ACU Journalism and Mass Communication Department earns prestigious accreditation

For Immediate Release
May 10, 2001

For more information contact:

Tom Craig, Director of Media and Community Relations

Dr. Cheryl M. Bacon, chair and associate professor
Department of Journalism and Mass Communication
(915) 674-2812

The Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at Abilene Christian University has earned accreditation by the Accrediting Council on Journalism and Mass Communication, a designation afforded only 107 JMC programs in universities nationwide and one in Latin America.

ACU's JMC Department is only the eighth in Texas to earn accreditation, the first among institutions nationwide affiliated with the Churches of Christ, and the first among the member schools of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. Only four other private universities nationwide have earned accreditation: Baylor, Texas Christian, Marquette and Brigham Young universities.

The vote for accreditation at the Council's spring meeting in Portland, Ore., May 5, culminated a process begun more than a decade ago by Dr. Charles Marler, past chair of the department. Marler, professor of journalism and mass communication, attended the Portland meeting with current chair Dr. Cheryl M. Bacon.

A self-study completed in 1999-2000 and a site team visit in November 2000 assessed the department's compliance with 12 standards of accreditation addressing budget, curriculum, faculty, instruction, service, research and several other areas.

"Accreditation has been a long-term goal and required a great cooperative effort by our faculty and administration," Bacon said. "We believe it will help us in recruiting by supporting our efforts to be a premiere JMC program of national reputation. It will make our students eligible to participate in the annual Hearst Scholarship and awards competition, and it will be added incentive to maintain the leadership position we have established with an innovative curriculum aimed at preparing students for the converging media world in which they will work."

The department was found in compliance on 11 of 12 standards, being found non-compliant in the diversity standard because it currently employs no minority faculty member in a tenure-track position. Bacon said the department currently is searching for faculty members and hopes at least one position can be filled by a qualified person of color.

ACU offers undergraduate programs in journalism, photojournalism, broadcast journalism, religious journalism, electronic media and integrated marketing communication. Eight full-time faculty members serve more than 280 undergraduate majors.

Student media supervised by the department include an award-winning twice-weekly newspaper The Optimist, Prickly Pear yearbook, NPR-affiliated KACU-FM radio and a low power television station, KUF-TV. At the annual live contests conducted earlier this month by the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association, ACU students won the sweepstakes award after 10 students placed in 14 live contests.

NOTE: Prior to ACU's accreditation, seven other Texas programs had been accredited: Baylor, TCU, UT, A&M, North Texas, Texas Tech and Texas Woman's. TWU chose not to renew this year , so while ACU is the eighth to earn accreditation, it will be one of seven accredited programs in 2001-02.


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If you are a member of the media who would like more information about this release, please contact Tom Craig, director of media and community relations, at or call 915-674-2692 (cell phone: 665-5469).

Last update: May 10, 2001
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