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Accreditation Experience Must Be Shared Like Governance

March 29, 2016

Michael Bugeja, director,
Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication,
Iowa State University of Science and Technology

The Greenlee School at Iowa State University is in final phase of our re-accreditation bid. Our application for re-accreditation was affirmed earlier this month by the Accrediting Committee in Chicago.

The final step is the Accrediting Council meeting in May.

At this point you may believe there is little to be done by way of administration. Perhaps at some programs. But not at the Greenlee School.

Some background: Associate Director Joel Geske and I have worked on our re-accreditation for several years now. We know the process. Alyssa Rutt, our program coordinator, knows the process, too, now as she has been working closely with me and Dr. Geske on every phase of the self-study, site visit and subsequent Committee and upcoming Council meetings.

However, Dr. Geske will be stepping down this summer from the associate directorship and I, from the directorship in early summer 2017. That means we have to acquaint our emerging leaders with the accreditation experience, bringing them to Committee and Council meetings. We also must acquaint the faculty and staff at Greenlee with the re-accreditation process, too, as several professors from past re-accreditations have retired or moved on and our ranks include 10 new assistant professors, lecturers and staff members who have not gone through the experience.

The current re-accreditation will be my seventh in my career at three institutions: Oklahoma State, Ohio University and ISU. For as long as I can remember, ACEJMC Executive Director Susanne Shaw has always emphasized the importance of sharing the accreditation experience in a “shared governance” manner—essential, incidentally, in the creation of the self-study.

But sharing can continue after that document is complete and the site team report distributed.

Thus, at the Chicago meeting, I assigned specific tasks to Daniela Dimitrova, our senior professor, and Michael Dahlstrom, our incoming associate director. Ms. Rutt’s task at the Committee meeting was to take summary notes of every school at the meeting and verbatim notes about our session. Drs. Dimitrova and Dahlstrom were to note best practices and perceived weaknesses of other programs so that we can assess our own operations and commit to continuous improvement.

My task was to take Ms. Rutt’s notes at the end of the day and inform our Dean, faculty, staff and Alumni Council of our outcome, emphasizing again that this is only the second phase of the process with the last coming at the Council meeting.

Finally, at our March 25 faculty meeting, Drs. Dimitrova and Dahlstrom created a PowerPoint with images from the Committee meeting and presented to the assembled faculty and staff ACEJMC benchmarks that we could achieve in the future (and pitfalls we must avoid).

We will go through the same process May 6-7 at the Council meeting, which falls on Iowa State’s commencement. Dr. Geske will remain at Greenlee in my absence to celebrate with our graduating seniors.


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