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Mass Communications and Journalism faces re-accreditation

NSU Mass Communication and Journalism students prepare to start taping a television show. (Photo from Norfolk State University)

NSU Mass Communications and Journalism students prepare to start taping a television show. (Photo from Norfolk State University)

by Daniel Smallwood

According to the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC), “accreditation in higher education is…public accountability and improvement of academic quality.” ACEJMC is the agency responsible for the evaluation of professional journalism and mass communications programs at colleges and universities.

Norfolk State University’s Department of Mass Communications and Journalism is up for re-accreditation with ACEJMC next year. A self-study of the department’s adherence to accreditation standards is due on Nov. 9.

“There are many challenges of the re-accreditation process,” said Dr. Nikhil Moro, Chair of the Department of Mass Communications and Journalism. “The challenges make us take a closer look at our assessments, what students are actually learning, and if there is a need to increase faculty members.”

Some benefits of re-accreditation are that the accreditation enhances the stature and reputation of a program.
“It builds a high program,” Dr. Moro said. “I want NSU to be a visible worldwide program. Another benefit is re-accreditation brings better resources and new elements which are very important.”

Norfolk State goes through a re-accreditation process every seven years with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and visits are made at six-year intervals with ACEJMC.

“ACEJMC and SACSCOC are two very different re-accreditation processes,” Dr. Moro said. “SACSCOC is a regional process, where ACEJMC is a national process.”

“The re-accreditation process is extremely comprehensive,” Associate Professor Dr. Wanda Brockington said. “It helps us see where we are and understand where we need to grow.”

ACEJMC claims that some benefits of accreditation are “accredited programs in journalism and mass communications offer the assurance that they have been evaluated by academic peers and leading practitioners and have met the test of the nine standards; accredited programs may offer scholarships, internships, and other activities unavailable in non-accredited programs; measuring the educational merit and relevance of the program; and an assurance that those entering journalism and mass communications are appropriately educated.”

Accreditation by ACEJMC is a measure of the program’s compliance with basic standards and of how well the program achieves its stated mission. ACEJMC does not rank programs or compare them with one another.

The ACEJMC accreditation site visit is scheduled for Feb. 19-22.