The mission of the School of Mass Communication and Journalism at The University of
Southern Mississippi is to prepare students for careers in advertising, broadcasting,
film, journalism and public relations and to foster an understanding of the important
role the mass media play in preserving First Amendment freedoms in a democratic society
and protecting those rights and freedoms in America’s diverse society. Because of
the make-up of the USM student body, the faculty specifically recognizes the school’s
opportunity to give voice to groups who have been historically underrepresented in
the mass media, and the school embraces the opportunity to educate students who are
the first from their families to attend college or are from demographic groups lacking
representation in the mass media. In addition, the school strives to:
- Make sure students receive a broad liberal arts background and benefit from a mass
communication and journalism curriculum that develops appropriate and current professional
skills as well as an understanding of the ethical responsibilities faced by media
- Create opportunities for students to practice newly acquired skills and training in
preparation for real world application through the Student Media Center and through
- Graduate a highly qualified pool of media professionals who are ready to enter the
workforce and prepared to make valid contributions to the profession and society at
- Support faculty members who produce important scholarly and creative work that contributes
significantly to the academy and the profession.
- Maintain healthy relationships with alumni and media professionals through the school’s
professional advisory board and other networking opportunities.
- Serve the community at large by creating 1) opportunities to teach individuals and
organizations how mass media can be utilized for the purpose of empowerment and 2)
service learning experiences for students and faculty to contribute to regional interests
through the media.
- Promote the school, its outstanding students and dedicated faculty and consistently
work toward the improvement of the school in terms of facilities, technology and reputation.
- Teach and routinely reinforce the professional values and competencies outlined by
- Develop proficiency in the essential practical skills long valued by media professionals:
information gathering; effective written, visual and oral communication; and production.
- Foster diversity and the coverage of diversity in the mass media in order to instill
knowledge of, respect for, and engagement with the diversity found in the population
of the area, state, and nation.
- Integrate knowledge of the evolving new media environment with the understanding of
the organization and operations, as well as the historical, social, political and
economic significance of traditional media forms.
- Prepare students for lifelong learning and advanced education as well as professional
careers by offering major course work that amplifies the liberal arts education provided
by the university’s general education core and by infusing the mass communication
curriculum with the study of theory, research methods, aesthetic principles and ethical
- Create an open and diverse learning environment in the classroom, in student media,
internships and other venues that foster critical and analytical thinking and stimulates
- Cultivate understanding of the global dimensions of media and mass communication education.
- Promote media literacy and knowledge of mediated communication as essential elements
of a university education.
- Foster the personal integrity that is vital to high standards of truth, honesty, fairness
and clarity necessary for successful careers in the Information Age.
- Produce theoretical and applied scholarship for those who work in and study media
institutions that adds to the understanding of the mass communication process and
its effects, the media industry, the legal and policy environments in which it exists
and the historical context from which it continues to evolve.
- Produce creative works that demonstrate and enhance proficiency in creative media
practice, either as works of artistic expression or as creative projects that serve
specific communication goals.
- Encourage the development of professional and creative activities through class projects,
student media, student organizations and other means that contribute to public discourse
that is crucial to a free and open society and enrich audiences by providing meaning,
context and inspiration.
- Serve the media industry, state, and region through applied research projects, training
activities and other endeavors.
Statement on Competencies
The School of Mass Communication and Journalism expects students to graduate with
a mastery of the professional values and competencies established by the Accrediting
Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC).
Graduates of the school’s programs should be able to:
- understand and apply the principles and laws of freedom of speech and press, including
the right to dissent, to monitor and criticize power, and to assemble and petition
for redress of grievances;
- demonstrate an understanding of the history and role of professionals and institutions
in shaping communications;
- demonstrate an understanding of the diversity of groups in a global society in relationship
- understand concepts and apply theories in the use and presentation of images and information;
- demonstrate an understanding of professional ethical principles and work ethically
in pursuit of truth, accuracy, fairness and diversity;
- think critically, creatively and independently;
- conduct research and evaluate information by methods appropriate to the communications
professions in which they work;
- write correctly and clearly in forms and styles appropriate for the communications
professions, audiences and purposes they serve;
- critically evaluate their own work and that of others for accuracy and fairness, clarity,
appropriate style and grammatical correctness;
- apply basic numerical and statistical concepts;
- apply tools and technologies appropriate for the communications professions in which