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Director’s Letter: Re-Accreditation in Sight

Author: perkinsk

Last year we let you know that the Greenlee School—among the longest, continuously-accredited journalism and mass communication programs in the country—was preparing for re-accreditation. Re-accreditation gives us national status. About 450 colleges and universities offer formal programs in journalism and mass communications and about 1,000 institutions offer some training in these fields. But only 115 enjoy full accreditation.

We were among the first to be accredited in 1948 and have maintained that status continuously to this day.

We undergo re-accreditation every six years. For the past two years the Greenlee School prepared for our Oct. 25–28 site visit by a prestigious team of academics and practitioners. Peter Bhatia, editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer, was chair.

In the summer of 2015, we sent the team our self-study, assembled by the Greenlee School’s standing committees. We sought compliance in each of the nine standards that ensure our advertising, journalism and mass communication, and public relations majors are receiving a quality education.

The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication evaluates programs to affirm that its values and competencies are addressed. Those values and competencies include understanding media law, history and ethics; appreciating inclusivity and other forms of diversity; demonstrating and applying theoretical principles; thinking critically; writing correctly and clearly across media platforms; mastering basic numerical and statistical concepts; and using tools and technologies in the communication industries.

The site team had a busy schedule, meeting with faculty, students, staff, and college and university administrators. It investigated our claims in the self-study and then used its final day at Greenlee to write its draft report.

Among the strengths of the school, the site team praised the leadership, the support of junior faculty, a demanding internship program, “off-the-chart” placement rates (almost 100 percent), faculty known for collegiality and quality instruction, and “motivated students who represent the school well across the campus and in the professions.”

### The following are excerpts from the ACEJMC site team’s accreditation report:

* Governance: The Greenlee School is a model for effective leadership, shared governance and smart planning. It is led by an outstanding director who has taken the school to new heights.

* Curriculum:
The Greenlee School has been meticulous in ensuring that students receive a strong liberal arts and sciences education. … Students receive a balance of theoretical and skills class within the school.

* Diversity:
Its student body has a higher percentage of ethnic minorities than the university or the state of Iowa. The curriculum and culture are inclusive of minority issues, events and discussion.

* Faculty:
The faculty members are dedicated, hard-working and respected by their colleagues across campus. They are committed to enhancing the program and preparing the students to become successful professionals upon graduation.

* Scholarship:
Faculty scholarship is plentiful and regular at Greenlee. Junior faculty report a supporting environment with clarity as to the path they should pursue to eventually gain tenure.

* Student Services:
The site team found the academic and career advising systems, extracurricular activities and online presentation of data meet accreditation standards. Upon graduation, students are prepared for diverse careers in a rapidly evolving profession.

* Resources:
In fact, creative use of space is the norm at Greenlee. Two years ago, the school converted an open lab and reading room into a digital newsroom.

* Public Service:
The school regularly consults and communicates with alumni. It serves the professions and the public by reinforcing the principles of journalism and mass communication education. The school manages public events, community service projects and various scholastic journalism activities.

* Assessment:
[The Greenlee School] has embraced assessment … including the crucial use of feedback to “close the loop,” thus improving, changing and evolving instruction.

The site team also said this about our self-study: “The self-study was outstanding, the result of a collaborative process that involved significant work in advance by faculty committees. It was printed and bound, making the site team’s work much easier. In addition, graphics and charts used extensive color. This was a model for doing it right.”

In sum, the Greenlee School was found in compliance on all nine standards. But our re-accreditation is not yet official. We’ll report on that in the next edition of the Glimpse.

For the moment, we are awaiting two more important meetings. One is scheduled March 19-20 in Chicago and another in early May. The Accrediting Committee reviews the self-study and site team report and makes a recommendation to the Accrediting Council. Then our status will be affirmed or modified.

Because we are going into these meetings with no non-compliances, we are optimistic about the rest of the process.

We are also optimistic about the future of the Greenlee School, whose enrollment has grown from about 600 students five years ago to 870 today—an increase of about 45 percent. We take pride in the accomplishments of our students, alumni, faculty and staff. Reading the pages that follow, you’ll be inspired by our students and your fellow alumni whose successes demonstrate the value of a Greenlee degree.