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Communication Department Receives National Accreditation

Posted: May 16, 2008
Buffalo State’s Communication Department has become the only program in the State University of New York to receive national accreditation for teaching communication.

The decision came May 2 at a meeting of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, the national body that accredits professional programs in journalism, broadcasting, public relations, advertising and related fields.

Buffalo State is the only public institution among six schools in New York State that are accredited. The other schools are Syracuse, Hofstra, New York University, Iona and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. Buffalo State is among 112 colleges and universities nationwide holding ACEJMC accreditation, 15 percent of all institutions offering instruction in this professional field.

Department chair Ron Smith explained the significance of the accreditation:

“We see this as validation of what we offer our students: excellent teaching, an engaged and challenged student body, a professional and diverse curriculum, successful alumni, and a program with strong connections to the media community. This is a voluntary process in which we stand before our academic and professional colleagues and ask them to review what we offer students.”

Smith said the department prepared four years for accreditation by reviewing its 65 courses, instituting scholarships for students, and maintaining a strong record of faculty research and professional involvements.

A review team headed by Dr. Beth Barnes of the University of Kentucky spent four days on campus in October. Their review yielded a summary of the department’s strengths:

--Excellent reputation on campus
--Students who are engaged and enthusiastic
--Impressive student commitment to and understanding of diversity and ethics
--Excellent student relationships with both full-time and part-time faculty
--Comprehensive student preparation for careers
--Evidence of strong commitment to service learning in support of the Buffalo community
--Focused research and service to minorities through the department’s grant-funded American Indian Policy and Media Initiative

The review found the department in full compliance with seven ACEJMC standards dealing with mission/governance, diversity/inclusiveness, faculty, scholarship/research, student services, resources/equipment and professional/public service.

The team also found the department in partial compliance on two standards: a curriculum requirement that a majority of courses be taken outside the department, and an assessment plan that involves alumni and media professionals. Because the review noted that the department has already implemented changes and is nearing full compliance on those two standards, the Council granted a two-year status of provisional accreditation prior to its standard six-year re-accreditation decision.

In addition to college-wide accreditation by the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges (Commission on Higher Education), Buffalo State has been moving toward full accreditation of its various programs by national accrediting organizations. ACEJMC is one of 54 such bodies that set standards for education in professional areas ranging from rabbinical study to aviation, music education to nursing, architecture to psychology. The ACEJMC Council consists of representatives of both educational and professional organizations.

Participating educational organizations include the American Academy of Advertising, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication, Black College Communication Association, and Broadcast Education Association.

Participating industry organizations include the American Advertising Federation, American Society of Newspaper Editors, Arthur W. Page Society, Asian American Journalists Association, Associated Press Managing Editors Association, Association for Women in Communication, Inland Press Association, National Association of Black Journalists, National Association of Broadcasters, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Associations, Newspaper Association of America Foundation, Public Relations Society of America, Radio-Television News Directors Association, Society of Professional Journalists, and Southern Newspaper Publishers Association.
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