Public Accountability Data 2019-20

During summer 2020, the following information was gathered using an online data tool provided by Virginia Commonwealth University's Office of Institutional Research and Decision Support.

Retention and Graduation Data

These data track each first-year (freshman) class of mass communications majors. The statistics show the percentage of students who continue in mass comm each year and then graduate within four, five or six years.

Reporting Method

One wrinkle in the reporting method used in the statistics above is how it treats first-year students who start in mass communications but then change majors. The graduation rates in the spreadsheet reflect the fact that these students do not graduate as mass communications majors, which is true. However, many if not most of these students do graduate from VCU, but in another discipline (as noted by data under being retained and/or graduated from the College of Humanities and Sciences and/or VCU).

The reported graduation rates for mass communications would be much higher if we tracked only students who start and stay as mass comm majors. For example, of the 116 first-year students who entered the mass comm major in Fall 2012, 68 remained in the major for at least three years. Of those 68 students, 61 – or 90% – graduated with mass comm degrees.

Another wrinkle is that the data do not include students who enter the Robertson School after their first year from other VCU majors or from other universities. The Robertson School serves hundreds of such students, with about half of all Robertson School students being transfer students.

Additional Student Information

Besides requiring the publication of retention and graduation data, the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications suggests that accredited schools provide the public with additional indicators of student achievement. Below are four of those indicators.

Admissions Data

In addition, the Robertson School serves more than 94 undergraduates pursuing a minor in media studies. Moreover, the school's faculty also serves students in two master's programs (integrated communication and multimedia journalism) and an interdisciplinary doctoral program (media, art and text).

Student Demographics

Demographic breakdown of mass comm majors Fall 2019 Percent
Gender Female 480 59.6%
Male 320 39.8%
Unknown/Not Specified 5 0.6%
Race/ethnicity Asian 46 5.7%
Black/African American 187 23.2%
Hispanic/Latino 94 11.7%
International 4 0.5%
Two or more races 63 7.8%
Unknown 4 0.5%
White 407 50.6%
Residency In-state 776 96.4%
Out-of-state 29 3.6%

Source: VCU Office of Planning and Decision Support, Fall 2019

Internship Supervisor Data

VCU mass communications majors are required to complete an internship in which they work closely with media professionals. From summer 2019 through spring 2020, 291 students enrolled in our MASC 493 fieldwork/internship course, and there was a 99% pass rate. At the end of the internship, the supervisor at the worksite must evaluate the student's performance.

Here is a summary of the supervisor evaluations from summer 2019 through spring 2020.

  • Overall, more than 276 internship supervisors completed the survey, for a response rate of about 95%.
  • As part of the survey, internship supervisors were asked, “Under the correct circumstances, would you hire this intern?” Of the respondents, 81.2% said yes, 8.6% said no, and the rest either responded that it was not applicable or skipped the question.