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Cronkite School granted re-accreditation

May 02, 2011

The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication voted unanimously Friday to grant full re-accreditation to the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

The council, which is responsible for the evaluation of professional journalism and mass communications programs at colleges and universities, found the Cronkite School compliant in all areas and praised its progress over the past six years.

The ACEJMC Committee also voted unanimously on re-accreditation of Cronkite on March 26.

Both the council and committee agreed with the Feb. 9 site team report that recommended full re-accreditation of both the graduate and undergraduate programs.

The five-member site team, led by former University of North Carolina Journalism Dean Richard Cole, found that Cronkite, accredited since 1973, was “radically” improved since the last ACEJMC accreditation team reviewed the school in 2004.

During that time, the team wrote, Cronkite was made an independent unit at ASU, Christopher Callahan was named founding dean, new graduate and undergraduate curricula were created and unanimously approved, university resources more than doubled, private fundraising grew by 1,100 percent and the school moved to a new building in downtown Phoenix that is “without a doubt one of the best equipped in journalism-mass communication in the nation.”

“In short, it is a new school six years later,” site team members said in their report.

Other accomplishments noted included new professional programs such as Cronkite News Service, in which students do multimedia public affairs reporting across the state; the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship, where students develop and launch new media projects;  the New Media Innovation Lab, where students develop digital applications and do research for media companies; and Cronkite NewsWatch, a daily newscast that airs across the state on Eight, Arizona PBS.

The report also cited a strong internship and career development program, dramatic growth of full-time faculty and improvements in the diversity of the faculty and student body.

“The school has made enormous strides,” the report concludes.

The accrediting council accredits more than 100 schools of journalism across the country and reviews their programs every six years.

The team that evaluated Cronkite included Cole; Barbara Cochran, professor of journalism at the University of Missouri School of Journalism; Karen Brown Dunlap, president of the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla.; Ford Risley, head of the Department of Journalism at Pennsylvania State University; and Linda Shipley, professor in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The team reviewed an extensive self-study prepared by Cronkite faculty and staff, visited classes and met with faculty, administrators, students and media professionals in the community.