Do we need international accreditation of journalism/mass comm programs?

My school, the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at USC (University of South Carolina), is accredited by ACEJMC (Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications). This organization provides accreditation to 109 schools in the United States and 1 school outside the United States. Congratulations Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile!!!!!!  On LinkedIn, people are discussing questions such as: Should international schools seek accreditation? Should we create an international accrediting organization for international schools of journalism and mass communications?

Should international schools seek accreditation? People who say “yes” mention a) competitive advantage useful for marketing the school; b) easier to arrange student exchanges; c) helpful for placing students in jobs; d) more likely to obtain external funding; e) if ACEJMC, then assurance of adequate resources; and f) if ACEJMC, then mandatory self-assessment of program-level learning outcomes. People who say “no” mention: a) lengthy process—minimum of five years for ACEJMC accreditation; b) onerous, burdensome, bureaucratic; c) does not necessarily assure quality; d) disagreement with certain requirements, such as need to include more women and gays; need for fewer writing courses; and need to reach out to high school journalism programs; and d) difficult or impossible to achieve. I say “yes.” Accreditation would force schools to do things that they should do to ensure students receive a quality education, but that schools might not do because of expense, ignorance, or laziness.

Should we create an international accrediting organization? I don’t think so. Instead, I think that ACEJMC should discuss ways that it could adapt its standards to make them as useful and relevant for international schools as for U.S. schools.

Here are the nine standards for ACEJMC accreditation:

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


About keithrkenney
Keith Kenney is a professor of visual communication at the University of South Carolina. He is living in Tbilisi, Georgia, for a year. This blog is about several topics. "CSJMM-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management in Tbilisi, Georgia. "USC-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications (SJMC) at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. CSJMM and SJMC are recipients of a "Journalism School Partnership" program grant from the US Department of State. The purpose of this $750,000 grant is to improve CSJMM and ensure its sustainability. "Tbilisi, Georgia" is about Susanna Melo and my experiences in Tbilisi. "Columbia, SC" will be about our experiences in our home town--Columbia--when we return home. "Georgia" is about Susanna and my experiences when we travel in Georgia outside of Tbilisi. "United States" is about our experiences traveling in the US. "Films and Photography" is about two documentary films I'm working on in Georgia. One story follows how Adishi handles the rapid tourism that is being developed in Svaneti. The other story follows Tamaz Jalagania, who is a craftsman of swords and guns, an opera singer, and an extraordinary storyteller. "Scholarship" is about my current books, articles, reviews, and grants.

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