Archive for the ‘Accreditation’ category

St. Pat’s in Chicago

March 17, 2012

Inside a conference room in downtown Chicago today, the national Accrediting Committee unanimously recommended reaccreditation of Elon’s School of Communications.

Meanwhile, outside, thousands of revelers were decked out in green as a parade passed by in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. In fact, as the day inside wore on, I took a walking break to the Chicago River, which for more than 40 years has been dyed an Irish green on St. Pat’s Day. Here is the scene via my iPhone.

Back to the inside action. The Accrediting Committee vote was anticipated in light of the highly positive report issued last fall by a site team that spent four days at Elon on behalf of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC). The last step in the six-year renewal process will occur next month in Arlington, Virginia, when the Accrediting Council take the final action.

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Accreditation Celebration

October 12, 2011

The team watches the school's video at the start of the visit

For three days, a national accrediting team walked the halls of the School of Communications, visiting classes, interviewing faculty, hearing students, and delving deeply into our self-study.

Today, they presented President Lambert a 49-page report that refers to the growth in the School’s quality and quantity as “nothing short of spectacular,” citing talented faculty, enthusiastic students and an innovative leadership team as keys to building “a positive educational environment … with an exemplary culture of collegiality.”

The team’s findings: Compliance on all standards and a recommendation for full reaccreditation of the undergraduate program and initial accreditation of the three-year-old graduate program.

Penn State Dean Doug Anderson presents the report to me

While this is the outcome we worked toward and expected, we still celebrated knowing that leading educators and professionals from all over the country were impressed at what they found at Elon. You can read their summary of School strengths and challenges here.

National accreditation is the highest benchmark of program quality. In our discipline, this evaluation comes from the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC).

Elon is one of only 18 private universities with an accredited communications school, along with Columbia, Syracuse, Northwestern, Miami, Southern Cal and Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile. In all, 112 colleges and universities in the world have an accredited communications program.

The team’s recommendations will be formally acted upon by the Accrediting Council next April.

Accreditation Redux

September 17, 2011

Elon’s School of Communications became nationally accredited in 2006, and the six-year renewal timetable is upon us.

Our upcoming site visit by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications will occur October 9-12, and we are ready. We forwarded a massive self-study to the team two days ago that was both a labor of love and, well, just pure labor.

The self-study asks us to list what has happened in the school in the past six years, and the length of that answer surprised us.

We implemented a new curriculum, established the M.A. in Interactive Media program, created the student agency Live Oak Communications, initiated the nation’s only undergraduate research journal in communications, converted to high-definition technology, enjoyed the national successes of student media, added a career services specialist in the school, originated and expanded summer programs in Los Angeles and New York City, founded the state’s Sunshine Center to promote government transparency, added Sport & Event Management as a new major, received the national Equity & Diversity Award in 2010, and welcomed Brian Williams as national chair of the school’s advisory board.

When the ACEJMC team comes to campus next month, they will visit with students and faculty, sit in classes, study our curriculum and budget, review our faculty scholarship and service, and talk with the provost and president.

Elon is one of 18 private universities in the nation with an accredited communications school, along with Syracuse, Northwestern, Columbia, Howard, Miami and Southern Cal. We are prepared to remain one.

A Moment of Change in Saudi Arabia

November 5, 2009
saudi-conversation2

Talking about U.S.-based accreditation with Saudi professors, who were gracious hosts; more than half of the department's professors have Ph.D. degrees from the U.S. or U.K.

RIYADH — Wanting to transition from a petroleum-based economy to a knowledge-based economy, Saudi Arabia now allocates about 25 percent of its national budget to education.

Still, for education to flourish, cultural change also will be needed — and I was an eyewitness to one small step.

On the final day of our accreditation consultation at King Saud University, another American dean and I met with two male and two female teachers in our hotel lobby. (No photograph was taken, and one of the women wore a full veil that covered even her eyes.)

The faculty members belong to the same Mass Communication Department and had talked on the phone before, but had never met face-to-face. Other than in fields such as medicine, that isn’t acceptable in the gender-separate culture of Islamic absolutism.

It showed in a dramatic way the power of American accreditation overseas. The pursuit of accreditation created this final-day conversation after we kept asking to meet faculty from the women-only campus some 20 miles away.

In time, the men’s and women’s campuses at King Saud University are to be side-by-side. And who knows, someday men and women may be in the same classrooms studying under the same teachers. After all, a new graduate-level university in the more-cosmopolitan Jeddah has co-educational classes, to the consternation of clerics.

But for now, in Riyadh, we witnessed an important breakthrough — male and female faculty in the same Mass Communication Department seeing each other for the first time.