Eastern Illinois University’s journalism department has once again been recognized for its high quality by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.
The department is one of 106 programs in the nation to receive ACEJMC accreditation.
EIU’s journalism department was the first unit to be assessed using a new set of standards to measure performance in several areas, including curriculum, teaching, facilities, resources and diversity.
“We’re thrilled that we have achieved reaccreditation,” said James Tidwell, acting chair of the EIU journalism department. “It validates the fact that we have a group of dedicated and talented faculty members and that students receive a good education.”
A five-person team visited EIU in October, talking to faculty members, administrators, students and graduates to gauge their feelings on the journalism program. The team also evaluated a self-study compiled by department faculty.
“Students told the team members that they were very, very happy, which is all you could hope for,” Tidwell said.
One of the main strengths cited in the report was the department’s caring and dedicated faculty.
“Teaching is clearly a priority of the faculty,” the report said. “Small classes allow individual attention and coaching from faculty, and that’s clearly valued by students. Students routinely describe the faculty as ‘welcoming’ and keeping an ‘open door.’ Employers and alumni both also had strong praise for the faculty’s dedication and the unit’s level of instruction.”
The report lauded the many opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience, including The Daily Eastern News campus newspaper; the Minority Today newspaper insert; the student yearbook; WEIU-TV and WEIU-FM; PounceOnline; and The Agency, a PR organization.
“The unit has long been a leader in student publications/media,” the report said. “The access the students have to the media from the very first day they get on campus provides rich experiences for them.”
The unit’s commitment to diversity was also noted. The department’s minority enrollment is 19.7 percent, higher than the university-wide figure of 13.2 percent.
Three elective courses – “Women and the Media,” “Minorities and the Media” and “International Journalism” – are “specifically designed to foster students’ understanding of diversity/inclusiveness issues,” the report said.
The department was commended for its support of high school, community college and professional journalism. For example, the department serves as the headquarters for the Mid-American Press Institute, Eastern Illinois High School Press Association and the Illinois Journalism Education Association. It also runs the Illinois Press Foundation/EIU High School Journalism Workshop.
The report also highlighted the department’s excellent facilities and equipment, good record of career placement for alumni, and positive alumni relations.
ACEJMC accreditation is valid for six years. EIU’s journalism department has been accredited by the ACEJMC since 1982.
The university as a whole received its 10-year accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools in 2005.
For more information on EIU’s journalism department, visit its website at www.eiu.edu/journal.