The School of Mass Communication and Journalism at The University of Southern Mississippi was re-accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education and Journalism in Mass Communications (ACEJMC) at the council’s meeting in Chicago May 6, 2016.
ACEJMC-accredited programs are reviewed every six years. The School of Mass Communication and Journalism completed a comprehensive self-study in preparation for a three-day visit by an ACEJMC site team that came to campus in November 2015.
“We are delighted—but not surprised—that the ACEJMC has recognized the strengths and range of the School of Mass Communication and Journalism,” said Dr. Maureen Ryan, dean of the College of Arts & Letters. “With programs ranging from Advertising to Media Production to Photojournalism, and more, MCJ is among the College of Arts and Letters most robust and important units."
Only 107 of the more than 500 mass communication and journalism programs in the United States are accredited by ACEJMC. The Southern Miss journalism program was first accredited in 1984.
“We couldn’t be more pleased about our reaccreditation,” said Dr. David R. Davies, director of the School of Mass Communication and Journalism. “Our faculty, students, and staff deserve all the credit for this milestone, particularly Dr. Fei Xue, who led the drafting of the self-study, and Dr. Chris Campbell, who served as director of the School through much of the accreditation period.”
The site team was led by Barbara Cochran, the Curtis B. Hurley Chair in Public Affairs Journalism at the Missouri School of Journalism. Other site team members were Mike Philipps, former president and CEO of the Scripps Howard Foundation; Rochelle Ford, chair of the Public Relations Department at the Newhouse School at Syracuse University; and Bill Silcock, associate professor of broadcast journalism at Arizona State University.
The team toured facilities, attended classes and met with the school’s students, faculty and staff and with university administrators. It found that the school was in compliance with eight of the nine ACEJMC standards. The nine standards cover mission, governance and administration; curriculum and instruction; diversity; full-and part-time faculty; scholarship, research and professional activity; student services; professional and public service; and assessment.
The team’s report described the school’s faculty as “committed to student success and readily available to consult and advise students.” It praised the university for moving the program into a newly renovated College Hall in 2013 and lauded the unit for its strong relationships with professional organizations in the region. The site team also noted that the school had won “national recognition for its commitment to diversity and inclusion.”
Davies said that the university and college support for MCJ was key to its reaccreditation. “The university’s support for a renovated College Hall was a huge step forward for the school, as were recent efforts by the College of Arts & Letters to enhance our budget for equipment,” Davies said. “The reaccreditation success was the result of a team effort.”