Public Accountability Data 2017-2018

In Summer 2018 the following information was gathered from an online data tool provided by Virginia Commonwealth University's Office of Planning and Decision Support.

Retention and graduation data

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

Data source: VCU Office of Planning and Decision Support 

(Click here for Google spreadsheet of VCU Robertson School Retention and Graduation Rates for Fall 2006 - Fall 2016.)

One wrinkle in the reporting method used in the statistics above is how it treats first-year students who start in mass comm but then change majors. The graduation rates in the spreadsheet reflect the fact that these students do not graduate as mass comm 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. According to the data, for example:

  • 90 first-year students entered the mass comm major in Fall 2010 and remained in that major during their time at VCU. Sixty-six percent of them graduated within six years. (VCU's overall six-year graduation rate is 62 percent.)
  • 91 first-year students entered the mass comm major in Fall 2012 and remained in that major during their time at VCU. Fifty-one percent of them graduated within four years.

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 40% 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. Selecting a heading below will expand the section.

Admissions data
Internship supervisor data
Degrees awarded
Student awards