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Released March 17, 2004


HATTIESBURG -- The Accrediting Committee on Journalism Education recommended at a meeting this past weekend that the School of Mass Communication and Journalism at The University of Southern Mississippi be given a one-year provisional accreditation status. The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC) will weigh the recommendation at a meeting April 30- May 1.

"Having been present at the accrediting council's discussions and knowing exactly what issues they'd like us to address further, I have no doubt that we will have this fully resolved within the next year," said Dr. Elliott Pood, dean of the College of Arts and Letters at Southern Miss.

"Quite a few programs nationwide receive provisional re-accreditation at one point or another, and that's simply an indication that there are couple of items we need to address."

At the start of the 2001-2002 academic year, the former Department of Journalism and Department of Radio, Television, and Film merged to form the School of Mass Communication and Journalism. At that time, the Department of Journalism held accreditation from the ACEJMC; however, the RTF Department was not accredited.

This year, 2003-2004, is the year during which the Journalism department was scheduled to be re-evaluated for accreditation. Instead, because of the merger, the entire School of Mass Communication and Journalism was reviewed for its initial accreditation as an academic unit. A self-study was submitted to ACEJMC last fall, and a site visit took place February 1-4.

The site-visit team recommended provisional accreditation for the School of Mass Communication and Journalism at the conclusion of its visit. Accrediting Council decisions fall into three categories--accreditation, provisional accreditation, and denial.

"The meanings of full accreditation or denial of accreditation are self-evident. A unit may receive provisional accreditation when the council has found deficiencies that can be corrected in a relatively short time, at most a year," said Dr. David Goff, director of the Southern Miss School of Mass Communication and Journalism.

On March 13, the site-visit team's recommendation was supported unanimously by the Accrediting Committee of ACEJMC at a meeting in Chicago. The committee's recommendation goes to the full Accrediting Council at a meeting in Cambridge, Mass., in May. According to Susanne Shaw, executive director of ACEJMC, "A program granted provisional accreditation does not lose any of the privileges of accreditation."

Goff said, "The accreditation review is a valuable diagnostic tool for a program. Historically, the former Journalism department was reviewed for accreditation three times, and received a provisional recommendation twice."

"The present school structure includes elements that had never been reviewed for accreditation. The fact that we achieved a recommendation for provisional accreditation in our third year of existence is an affirmation that we have done well and are on track for a recommendation for full accreditation in 2005."


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM