Five-year strategic plan (2019-2024)
Approved by Journalism Unit faculty vote, April 5, 2019
Journalism is a unit within The Media School, which was established on July 1, 2014. The new Media School comprises the Journalism Unit ( founded in 1911 and operated as an independent school from 1989 until 2014), the Communication Science Unit, the Media and Production Unit and the Cinema and Media Studies Unit. In the Fall of 2015, the Journalism Unit moved into the newly renovated Franklin Hall, which features digital classrooms, the Beckley TV studio, student media space, the Institute for Communication Research and seven centers, including the newly created Michael I. Arnolt Center for Investigative Journalism. Through its innovative curriculum, diverse faculty expertise, variety of student media activities and cutting-edge technology, the Unit strives to provide its students with the skills, knowledge and experience necessary to succeed in journalism, public relations, media and communication careers. It is in this spirit, and within the Journalism Unit’s new educational environment, that this strategic plan is written.
The Unit’s plan supplements The Media School Strategic Plan, which was approved in Fall 2017. Journalism Unit faculty participated actively in writing The Media School’s strategic plan, and faculty served on school-wide committees dedicated to undergraduate and graduate education, research and creative activity, governance, facilities and diversity.
The five core values of the Journalism Unit are:
- Social Responsibility
In addition, the Journalism Unit affirms the core values of the Media School outlined in the School’s strategic plan:
- We prize the search for fairness, balance and truth.
- We strive to produce work that meets the highest professional and creative standards.
- We aim to extend the boundaries of knowledge and critical thinking about the role that media play in contemporary life.
- Freedom of expression and unfettered access to media are foundational to our concept of the School.
- We encourage diversity of thought and welcome all forms of expression, including those with which we may disagree.
- We are committed to the rights of all to participate in what we have to offer, including underrepresented minorities and groups that have not traditionally had places at the academic table.
The Educational Mission of the Journalism Unit is to foster critical thinking about media institutions and diverse domestic and global audiences, encourage ethics in an international environment, and develop skills in our students for journalism, public relations and other media professions.
This mission is both academic and professional; it is about learning, teaching and doing as informed by our core values of excellence, innovation, diversity, integrity and social responsibility.
We are committed to supporting high-caliber scholarly research and creative activity in journalism, public relations and other forms of public communication, to liberal arts education, and to professional practice in media work.
The Goal of the Journalism Unit is to be among the best programs in journalism and mass communication education in the United States and around the world by doing the following:
- Providing excellent facilities and resources for teaching, learning, research and creative activity and service;
- Meeting the highest standards of the best research universities;
- Expanding our diverse domestic and international educational community;
- Offering an innovative curriculum, real-world media experiences and top-notch career services that support student academic and professional success.
Objectives for 2019 through 2024
The Unit has adopted the following objectives to uphold its values and meet its stated mission and goal:
1. Strengthen the Unit’s full-time faculty community by supporting faculty advancement, enrichment and shared governance
- The Unit will promote a professional, collaborative climate that emphasizes mutual respect and collegiality among tenured, tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty.
- Senior faculty will participate in formal and informal mentoring of probationary tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty members to help them advance through the ranks and develop strong leadership in research and creative activity, teaching and service.
- The faculty will complete the process of writing and approving faculty advancement policies for all TT and NTT ranks and review its policies in tandem with any changes in university and Media School policies.
- The faculty in consultation with The Media School’s Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) and the Unit’s coordinators for News Reporting & Editing and Public Relations concentrations will regularly communicate hiring priorities based on instructional, research and creative activity needs to the School’s upper administration.
- The faculty will communicate regularly with Journalism representatives on The Media School’s Faculty Advisory Board (FAB) to convey Unit concerns.
- The Unit’s advisory committee will represent the concerns of the Unit’s faculty, advise the Unit Director and develop and interpret Unit policies.
- The Unit will support faculty access to technology for instructional, research and creative activities.
Indicators of implementation and progress:
- Composition of the Unit’s standing and ad hoc committees includes a blend of TT and NTT faculty (as appropriate and relevant) of all ranks while adhering to university policies governing NTT voting rights and the participation of senior NTT faculty on annual review and tenure and promotion committees.
- Collaborations increase between and among TT and NTT faculty on teaching, service and research and creative activities.
- Timely annual reviews and mentoring of faculty lead to tenure, promotion and contract renewals.
- Senior faculty participate in conducting teaching observations of probationary faculty.
- The Unit Director consults with the advisory committee on unit-level policies and shares approved policies with the faculty on a regular basis (at least once at the beginning of every semester).
- Faculty hiring requests—discussed in unit-level meetings and with the input of the School’s DUS and concentration coordinators—reflect student enrollments, demands for specializations and faculty consensus on priorities in research and creative activity.
- The Unit holds regular meetings to facilitate the expression of faculty concerns and communication with the Unit’s FAB representatives.
- The Unit regularly provides forums for the faculty to share initiatives in research and creative activity and teaching, including annual presentations from recipients of the Kemp Development Grant.
2. Ensure a flexible, forward-looking and rigorous curriculum that meets the educational needs of students pursuing careers in rapidly changing professions (see The Media School strategic plan, page 2)
- The Unit will conduct periodic assessment of the two BAJ degree concentrations (News Reporting & Editing and Public Relations) and its specializations to (1) ensure adherence to the professional values and competencies of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and (2) match curriculum with media industry trends.
- Faculty will continue to provide support for the BAJ degree’s Ernie Pyle Scholars Honors Program by reviewing applications and serving as mentors to cohorts of Ernie Pyle scholars.
- Faculty will support and participate in School-wide undergraduate and graduate student recruitment and retention efforts, assisting academic advisers and staff in communicating and publicizing curricular, co-curricular and career opportunities available to prospective and current students.
- The Unit will work with the School’s Graduate Committee and the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) to grow the newly created MS in Media degree (Journalism and Public Relations concentrations) by enhancing course offerings and expanding student opportunities to build portfolios.
- The Unit will continue to support and encourage new and innovative modes of course delivery and course offerings, particularly in the content areas of social media and multimedia communication.
- The Unit will work with the Media School’s Facilities and Technology office to monitor and support the Unit’s technology needs related to teaching, research and creative activities.
- Unit’s representatives on the School’s Graduate and Undergraduate Curriculum committees will facilitate faculty’s influence on and contributions to the BAJ and MS in Media (Journalism) and MS in Media (Public Relations) degrees.
- Faculty representatives will closely collaborate with career services personnel and actively participate in the Media School’s Career Day and other campus events related to the professional development of students.
- The Unit’s Concentration Coordinators will assist in building and revising curricular structure and requirements for the News Reporting & Editing and Public Relations concentrations and facilitate improvement and innovation of the curriculum.
- The School’s Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) will continue to supervise adjuncts and part-time faculty teaching courses in the BAJ degree to ensure the quality and consistency of the curriculum.
- The Unit will encourage faculty engagement with the university’s Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning to improve teaching techniques and encourage curriculum innovation.
- The Unit Director will work with the Walter Center for Career Achievement to share graduate job placement and internship placement statistics on an annual basis.
Indicators of implementation and progress:
- A regular record of the revamping of existing courses and the development of new courses (particularly multimedia) is reflected in the Digital Measures Faculty Insight reports (annual faculty activity reports).
- Faculty members regularly submit proposals to the Kemp teaching development award for major course improvements and new course development proposals.
- Faculty meetings provide regular forums for the discussion of curriculum assessment and curriculum-related matters.
- Faculty meetings provide opportunities for faculty to communicate with the Unit’s graduate and undergraduate committee representatives and concentration coordinators.
- The Ernie Pyle Scholars Honors Program demonstrates stable trends in both recruitment and retention.
- Undergraduate and graduate student enrollment demonstrate stable trends in both recruitment and retention.
- Students actively participate in campus and off-campus media, publication and production opportunities.
- Students regularly win awards in campus, regional and national competitions.
- Undergraduate and graduate job placement and internship placement statistics improve.
- Enrollment in the newly created MS Media (Journalism concentration) and MS Media (Public Relations concentration) degrees increases.
3. Seek and support domestic and global diversity in the Unit's curriculum, and among its faculty and student bodies
- The Unit will work with The Media School administration to hire a diverse faculty, and it will engage AEJMC placement services to help identify promising minority candidates.
- The Unit will work with the School’s recruitment staff, the Director of Undergraduate Studies and the Director of Graduate Studies to strengthen the diversity of the undergraduate and graduate student bodies.
- The Unit will commit to reviewing and updating its diversity plan, which affirms the School’s and the university’s commitment to fostering an educational climate in which global and domestic diversity is respected and valued.
- Faculty in the Unit will continue to advise and support student clubs related to diversity — such as the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the LGBTQ Journalists Association at IU — and the Unit will recognize and support faculty advisers of these clubs.
- The Unit, led by concentration coordinators for News Reporting & Editing and Public Relations, will assess the curriculum on an ongoing basis to ensure that courses address learning outcomes and policies related to global and domestic diversity issues.
- The Unit will continue to encourage its faculty to develop and deliver international experience courses for students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, including courses that travel to non-European locations.
Indicators of implementation and progress:
- The number of faculty in the Unit from underrepresented groups increases.
- Diversity statistics of BAJ degree students improve and more closely reflect statewide and nationwide populations.
- The Unit approves and implements its five-year diversity plan.
- Faculty assess syllabi annually for inclusion of appropriate and relevant diversity-related content.
- Student membership in clubs and chapters related to diversity increases.
- BAJ degree students regularly enroll in travel-based field experience courses.
4. Enhance the influence and productivity of the diverse research and creative endeavors of the Unit's faculty and students at all levels of the curriculum
- The Unit will continue to provide a supportive environment for excellent research and creative activity (as appropriate for an R1 university) that encompasses diverse topics and professional areas, methodologies and approaches.
- The Unit will provide support for faculty attendance at major national and international conferences in the fields of journalism, public relations and communication to present research and creative activity. The Unit Director and senior faculty will assist probationary faculty in securing funding for conference attendance.
- Faculty will actively participate in The Media School Research Colloquium, The Media School Graduate Conference and in other research and creative activity forums in School, campus and off-campus venues.
- Faculty will assist graduate and undergraduate students to conduct and publish research and enable financial and academic support for students to present and disseminate their research at conferences and other public venues.
- The Unit will encourage and facilitate research and creative activity partnerships with all Media School centers, including the High School Journalism Institute, Center for International Media Law and Policy Studies, Center for Documentary Research and Practice, Michael I. Arnolt Center for Investigative Journalism, and National Sports Journalism Center.
- Faculty will seek partnerships with other units on campus and with external professional and academic institutions—at state, national, and international levels—to enhance the unit’s reputation for and productivity in research and creative activity.
- Faculty and students will utilize the Institute of Communication Research’s state-of-the-art facilities to conduct social-scientific research, and faculty will participate in the Institute’s collaborative research communities to develop innovative research projects.
- The Unit will provide support to faculty and students for grant writing and facilitate ongoing exposure to campus and external funding resources.
Indicators of implementation and progress:
- The Unit’s tenure and promotion polices affirm the diversity of topical, methodological and professional/creative activity interests and goals of the faculty.
- Faculty regularly attend major conferences in the field, including the annual conferences of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and the International Communication Association, and conferences in their areas of research and professional expertise.
- Faculty organize conferences that expose peer scholars, media professionals, alumni and the local community to research and creative endeavors in the unit.
- TT faculty continue to publish research in major journals in the field and in their specialty areas, and NTT faculty will publish and produce creative and professional work in high-quality media outlets.
- Wherever appropriate and relevant (and within the expectations for tenure and promotion), faculty create research communities within the Unit and School and collaborate with graduate students to publish research projects.
- Faculty research and creative activity collaborations increase across Media School units, across campus units and with The Media School centers and institutes.
- Faculty continue to earn awards for research and creative activity from academic and professional associations and organizations.
- Faculty increase number of research and creative activity grant submissions to campus, regional, national and international bodies.
5. Utilize and seek ways to maximize Franklin Hall's state-of-the-art facilities to enrich teaching, promote innovative research and creative activity, and provide professional training opportunities for students, faculty and other key constituencies
- The Unit will support and expand faculty opportunities for use of new Media School facilities.
- The Unit will promote the use of the Beckley TV Studio to create a converged newsroom — combining digital and broadcast journalism — to enhance learning opportunities and provide meaningful practical experiences for students.
- The Unit will encourage faculty to utilize Franklin Hall’s common atrium to showcase student work, and will seek opportunities throughout the Media School space to represent exemplary student work from courses and student media.
- The Unit will support the use of designated digital classrooms within Franklin Hall to pursue curriculum innovation, and to provide students with cutting-edge learning environments.
Indicators of implementation and progress:
- New course offerings in Journalism reflect an increase in the number of technology-focused, multimedia-driven practical courses, including the introduction of a converged newsroom environment comprising broadcast and digital media.
- The Unit takes advantage of School-wide mechanisms to regularly communicate formal requests to the Media School’s Facilities and Technology staff for technology-related upgrades and improvements to classrooms in Franklin Hall.
- The new Michael I. Arnolt Center for Investigative Journalism regularly produces and shares long-form investigative content across all platforms, partnering with relevant Unit faculty and maximizing its own dedicated space as well as available Franklin Hall facilities.
- Outstanding work from students in Journalism courses is regularly seen on the large screen in Franklin Hall’s common atrium and in exhibits throughout the building.
6. Increase faculty and student engagement with media professions to maintain the Unit's national reputation and to ensure continued relevance of curriculum and research and creative activities
- The Unit will encourage and support faculty training to ensure the faculty stays up to date with current professional practices and technological advancements.
- Faculty will facilitate and encourage student membership in student chapters of national professional clubs and societies, and assist students in developing strong contacts within media professions.
- The Unit will support leaders of student publications, including the Indiana Daily Student with informal mentoring and encouragement.
- The Unit will provide and publicize development grants that encourage faculty engagement with media professions to facilitate curriculum development and innovation.
- The Unit will support student participation in the new Michael I. Arnolt Center for Investigative Journalism, which will teach and produce high-quality content for publication in local, regional and national news outlets.
- The Unit will provide support structure for students to enter and excel in national contests to enhance the School’s national reputation.
- The Unit will work with the Media School and campus alumni and career services offices to engage in effective outreach with alumni in the media professions to maximize the professional development of students.
Indicators of implementation and progress:
- Unit faculty members seek and earn Kemp, Holsinger and Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning grants that lead to direct contact and immersive experiences with professional media outlets.
- Student publication leaders continue to be invited to engage with visiting professionals in meetings and formal forums that foster learning and networking.
- Students seeking the BAJ and MS Media (Journalism) degrees actively and consistently participate in the investigative work of the Arnolt Center.
- Student membership in professional chapters of national clubs and societies increases.
- Students enter and win awards at national contests of professional media organizations.
- Working professionals, including journalism and public relations alumni, regularly return to campus to work with faculty and students at Media School and College career fairs and events and through skills-based workshops.
- Faculty attendance at relevant skills-based workshops and conferences increases.