Florida A&M University’s School of Journalism & Graphic Communication is preparing for the arrival of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC). ACEJMC is the agency responsible for the evaluation of professional journalism and mass communications programs in colleges and universities. Seventeen schools will have accreditation visits for the 2017-2018 academic year, with the SJGC visit taking place Feb. 4 –7.
In 1982 SJGC, originally called the School of Journalism, Media and Graphic Arts (SJMGA), was formed by President Walter Smith, and the Department of Journalism became the first degree program at a Historically Black College and University to receive national accreditation. The Division of Journalism was reaccredited in 1988, 1994, 2000, 2006 and 2012.
In 2002, the SJMGA was renamed to the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication, and Division of Graphic Communication became one of four programs to be accredited by the Accrediting Council for Collegiate Graphic Communications (ACCGC). SJGC offers the only baccalaureate degree in graphic communication in Florida.
Assistant Professor Valerie White, said the ACEJMC site team’s visit would kick of with a dinner with herself and Dean Dhyana Ziegler on Feb. 4.
“Sunday we will be having a dinner with the accreditation council, interviews with the faculty will be held on Monday, interviews with the students Tuesday, and they leave Wednesday morning with the final voting decision to be held in May,” White said. If the school gets an unsatisfactory recommendation, SJGC will have until April to appeal and ask the accreditation committee to revisit their decision.
When asking students about how they would feel if we lost accreditation, there were mixed reviews.
SJGC graduate Keytron Hill said that he would be distraught if the school lost accreditation. “J-school has produced several award winning journalists who are running the business. I may not work for a news station, but I guarantee you one of my students will become a dynamic journalist one day and they will say Mr. Hill taught me and he graduated from THEE FAMU School of Journalism & Graphic Communication program,” said Hill.
Hill graduated in the spring of 2016, with his degree in broadcast journalism and loved everything about the program and is grateful for every opportunity given to him during his time in the program.
Spring 2016 public relations graduate Lauren Green’s outlook on the idea of SJGC losing accreditation was different from Hill’s. Green feels that she has learned a lot from SJGC so losing accreditation would not really affect her.
“Honestly, I learned so much from professors, organizations, and fellow classmates that the lack of accreditation would barely affect me. I let my actions speak for themselves and SJGC has prepared me to act accordingly in any situation, location, industry, and etc. I couldn’t be more proud,” Green explained.
SJGC would be judged over its progress within the last five years with hopes of continuing its accreditation. The accreditation of the SJGC program holds history, pride, and honor to many students and alumni.
“The school being reaccredited is a good way to show progress that students are making and showcases the prestige that our school holds,” said Sterling Bright. Bright is a second-year broadcast journalism student who said that if the school lost accreditation he would more than likely transfer. He added that he loves thie program and sees the effort faculty are putting in for the accreditation council’s arrival, so he hopes that doesn’t happen.
Many others like Bright believe that SJGC has nothing to worry about when the accreditation council comes to visit because they feel that the faculty have been doing their jobs.