Accreditation and assessment

The Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture is one of 118 select journalism and mass communication programs accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. The School’s undergraduate program was provisionally re-accredited in 2018, to be reviewed in two years. (The School’s two master’s programs were not a part of the ACEJMC accreditation review.)

Accreditation is granted after an extensive self-study based on nine standards that include administration, diversity and student services. According to the ACEJMC website, "Accreditation provides an assurance of quality to students, parents, and the public." Only about one in four mass communications programs around the country earn accreditation.

The most recent ACEJMC reaccreditation process of the School occurred in the 2017-2018 academic year. In its report, ACEJMC’s site-visit team praised the School’s faculty, staff and students, as well as the education provided at VCU.

Regarding faculty, the report said, "The site team got the strong impression that students love the faculty. One commented that 'professors are pushing us to do what we want to do.'" The report quoted a student as saying, "You feel the passion of the professors. They’re definitely invested in us and our futures."

One of the nine accrediting standards addresses diversity. The report said, "The School is committed to domestic and international diversity and inclusion and is seen as a leader at the university." About another one of the standards, curriculum, "The site team was impressed with the professional focus of the Robertson School. Students appreciate the industry savvy faculty who work hard to provide rich learning opportunities both in and out of the classroom."

Regarding student services and academic advising, the report said, "Students are well monitored by a caring and competent advising staff who work hard to ensure that they stay on track for graduation."

However, the site-visit team said the School did not meet ACEJMC’s Standard 4 Full-Time and Part-Time Faculty and Standard 9 Assessment of Learning Outcomes. As a result, the team recommended that the School receive provisional re-accreditation, and the Accrediting Council approved that recommendation in April 2018. The School already has taken steps to meet the site-visit team’s recommendations, including hiring several new faculty members and performing necessary assessment tasks.

The accreditation process occurs every six years and involves several steps:

  1. An exhaustive self-study conducted by the faculty and staff;
  2. A multi-day site visit by media educators and professionals, during which they meet with faculty and campus leaders, visit classes, complete their report and make a recommendation for full accreditation, provisional accreditation or denial of accreditation;
  3. A meeting of, and recommendation by, the national Accrediting Committee; and
  4. A meeting of, and final vote by, the national Accrediting Council.

"To our school, being accredited is a hallmark for strong quality, a differentiator from many similar programs and an assurance to the School's stakeholders — students, parents, alumni, the media industry and the university community alike — about its commitment to excellence," Hong Cheng, Ph.D., director of the Robertson School, said.

See the VCU Robertson School Curriculum Grid in Google Docs. (Opens in a new window. Allows for detailed data sorting.)

ACEJMC’s Nine Accrediting Standards
ACEJMC's Twelve Required Professional Values & Competencies