not define specific curricula, courses or methods of instruction. It recognizes that each institution has its unique situation, cultural, social or religious context, 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 in the United States and in other nations. ACEJMC will apply its standards and indicators in compliance with applicable laws and regulations and, where appropriate, with religious or cultural prescriptions and practices.

Format for each standard

Each begins with a statement of the basic principle of the standard.

Indicators

Units should demonstrate that they meet the expectations defined for each of the indicators. However, the site team may recommend a waiver of the expectations for any indicator if the unit provides a compelling reason for the waiver. In such cases, the team must provide justification in the site report for its decision as part of its discussion of the standard. Units requesting evaluation of their professional master’s program(s) are expected to demonstrate how those graduate programs meet all appropriate indicators.
Visit teams will not specify compliance/non-compliance for each individual indicator, but will state judgments of compliance/non-compliance for each standard as is currently done.

Evidence

Each standard concludes with a list of various forms of documentation and evidence that the unit should include in its self-study report to demonstrate that it meets the expectations defined for indicators. The site team will supplement this evidence by inspection of the facilities and equipment, by observation of the activities of the unit, by meetings and interviews with university administrators and faculty from other units and with unit faculty, staff and students, and by calls to professionals who hire the unit’s students as interns and full-time employees.
The list of evidence for each standard is only a guide to possible forms of evidence.


1. Mission, Governance and Administration

The policies and practices of the unit ensure that it has an effectively and fairly administered working and learning environment.

Indicators:

(a) The unit has a written mission statement and a written strategic or long-range plan that provides vision and direction for its future, identifies needs and resources for its mission and goals and is supported by university administration outside the unit.
(b) The unit has policies and procedures for substantive faculty governance that ensure faculty oversight of educational policy and curriculum.
(c) The unit's administration provides effective leadership within the unit and effectively represents it in dealings with university administration outside the unit and constituencies external to the university.
(d) The institution and/or the unit defines and uses a process for selecting and evaluating its administrators.
(e) Faculty, staff and students have avenues to express concerns and have them addressed.

Evidence:

A written mission statement
A written strategic or long-range plan with date of adoption/revision and any timeline for achieving stated goals
A faculty policy manual, handbook or other document specifying the roles of faculty in governance
and the development of educational policy
Minutes of faculty meetings, committee meetings and reports
Evaluation of unit administrator by faculty and by administration outside the unit
Files on searches and hiring decisions for administrators
Files on concerns and complaints


For units requesting evaluation of a professional master's program:

Indicators:

(a) The unit has a separate written mission statement and a written strategic or long-range plan that provides vision and direction for the professional master's program's future, identifies needs and resources for its mission and goals and is supported by university administration outside the unit.
(b) The unit has designated administrative oversight of the professional master's program as well as policies and procedures that ensure faculty oversight of educational policy and curriculum in the professional master's program.

Evidence:

A written mission statement
A written strategic or long-range plan with date of adoption/revision and any timeline for achieving stated goals
Documents demonstrating administrative oversight for the professional master's program
A faculty policy manual, handbook or other document specifying the roles of faculty in governance and the development of educational policy for the professional master's program.

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2. Curriculum and Instruction

The unit provides a curriculum and instruction, whether on site or online,
that enable students to learn the knowledge, competencies and values the Council defines for preparing students to work in a diverse global and domestic society.

Professional Values and Competencies:
The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications requires that, 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 current tools and technologies appropriate for the communications professions in which they work, and to understand the digital world.

Units requesting evaluation of a professional master's program must also demonstrate how their professional master's graduates attain this additional core competency:

• contribute to knowledge appropriate to the communications professions in which they work.

 

Indicators:

(a) The unit requires that students take a minimum of 72 semester credit hours (or 104 quarter credit hours) required for a baccalaureate degree outside of journalism and mass communications and meet the liberal arts and sciences-general education requirements of the institution. ACEJMC expects at least 95 percent of the graduating classes in the two academic years preceding an accreditation visit to meet these requirements.
(b) The unit provides a balance among theoretical and conceptual courses, professional skills courses, and courses that integrate theory and skills to achieve the range of student competencies listed by the Council.
(c) Instruction, whether on-site or online, is demanding and current, and is responsive to professional expectations of digital, technological and multimedia competencies. Achievements in teaching and learning are recognized and valued.
(d) Student-faculty classroom ratios facilitate effective teaching and learning in all courses; the ratio in skills and laboratory sections, whether on-site or online, should not exceed 20-1.
(e) The unit advocates and encourages opportunities for internship and other professional experiences outside the classroom and supervises and evaluates them when it awards academic credit. Schools may award academic credit for internships in fields related to journalism and mass communications, but credit should not exceed six semester credits (or nine quarter credit hours).
Students may take up to two semester courses (or their quarter equivalent) at an appropriate professional organization where the unit can show ongoing and extensive dual supervision by the unit's faculty and professionals. 
Students may take up to three semester courses (or their quarter equivalent) at a professional media outlet owned and operated by the institution where full-time faculty are in charge and where the primary function of the media outlet is to instruct students.

Evidence:

Student records and transcripts
Unit bulletins and brochures
Syllabi and course materials that demonstrate students are provided with instruction to enable them to acquire digital, technological and multimedia competencies in keeping with professional expectations
Records of teaching awards and citations, curricular and course development grants,
   attendance at teaching workshops, and publications and papers on teaching
Class rosters of skills courses
Records and statistics on and evaluations of internships, with and without academic credit

For units requesting evaluation of a professional master’s program:

Indicators:

(f) At least half of the required credit hours are in either professional skills or that integrate theory and skills appropriate to professional communication careers.

(g) Instruction and curricular requirements for professional graduate students are more advanced and rigorous than for undergraduate students, including courses open to both undergraduate and graduate students.

Evidence:

Course syllabi and other documents demonstrating the unit has a professional graduate curriculum that prepares master's degree graduates for significant professional careers that provide leadership and influence
Graduate student records and transcripts
Undergraduate student records and transcripts demonstrating student experience equivalent to liberal arts education

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3. Diversity and Inclusiveness

The unit has an inclusive program that values domestic and global diversity,
and serves and reflects society.

Indicators:

(a) The unit has a written diversity plan for achieving an inclusive curriculum, a diverse faculty and student population, and a supportive climate for working and learning and for assessing progress toward achievement of the plan. The diversity plan should focus on domestic minority groups and, where applicable, international groups. The written plan must include the unit’s definition of diversity and identify the under-represented groups.
(b) The unit’s curriculum fosters understanding of issues and perspectives that are inclusive in terms of domestic concerns about gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. The unit’s curriculum includes instruction in issues and perspectives relating to mass communications across diverse cultures in a global society.
(c) The unit demonstrates effective efforts to recruit women and domestic minority faculty and professional staff and, where feasible, recruits international faculty and professional staff.
(d) The unit demonstrates effective efforts to help recruit and retain a student population reflecting the diversity of the population eligible to enroll in institutions of higher education in the region or population it serves, with special attention to recruiting under-represented groups.
(e) The unit has a climate that is free of harassment and all forms of discrimination, in keeping with the acceptable cultural practices of the population it serves, accommodates the needs of those with disabilities, and values the contributions of all forms of diversity.

Accreditation site visit teams will apply this standard in compliance with applicable federal and state laws and regulations, as well as the laws of the countries in which non-U.S. institutions are located.

Evidence:

A unit-specific written plan, including progress toward goals
Syllabi and other course materials
Coursework in international cultures and in international communication
Records and statistics on faculty and staff hiring and on promotion and tenure decisions
Records and statistics on student recruitment, retention and graduation
Records on part-time and visiting faculty and speakers

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4. Full-Time and Part-Time Faculty

The unit hires, supports and evaluates a capable faculty with a balance of academic and professional credentials appropriate for the unit’s mission.

Indicators:

(a) The unit has written criteria for selecting and evaluating the performance of all full-time and part-time faculty and instructional staff.
(b) Full-time faculty have primary responsibility for teaching, research/creative activity and service.
(c) Credentials of the unit’s faculty represent a balance of professional and scholarly experience and expertise kept current through faculty development opportunities, relationships with professional and scholarly associations, and appropriate supplementation of part-time and visiting faculty.
(d) The unit regularly evaluates instruction, whether on-site or online, using multiple measures that include student input.
(e) The faculty has respect on campus for its university citizenship and the quality of education that the unit provides.

Evidence:

Faculty and staff manuals or relevant policy procedural documents
Vitae for full-time and part-time faculty
Course evaluations and other methods of determining teaching effectiveness
Evaluation process for annual review of faculty contributions and performance
Search and hiring records

For units requesting evaluation of a professional master’s program:

Indicators:

(f) Faculty members teaching in the graduate program meet the criteria for graduate instruction at that university.
(g) Graduate faculty teach the majority of professional master's courses.

Evidence:

Faculty vitae that demonstrate a clearly defined graduate faculty who meet the criteria for graduate instruction at that university.
Schedules of master's courses taught

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5. Scholarship: Research, Creative and Professional Activity

With unit support, faculty members contribute to the advancement of scholarly and professional knowledge and engage in scholarship (research, creative and professional activity) that contributes to their development.

Indicators:

(a) The unit requires, supports and rewards faculty research, creative activity and/or professional activity.
(b) The unit specifies expectations for research, creative activity and/or professional activity in criteria for hiring, promotion and tenure.
(c) Evaluation criteria for promotion, tenure and merit recognition account for and acknowledge activities appropriate to faculty members’ professional as well as scholarly specializations.
(d) Faculty members communicate the results of research, creative and/or professional activity to other scholars, educators and practitioners through presentations, productions, exhibitions, workshops and publications appropriate to the activity and to the mission of the unit and institution.
(e) The unit fosters a climate that supports intellectual curiosity, critical analysis and the expression of differing points of view.

Evidence:

Faculty guides or manuals on tenure and promotion
Records of sabbatical and other leaves, travel funds and grant support
Records on faculty promotion, tenure and other forms of recognition
Faculty vitae and unit reports on research and creative and professional activities

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6. Student Services

The unit provides students with the support and services that promote learning and ensure timely completion of their program of study.

Indicators:

(a) Faculty and/or professional advising staff ensure that students are aware of unit and institutional requirements for graduation and receive career and academic advising.
(b) Faculty are available and accessible to students.
(c) The unit keeps students informed about the activities, requirements and policies of the unit.
(d) The unit and the institution provide students with extra-curricular activities and opportunities that are relevant to the curriculum and develop their professional as well as intellectual abilities and interests.
(e) The accredited unit must gather, maintain and analyze enrollment, retention, graduation rates and other aggregate information for improving student services and reducing barriers to student success. The unit annually publishes retention and graduation information on its website.

Evidence:

Student records, transcripts and files
Advising guides, manuals, newsletters and internal communication
Statistics on enrollment, scholarships, retention and graduation
Website where retention and graduation data are annually and clearly made available to the public
Examples of student media and information about student professional organizations

For units requesting evaluation of a professional master’s program:

Evidence:

Documents and records demonstrating that the graduate program has appropriate admissions and retention policies.
Statistics on graduate enrollment, scholarships, retention and graduation and a Web link where the unit regularly publishes this data.

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7. Resources, Facilities and Equipment

The unit plans for, seeks and receives adequate resources to fulfill and sustain its mission.

Indicators:

(a) The unit has a detailed annual budget for the allocation of its resources that is related to its long-range, strategic plan.
(b) The resources that the institution provides are adequate to achieve the unit's mission. The resources are fair in relation to those provided other units.
(c) The facilities of the unit enable and promote effective scholarship, teaching and learning.
(d) The institution and the unit provide faculty and students with equipment or access to equipment to support its curriculum and the research, creative and professional activities of the faculty.
(e) The institution and the unit provide sufficient library and information resources to support faculty and student research and professional development.

Evidence:

A detailed budget
Tour of buildings and review of equipment
Details of private annual fund-raising efforts
Details of unit endowments for faculty chairs and professorships, programs, scholarships and other restricted accounts

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8. Professional and Public Service

The unit and its faculty advance journalism and mass communication professions, fulfilling obligations to its community, alumni and the greater public.

Indicators:

(a) The unit consults and communicates regularly with its alumni and is actively engaged with alumni, professionals and professional associations to keep curriculum and teaching, whether on site or online, current and to promote the exchange of ideas.
(b) The unit provides leadership in the development of high standards of professional practice through such activities as offering continuing education, promoting professional ethics, evaluating professional performance, and addressing communication issues of public consequence and concern.
(c) The unit contributes to the improvement of journalism and mass communication as academic disciplines by supporting the faculty’s involvement in academic associations and related activities.
(d)  The unit contributes to its communities through unit-based service projects and events, service learning of its students and civic engagement of its faculty.
(e)  The unit supports scholastic journalism through such activities as faculty workshops, visiting lectures and critiques of student work.

Evidence:

Faculty vitae
Unit records, brochures and publications of public service activities related to its mission and strategic plan
Alumni newsletters, surveys, advisory boards, social media initiatives, reunions and other activities
Travel and other support for faculty involvement in academic and professional organizations
Information about courses and services available to professionals and the public

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9. Assessment of Learning Outcomes

The unit regularly assesses student learning and applies results
to improve curriculum and instruction.

Indicators:

(a) The unit defines the goals for learning that students must achieve, including the “Professional Values and Competencies” of this Council. (See 2. Curriculum and Instruction .)
(b) The unit has a written assessment plan that uses multiple direct and indirect measures to assess student learning.
(c) The unit collects and reports data from its assessment activities and applies the data to improve curriculum and instruction.
(d) The unit maintains contact with its alumni to assess their experiences in the professions and to provide suggestions for improving curriculum and instruction.
e) The unit includes members of journalism and mass communication professions in its assessment process.

Evidence:

A written statement on competencies
A written assessment plan
Evidence of alumni and professional involvement in assessment, such as: surveys, advisory boards, social media initiatives, portfolio reviews and other activities
Records on information collected from multiple measures of assessment and on the application of this information to course development and improvement of teaching, ensuring that the assessment findings have been systematically gathered, synthesized and applied
End-of-year unit summary assessment report and analysis

For units requesting evaluation of a professional master’s program:

Evidence:

A separate written statement on competencies
A separate written assessment plan
Records on information collected from multiple measures of assessment and on the application of this information to course development and improvement of teaching, ensuring that the assessment findings have been systematically gathered, synthesized and applied.
Annual graduate program summary assessment reports

Evidence could include results and actions from indirect and direct measures that demonstrate a graduating cohort’s mastery of ACEJMC’s professional values and competencies and of analytical and critical thinking abilities appropriate to the professions.  Measures could include: exit survey or interviews, comprehensive examination, professionally oriented project or thesis, portfolio.


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