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Making the grade

It’s December and classes are still in session. What’s up with that?

One student organization has organized Christmas carols sung by candlelight in front of Scripps Hall this coming Sunday. That never happened on the quarter system. Change, change, change.

BREAKING: The School of Journalism has been included in the 2013 College Media Matters 50 Best Journalism Schools and Programs

But in the midst of all of this unbridled change, I’m happy to report that one whole semester into this brave new world, I believe we are headed in the right direction.

The transition to semesters hasn’t been as bothersome as I thought it might be, probably because the university set up a long-range transition that helped us plan for just about every potential issue that might arise.

Our new curriculum has been accepted by students as logical (as well as flexible). Frankly, a lot was riding on the faculty of the school getting it right when it came to revamping the required course work. Does it mean that we won’t be tweaking a few things? No. In fact, the tweaking already is underway. But the changes are very minor, hardly perceptible.

Some rather significant (in fact, exciting) curriculum changes will be introduced for the Fall 2013 academic year, based on changes adopted by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, the body that re-accredits the school every six years. Stay tuned for details on those changes.

Accreditation site visit coming up

I should mention that we are up for re-accreditation this year, and will host the site visit team the first week of Spring semester. As always, we look forward to getting the team’s feedback for how to make the school even better in the years to come.

In case you are a current student and didn’t receive this email from me, I’m including a copy here:

This year the School of Journalism is up for re-accreditation, a process that happens every six years. During the first week of Spring semester, a team of accreditation visitors will be on campus to meet with faculty and students about the school. You are invited to be part of that important process. There are two opportunities for students to meet with the accreditation team. Please consider attending one or both of these:

(1) On January 14 (Monday), the first day of Spring semester, the site team will meet with students from 9:40 to 10:35 a.m. in Bentley 227. This is when the JOUR 3200 (Ethics) class meets, so if you already are enrolled in that course, you will be taking part in this meeting. But we have plenty of room for other students to attend this session, so would like to invite all other journalism majors to attend.

(2) On January 15 (Tuesday), the site visit team will divide up into two groups to meet with students by track from 9:00-10:00 a.m. The News & Information track will meet in Scripps 114; the Strategic Communication track will meet in Scripps 116. If you can attend this “track” based session, please stop by Scripps 105 and sign-up so we can know how many to expect. There is space for 40 students in each of these “track” sessions.

The school is enjoying what appears to be a surge in applications, judging from the reports we are getting from the Office of Institutional Research. As of today, we have 74 more applications than we had exactly one year ago. That’s a remarkable increase, which says something about how we are perceived among high school graduating seniors interested in studying journalism. It may also be a measure of the success of the 2012 High School Journalism Workshop, which had 90 students, including 30 recipients of minority scholarships. This is change for the better, to be sure.

Let me close this post by thanking all of the alumni who have worked to make the school better, either by donating time, talent, or treasure. The gifts they’ve have given have made a difference, I assure you. As the director of the school, I know that I can call on any number of them to speak with out current students in a class, or help them out with job or internship advice.

December 5, 2012

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