SAN MARCOS — The Department of Mass Communication at Southwest Texas State University joined the ranks of nationally accredited professional programs May 2, capping a project that spanned the better part of a decade.
The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC), meeting in San Diego, Calif., found the department in compliance with all 12 national standards for accreditation. Only about 25 percent of programs that teach journalism and mass communication in the United States are accredited by the ACEJMC. There are 115 accredited programs nationwide, and only seven others in Texas: Abilene Christian University, Baylor University, Texas A&M University, Texas Christian University, Texas Tech University, the University of North Texas and the University of Texas.
SWT began to work toward accreditation for mass communication in the mid-1990s, when it brought in consultants in 1996 and 1998. It made final preparations in 2000 and 2001, and then engaged in a lengthy self-study process in 2001-2002. The self-study involved writing a 200-page report documenting compliance with the national standards for accreditation. In October 2002, a team of reviewers visited the SWT campus to evaluate the department. They found the department in compliance with all standards and recommended accreditation.
Dr. Bruce Smith, chair of mass communication, was present at the ACEJMC meeting in San Jose. He said it was exciting to be present when this goal was achieved after such a lengthy process.
Long-time ACEJMC member Don Flores, editor of the El Paso Times, excused himself from the discussion and vote regarding SWT. Flores is a graduate of the SWT mass communication department and is also a member of the Texas State University Board of Regents.
The Department of Mass Communication offers undergraduate programs in advertising, electronic media, print journalism, public relations and general mass communication. It also offers a Master’s degree. It is housed in historic Old Main on the SWT campus in San Marcos, enrolls more than 1,400 students and has 19 faculty.