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Journalism: Undergraduate Programs


The School of Journalism offers a bachelor of arts degree, with emphases in international journalism, border reporting, and science and environmental journalism. The School’s mission is to provide students with the intellectual foundation and professional skills that are essential for journalists working in a global information age.

The Journalism bachelor’s degree program has been accredited since 1964 by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. Under accrediting guidelines, skills classes are limited to 20 students, who receive extensive feedback from the faculty about their research, writing, visual, and oral presentations.

The school also offers a minor in journalism during the summer for students from other majors who are interested in an immersive journalism experience. 


Expected Learning Outcomes: 
  • Role of the press:  The student will be able to describe the role of the press in a democracy, as well as the historical and contemporary relationships among the press, the public and the government. The student also will be able to articulate the relevance of journalism to individuals, institutions and society.
  • Independence: The student will apply the principles of freedom of speech and the press, and explain how these principles include the rights to monitor and criticize those in power, as well as to dissent.
  • Law: The student will recognize the legal frameworks in which the rights and responsibilities of the press have evolved in the United States and countries around the world and will be able to cite national constitutions, case law, statutes, policies, and international laws, as well as the social, political, and cultural contexts of those frameworks.
  • Ethics: The student will apply ethical principles in work, whether professional or academic, and work ethically in pursuit of truth, accuracy, fairness, and diversity.  The student will describe the philosophical foundations of ethical decision-making.
  • Critical thinking: The student will recognize and describe the ways in which political, economic, cultural, and social factors influence, and are influenced by, the information that the news media present.  The student will demonstrate creativity and independence in reporting and writing.
  • Diversity: The student will demonstrate an ability to work as a journalist serving diverse, communities in a global society, including the complexities of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, and other forms of diversity. The student will demonstrate an understanding of the digital divide at home and globally.
  • Theory: The student will be able to describe fundamental communications theories as they relate to the use and presentation of information and images.
  • Numeracy: The student will be able to perform basic mathematical computations, evaluate statistical data, including public opinion polls, and detect innumeracy in the work of others.
  • Research: The student will effectively gather and critically evaluate information through interviews, observation, public records, and other methods central to journalism.
  • Writing: The student will show that he or she writes correctly and clearly with attention to style, spelling and grammar, as well as clarity, accuracy and fairness.
  • Technology: The student will demonstrate knowledge of software for video, photographic, and online storytelling, as well as other technologies used by the profession. The student will be able to describe the relationship among journalism, information technology, and society, and the ways in which technological developments affect the content and dissemination of news.
Assessment Findings: 
Results of Pre-and Post-Tests and Writing Tests for AY '15-16
Outcome Pre-Test Post-Test Difference
Role of the Press 52% 76% + 24%
Independence 52% 76% + 24%
Law 39% 46% +7%
Ethics -- Test 72% 89% +17%
Ethics -- Writing 2.08 (of 5) 3.2 (of 5) +1.1
Critical Thinking 2.18 3.8 +1.62
Diversity  54% 56% +2%
International Journalism 47% 55% +8%
Media Theory 51% 57% +6%
Numeracy -- Test 63% 67% +4%
Numeracy -- Writing 2 3.3 +1.3
Accuracy 2.1 3.8 +1.7
Writing -- Test 47% 68% +21%
Writing -- Written article 2.12 3.9 +1.78
Technology comfort level 27% 39%


See attachments below for the full results from AY '12-'13, AY "13-'!4 and AY '14-'15.  The pre- and post-tests of 50 questions is attached below, as is the writing test and rubric for grading.  Both the writing test and the pre- and post-test have been given to all students for the last four years, resulting in a robust data set that has aided in revising the curriculum.

Change in Response to Findings: 

The 2016 findings reveal that increases emphasis on law and numeracy throughout the curriculum helped students achieve the outcomes in those areas, with strong improvement in law.  The diversity findings in 2015-16 are a concern and will be discussed at the faculty retreat in August.  In addition, the faculty will review the technology findings to ascertain whether increased emphasis on digital storytelling platforms should be emphasized outside of the photo and multimedia classes. 

As a result of the 2014-15 findings on numeracy, faculty spent more time emphasizing data and the use of numbers.   As a result, numeracity scores among graduating seniors increased between 2014 and 2015. 

The 2015 findings were be discussed at the August faculty retreat, with particular attention to diversity and law. In addition, the increased comfort level of students in social media will factor into the revisions in the editing syllabus for the '15-'16 academic year. Students are arriving with a strong comfort level in the use of social media, and the challenge will be to apply journalistic thinking and standards to their use of social media so they can better differentiate among platforms for best and most effective use. 

In addition, our survey of intern coordinators, followed by in-person interviews with the external coordinators, has resulted in an emphasis on professionalism and professional conduct in some of the core classes. And, as a result of the writing test and exit interviews with seniors, the core broadcast sequence of classes was revised in AY '14-'15  to include an additional broadcast writing and broadcast techniques class earlier in the undergraduate experience.  

Interviews with alumni and recent graduates has resulted in a stronger emphasis on social media in the editing curriculum, a revision that will begin in Fall 2015.

Student surveys conducted in Spring 2013 revealed student interest in several new classes, which were created in AY '14, including Writing Reviews, Travel Writing and Broadcast Techniques.





Updated date: Thu, 06/02/2016 - 09:40