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ACEJMC Competencies

November 20, 2013

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


Even though our re-accreditation is more than 18 months away, already the faculty and staff of the Greenlee School are meeting to map how we can document the 12 competencies in our curricula, services and assessment. We support these competences and believe our advertising, journalism and public relations majors need to possess them upon graduation.

You can read the full description of the competences here.

Here is a quick summary:

1. Understand and apply the principles and laws of freedom of speech and press;
2. Demonstrate an understanding of the history and role of communication profession;
3. Demonstrate an understanding of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation;
4. Demonstrate an understanding of the diversity of peoples and cultures;
5. Understand concepts and apply theories in the use of images and information;
6. Demonstrate an understanding of professional ethical principles;
7. Think critically, creatively and independently;
8. Conduct research and evaluate information;
9. Write correctly and clearly in appropriate forms and styles;
10. Critically evaluate their own work and that of others;
11. Apply basic numerical and statistical concepts;
12. Apply tools and technologies appropriate for the communications professions.

Joel Geske, our associate director, mentions the competencies in his syllabi. “Not every course meets or needs to meet all 12 competencies,” he says.

In his class, “Ethnicity, Gender, Class and the Media,” for instance, Geske lists four competencies (3-6 above). He also lists course goals and eight specific learning outcomes, including the ability “to discuss issues, perspectives and polices relevant to diversity in the media.”

As Greenlee faculty members already include learning objectives in all syllabi, we see this as another means to capture data in curricula of our degree programs. This helps in course mapping concerning assessment in addition to informing Curriculum Committee of utility of existing and proposed courses.

Geske also notes that those teaching multi-section courses should meet and decide competencies and objectives, ensuring that they match, especially when compared with the course description in the Iowa State catalogue.

We also want to list competences on syllabi to ensure that students understand our mission and what they hope to get out of our degrees.

Michael Dahlstrom, chair of our Long-Range Planning Committee, believes the effort to codify the competencies on syllabi will create a student culture that appreciates our accreditation mission.

The faculty will be consulted soon on these additional proposals, which Dahlstrom suggested:

• In our required freshman orientation class, we may add a unit introducing the 12 ACEJMC competences that every student needs to experience before graduation. “Students and their advisers then can choose coursework that ensures they have knowledge of all competences before graduation,” he said.
• We may alter the proposal process for our required internship experiences to require students to document that they have experienced all 12 competences before being allowed to begin their internship. “Students cannot enroll in the required internship until their junior year at the earliest, and so it is reasonable to assume they will have experienced all 12 competences in some form or fashion by this time.”
• Such documentation will allow us to better track how students are experiencing the competences. “Just as important, it will incentivize student reflection upon the competences that they have already been experiencing,” Dahlstrom added.

Finally, Kim McDonough, our program coordinator, will collect the data on competencies prior students completing their internship experiences as a part of the internship proposal process.

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