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Director’s Letter: Telling Our Story

Author: perkinsk | Image: perkinsk

The tone of our 2014-15 academic year was set on August 6 at the Montreal convention of the Association for Education in Journalism and Communication: We stole the show. How? We had a story to tell about our decade-long efforts to promote equity and diversity. The Greenlee School not only is considered one of the top accredited programs in the country; we are also seen as collegial, multicultural, ethical, dedicated, and inclusive. It is time to spread the news.

This is a gift that we have given to ourselves, a climate that elevates the interests of the school over individual interests in service to the state of Iowa, our students and alumni. We have created a model workplace. Now we must continue to work every day to maintain it by doing what we professed in our
AEJMC speech:

* Embrace each other’s successes, as if they were your own.
* Value colleagues for their contributions rather than for their titles or rank.
* Do not elevate one type of experience, research or degree over another.
* Expose students to viewpoints that challenge social and political beliefs.
* Promote equity and diversity in all of your interactions.

These tenets are seamlessly interwoven in our website, social media, emails, texts, classrooms, faculty meetings and, lest we forget, “Good News from Greenlee.” We have an archive of that news on our home page, documenting our productivity and achievements which, over time, distinguished our school, culminating in four successive, positive external evaluations in the past decade—two program reviews for the Board of Regents and two re-accreditations from the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.

As a result, several Internet search engines and educational portals have ranked the Greenlee School among the best communication programs in the country. We must embrace that accolade in our classrooms, scholarship and interactions with current and prospective students, parents and families, alumni and benefactors, and collaborators and accreditors. We must tell our story and what we offer to our constituents, a true celebration of multicultural learning, critical thinking, ethical decision-making, technical prowess, and potent research.

In framing these messages, the Greenlee School Advisory Council and constituents challenged us to develop proof points to justify our ranking in the discipline. This was a great exercise, and we learned much about our standing. For instance, the Greenlee School is one of eight accredited schools within a public, land-grant, Research 1, AAU (American Association of Universities) institution. We are the only accredited program housed within an institution of science and technology.

> “We must tell our story and what we offer to our constituents, a true celebration of multicultural learning, critical thinking, ethical decision-making, technical prowess, and potent research.”

Our required 400-hour internships (the most rigorous in the country), scholarships (some $150,000 annually), placements (near 100%), successful alumni (captains of industry) and accreditation (continuous) also distinguish us. Moreover, we were among the first in the nation to publicize a transparency page to show graduation, retention and placement rates along with other metrics. Now all accredited programs must follow Greenlee’s lead.

The future also looks bright. Our academic advisers, student ambassadors, Advisory Council leadership and public relations instructors are to be complimented on the huge success of our PR degree. Already we have more than 200 PR majors, and the influx has not in any way affected our increasing enrollments in advertising (227 majors) and journalism (376 majors). We’re the largest unit in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the ninth largest at Iowa State.

Add to the above achievements of employees our soaring enrollment, near-100% placement rate, $6-million endowments, corporate partnerships, alumni success, state-of-the-art technology, and so many other features that not only underscore our top-program status but also prepare us for yet another re-accreditation.

Re-accreditation is one of our hallmarks and the most important fact of our top-program status because it bestows national recognition.

We will be working on our re-accreditation self-study in the months to come. We will send that off in the summer of 2015, with a site visit shortly thereafter.

Our efforts now will resound for decades to come.

Faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends are responsible for our upward trajectory.

Tell our story. Share our message. You have a leading role.