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.
About the Accreditation Process
Accreditation is granted after an extensive self-study based on nine standards that include administration, diversity and student services. The standards are listed at the bottom of this page. 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 earns accreditation.
The accreditation process occurs every six years and involves several steps:
- An exhaustive self-study conducted by the faculty and staff
- 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
- A meeting of, and recommendation by, the national Accrediting Committee
- A meeting of, and final vote by, the national Accrediting Council
ACEJMC’s Nine Accrediting Standards
The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication assesses the school’s compliance with nine standards, addressing:
- Mission, Governance and Administration
- Curriculum and Instruction
- Diversity and Inclusiveness
- Full-Time and Part-Time Faculty
- Scholarship: Research, Creative and Professional Activity
- Student Services
- Resources, Facilities and Equipment
- Professional and Public Service
- Assessment of Learning Outcomes
The school’s undergraduate program was re-accredited in 2020. Note: the school’s two master’s programs were not a part of the ACEJMC accreditation review.
During the recent ACEJMC reaccreditation process for the school, 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.'"
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."
As required by VCU and our national accrediting organization ACEJMC, the Robertson School has a plan to assess student learning outcomes, the RSMC Undergraduate Programs Assessment Plan. It begins:
"One of the Robertson School’s top goals is delivering curricula that provide students with a solid foundation in both the theory and practice of media and communications, especially in the fields of advertising, journalism and public relations. The school grants one undergraduate degree in Mass Communications through five academic programs: creative advertising, strategic advertising, broadcast journalism, print-online journalism and public relations.
Achieving that goal requires that the school’s faculty continuously reviews curricula through assessment efforts to ensure that in our rapidly changing fields curricula keep pace with and emphasize best practices, technological advances and philosophical shifts. Another goal is to ensure that the school’s curricula foster collaborative learning, with students learning from each other, from experts in the professions and from faculty."
The assessment plan includes both indirect and direct measures to assess overall student learning. According to ACEJMC, "Direct measures require students to demonstrate their learning....Indirect measures capture perceptions, attitudes and outcomes of the learning experience." Specifically, we assess the core Professional Values and Competencies outlined by ACEJMC (see under Standard: Curriculum and Instruction) as required student learning outcomes.
The school's faculty work hard for student learning to occur in Robertson School courses, which are organized into curricula for our five undergraduate academic programs. See the VCU Robertson School Curriculum Grid [Google Doc].