ETSU Mass Communication department loses accreditation - WFLA News Channel 8

ETSU Mass Communication department loses accreditation

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JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) -

East Tennessee State University's Mass Communication Department lost the backing of an accrediting body used by the nation's best journalism schools.

The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC) did not grant ETSU's Mass Communication school re-accreditation in May of this year.

The vote was 25 to 3.

News Channel 11 found out why the school was not re-accredited and what this means for students.

According to the ACEJMC's review, there are three areas where ETSU was found to be non-compliant.

They are mission, governance and administration; diversity and inclusiveness, and assessment of learning outcomes.

Accrediting team members said the communication department lacks a functioning organizational structure, it has no strategic plan, it does not have a head and barely operates as a single unit, it has failed to create a diversity plan, and failed to implement its assessment plan.

The Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at ETSU, Doctor Gordon Anderson, told News Channel 11 the review does not reflect poorly on the quality of the education with the communication department

"They had no significant issues with the curriculum we offer to students, the quality of the faculty, the faculty's teaching research, their public or professional service, and they were very impressed with our resources and facilities that we have, but they had some issues with the way we document assessment of student learning. They had some issues with the administrative structure, where the expectations have changed somewhat, and they had some issues with the diversity in our program," said Anderson.

So, what does this mean for students who attend the program?

Becoming accredited by the ACEJMC is a voluntary process, so the program will not be shut down.

However, according to the ACEJMC, accreditation status can have an impact on a student's job prospects.

ACEJMC said it is important to some employers that folks graduate from accredited programs because they know those programs meet the highest standards in communication education.

ETSU can re-apply for accreditation in two years.

ETSU spokesperson Joe Smith issued this statement on behalf of the university:

"ETSU students will continue to receive the high quality education as they have in the past. We believe the loss of accreditation will not negatively impact a student's ability to gain employment or pursue graduate work, as evidenced by the fact that 75 percent of mass communication programs in the United States are not accredited. ETSU has not decided whether or not to pursue accreditation again. Plans are in place to address the issues identified by the accrediting body."

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