ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – University of New Mexico’s Department of Communication and Journalism is no longer accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.
ACEJMC is an outside agency that evaluates journalism departments nationwide. The chair of the department said dropping the accreditation will actually improve the department.
“We asked ourselves, ‘How does this benefit our students?’” Chair Davis Weiss said. “Frankly, we had a hard time coming up with ways that it did. This ACEJMC accreditation was extra, voluntary, not necessary and frankly quite expensive in terms of money and labor.”
Weiss said dropping the accreditation will save time and money.
“We probably spend something like $100,000 over a ten year period if you count the labor time that faculty and staff had to put in to develop the self-study,” Weiss said.
Now, Weiss said that money is going towards bettering students’ education.
“It allows us to hire additional faculty,” Weiss said. “The other thing is that we are constantly looking at ways to upgrade our journalism studio and adding equipment.”
The department hired two new faculty members for the fall semester. They are also expanding their curriculum from 36 to 48 credits, adding new classes on data tools and social media.
“I mean, I think classes for social media is a huge thing,” student Nicole Flores said. “I think that is going to be a big thing. It already is, so I think that’s a really great class to have.”
“It will have a greater impact on the projects and things that come out of the program,” student Parker Hubbard said.
“It’s allowed us to do things that benefit our students directly, which frankly we feel like is a whole lot more valuable than just having another ribbon on our chest,” Weiss said.
Weiss said since this was a voluntary outside accreditation, it has no impact on the university’s accreditation. The department’s next review is next year.