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School of Communication & Journalism
Accreditation and Public Accountability


The School of Communication and Journalism is one of 118 programs accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. ACEJMC is the agency responsible for the evaluation of professional journalism and mass communications programs in colleges and universities. 

The Journalism and Public Relations programs are accredited by ACEJMC.

Principles of Accreditation

Mission of Journalism and Mass Communications

The mission of journalism and mass communications professions in a democratic society is to inform, to enlighten and to champion freedom of speech and press. These professions seek to enable people to fulfill their responsibilities as citizens who mean to govern themselves. They seek to help people protect, pursue and promote their rights and interests in their personal lives and in their work in public and philanthropic service, in commerce and industry, and in the professions.

Mission of education in journalism and mass communications

Professional programs should prepare students with a body of knowledge and a system of inquiry, scholarship and training for careers in which they are accountable to:

  • the public interest for their knowledge, ethics, competence and service;
  • citizens, clients or consumers for their competencies and the quality of their work; and
  • employers for their performance.
Commitment to diversity and inclusiveness

To inform and enlighten, the professions of journalism and mass communications should understand and reflect the diversity and complexity of people, perspectives and beliefs in a global society and in the multicultural communities they serve.

Programs seeking accreditation should develop curricula and instruction that educate faculty and prepare students with the multicultural knowledge, values and skills essential for professional practice.

Programs should document their efforts to ensure the representation of women and people of diverse racial and ethnic identity in the student body and faculty and to expand these students’ opportunities for entry into the communications professions.

Professional Values and Competencies

Individual professions in journalism and mass communication may require certain specialized values and competencies. Irrespective of their particular specialization, all graduates should be aware of certain core values and competencies and be able to:

  • understand and apply the principles and laws of freedom of speech and press, for the country in which the institution that invites ACEJMC is located, as well as receive instruction in and understand the range of systems of freedom of expression around the world, including the right to dissent, to monitor and criticize power, and to assemble and petition for redress of grievances;
  • demonstrate an understanding of the history and role of professionals and institutions in shaping communications;
  • demonstrate an understanding of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and, as appropriate, other forms of diversity in domestic society in relation to mass communications.
  • demonstrate an understanding of the diversity of peoples and cultures and of the significance and impact of mass communications in a global society.
  • understand concepts and apply theories in the use and presentation of images and information;
  • demonstrate an understanding of professional ethical principles and work ethically in pursuit of truth, accuracy, fairness and diversity;
  • think critically, creatively and independently;
  • conduct research and evaluate information by methods appropriate to the communications professions in which they work;
  • write correctly and clearly in forms and styles appropriate for the communications professions, audiences and purposes they serve;
  • critically evaluate their own work and that of others for accuracy and fairness, clarity, appropriate style and grammatical correctness;
  • apply basic numerical and statistical concepts;
  • apply tools and technologies appropriate for the communications professions in which they work. 
Assessment of student learning

The Council seeks to promote student learning and encourages experimentation and innovation. The Council evaluates curricula and instruction in the light of evidence and expects programs seeking accreditation to assess students’ attainment of professional values and competencies.

Assessment is a system of evaluation of student learning at the course or unit level (as opposed to grading at the individual level). Three criteria should guide assessment of student learning:

  • Awareness: familiarity with specific information, including facts, concepts, theories, laws and regulations, processes and effects.
  • Understanding: assimilation and comprehension of information, concepts, theories and ideas.
  • Application: competence in relating and applying skills, information, concepts, theories and ideas to the accomplishment of tasks.

Student learning is evaluated to:

  • develop curriculum, improve teaching, and enhance student learning;
  • document what students have learned; and
  • provide accountability.

Evaluation of student learning also enables the Council and its representatives to make fairer and more consistent judgments across units and programs.


Retention Rates

ACEJMC requires its accredited programs to provide retention and graduation data on their websites. Data will be updated every year by Aug. 15.

The percentages below indicate the first-year retention rates for incoming students who declare the Journalism or Public Relations major.

Fall Term Entering Returned 2nd Year Overall AU Return
Retention Rates for Entering First-Year Students
2018 74 77.0% 91.9%
2019 61 73.8% 98.4%
2020 59 81.4% 98.3%
2021 78 69.2% 92.3%
2022 51 64.7% 93.1%
2023 75 n/a n/a


Graduation Rates

The graduation rates below indicate the percentage of students who declared the Journalism or Public Relations major as incoming student and graduated with that same major in four years.

  Entering students who declare JRNL, JRSP or PR as a major Graduated from JRNL, JRSP or PR in four years Graduated from any AU program in four years
Graduation Rates
2018 75 56.0% 69.3%
2019 61 63.9% 83.6%
2020 59 N/A N/A
2021 79 N/A N/A
2022 51 N/A N/A