Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications Votes to Reaccredit Baylor University Department of Journalism, Public Relations & New Media

May 23, 2022
Reaccreditation

Contact: Mia Moody-Ramirez, Baylor University Journalism, Public Relations & New Media Chair 254-710-7247 | Mia_Moody@baylor.edu | https://www.baylor.edu/journalism/

WACO, Texas (May 22, 2022) – The final vote at the April 2022 Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications Council meeting confirmed the reaccreditation of the Baylor Department of Journalism, Public Relations & New Media for the next six years.

The department met rigorous requirements and is among the top-tier schools in journalism education in the nation. There are 117 schools accredited by ACEJMC; 114 are fully accredited and three are provisional. Accreditation is a voluntary process that requires participating universities to conduct a rigorous self-examination of nine standards—including, curriculum, learning outcomes, diversity, leadership, funding, and resources, Mia Moody-Ramirez, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, said.

After completing a self-study, a site visit team of educators and professionals visited in November to assess changes and updates in the department since the last site visit in 2016. To improve the overall aesthetics of the department, faculty and staff added new artwork and furnishings in the hallway, classrooms and head office. Each classroom has ergonomic chairs and tables to help facilitate a comfortable, collaborative learning environment.

“We’ve been busy since our last self-study and site visit,” Moody-Ramirez said. “Most notably, we improved diversity in curriculum, endowed several new scholarships, reinstated an advisory board and created a Friends of the Department Council.”

Since the November site visit, we launched an online MA program, and relaunched the American Studies Program (to raise visibility and increase enrollment numbers). On the horizon is an online broadcast sequence, launching in the fall of 2022.

The final report from the site visit team included a list of strengths, including faculty operating on all cylinders, student media awards and curriculum updates. Weaknesses emphasized assessment, particularly the lack of values and competences clearly mapped to ACEJMC’s curriculum.

“There is a (assessment) plan, but it needs some real specific things to get to mapping,” the site team leader noted. “The committee is confident it (unit) will get to that point.”

Other strengths: students are comfortable and feel they have a compassionate faculty who make them feel safe; faculty are productive in teaching, scholarship and creative endeavors, especially for their size; faculty have strong connections to their professions, which inform the curriculum; the department chair has the respect of the administration in the college and the greater campus (she provided leadership for notable progress in fundraising, alumni engagement and diversity efforts despite the difficulties brought on by the pandemic); faculty were resilient and remained productive through the pandemic (they were a source of support for the students). Finally, the department has made strides since the last site visit with diversity efforts in its curriculum.

Weaknesses: There may be a need for better channels of communication from the chair to the faculty; the facility is lacking; a flexible space for a broadcast studio is going to be critical for the department to be successful with its new broadcast concentration. Finally, the assessment plan lacks clearly defined goals, methods, instruments of measurement (direction on how data is analyzed and reported, and in using this data).

“We have met to discuss what we can implement right away,” Moody-Ramirez said. “For strategic planning, we will meet with the Baylor Office of Institutional Effectiveness to improve student-learning outcomes assessment for long-term goals.”

Some changes will take time. Long-range goals will be implemented over the course of the next few years, the Chair noted.

“We are working to close the loop and use feedback from portfolio reviews, pre- and post-exams and outside evaluators to update curriculum and improve courses,” she said. “It will take time to see a difference, but the outcome will be worth the work we put into it.”

In addition to ACEJMC, the department is required to file an annual report for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), Baylor University’s accrediting body. SACS is recognized by the United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Ben Cox, Ph.D., Baylor University’s Director of Institutional Planning and Assessment, will work with the department to help align reporting for ACEJMC with what is already collected annually for the SACS accreditation report.

“We want to keep the process meaningful and manageable for faculty involved in the process,” Cox said in an email.
WACO, Texas (May 22, 2022) – The final vote at the April 2022 Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications Council meeting confirmed the reaccreditation of the Baylor Department of Journalism, Public Relations & New Media for the next six years.

The department met rigorous requirements and is among the top-tier schools in journalism education in the nation. There are 117 schools accredited by ACEJMC; 114 are fully accredited and three are provisional. Accreditation is a voluntary process that requires participating universities to conduct a rigorous self-examination of nine standards—including, curriculum, learning outcomes, diversity, leadership, funding, and resources, Mia Moody-Ramirez, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, said.

After completing a self-study, a site visit team of educators and professionals visited in November to assess changes and updates in the department since the last site visit in 2016. To improve the overall aesthetics of the department, faculty and staff added new artwork and furnishings in the hallway, classrooms and head office. Each classroom has ergonomic chairs and tables to help facilitate a comfortable, collaborative learning environment.

“We’ve been busy since our last self-study and site visit,” Moody-Ramirez said. “Most notably, we improved diversity in curriculum, endowed several new scholarships, reinstated an advisory board and created a Friends of the Department Council.”

Since the November site visit, we launched an online MA program, and relaunched the American Studies Program (to raise visibility and increase enrollment numbers). On the horizon is an online broadcast sequence, launching in the fall of 2022.

The final report from the site visit team included a list of strengths, including faculty operating on all cylinders, student media awards and curriculum updates. Weaknesses emphasized assessment, particularly the lack of values and competences clearly mapped to ACEJMC’s curriculum.

“There is a (assessment) plan, but it needs some real specific things to get to mapping,” the site team leader noted. “The committee is confident it (unit) will get to that point.”

Other strengths: students are comfortable and feel they have a compassionate faculty who make them feel safe; faculty are productive in teaching, scholarship and creative endeavors, especially for their size; faculty have strong connections to their professions, which inform the curriculum; the department chair has the respect of the administration in the college and the greater campus (she provided leadership for notable progress in fundraising, alumni engagement and diversity efforts despite the difficulties brought on by the pandemic); faculty were resilient and remained productive through the pandemic (they were a source of support for the students). Finally, the department has made strides since the last site visit with diversity efforts in its curriculum.

Weaknesses: There may be a need for better channels of communication from the chair to the faculty; the facility is lacking; a flexible space for a broadcast studio is going to be critical for the department to be successful with its new broadcast concentration. Finally, the assessment plan lacks clearly defined goals, methods, instruments of measurement (direction on how data is analyzed and reported, and in using this data).

“We have met to discuss what we can implement right away,” Moody-Ramirez said. “For strategic planning, we will meet with the Baylor Office of Institutional Effectiveness to improve student-learning outcomes assessment for long-term goals.”

Some changes will take time. Long-range goals will be implemented over the course of the next few years, the Chair noted.

“We are working to close the loop and use feedback from portfolio reviews, pre- and post-exams and outside evaluators to update curriculum and improve courses,” she said. “It will take time to see a difference, but the outcome will be worth the work we put into it.”

In addition to ACEJMC, the department is required to file an annual report for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), Baylor University’s accrediting body. SACS is recognized by the United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Ben Cox, Ph.D., Baylor University’s Director of Institutional Planning and Assessment, will work with the department to help align reporting for ACEJMC with what is already collected annually for the SACS accreditation report.

“We want to keep the process meaningful and manageable for faculty involved in the process,” Cox said in an email.

Goals include:

•Maintain an accredited department.
•Advocate for student, faculty and staff growth and development.
•Market, recruit, retain and ensure inclusivity for a diverse group of students and faculty.
•Ensure a variety of internship experiences, and employment or graduate school admission for our undergraduates.
•Monitor graduate outcomes, refine processes and curriculum, and update our curriculum framework to meet our students’ future professional challenges.
•Strengthen the department’s communication channels (internally and externally).
•Develop facilities to meet the future needs of students, faculty and staff.
•Grow scholarship/excellence funds.
•Recruit high-achieving students.
•Strengthen alumni engagement (advisory board; friends of the department, social media contacts, homecoming activities).
•Maintain a culture of collaboration.
•Increase the inclusion of full-time and adjunct faculty.
•Alleviate faculty fears caused by changes in the department, Baylor University and industry.
•Identify and implement strategies to boost the morale of faculty and staff.

ACeJMC Re-Acreditation