U of Colorado reviews journalism program; may start information, communication tech programBy AP
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
U of Colorado reviews future of journalism program
BOULDER, Colo. — Dramatic changes in the media industry — as evidenced by last year’s closing of the nearby Rocky Mountain News in Denver — have prompted the University of Colorado at Boulder to review the future of its journalism program.
CU said Wednesday that on Sept. 1 a committee will start the process of “program discontinuance” for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. A separate exploratory committee will determine what a new interdisciplinary “information and communication technology” program could look like.
Journalism school Dean Paul Voakes said most faculty see it as an opportunity to finally redefine journalism education at CU for the 21st century, as more people keep themselves informed online.
“News and communications transmission as well as the role of the press and journalism in a democratic society are changing at a tremendous pace. We must change with it,” Chancellor Philip DiStefano said in a written statement.
The exploratory committee, filled with five or six non-journalism school faculty who haven’t been named yet, will forward recommendations to the provost by the end of the fall semester. The chancellor would make a recommendation to the board of regents, based on reports from both committees, early next year. Regents would have the final say whether to discontinue the journalism school.
Jeffrey Cox, associate vice chancellor for faculty affairs, said a key question is whether the j-school can keep serving students or if CU would be better off realigning faculty and financial resources.
The journalism school has 647 undergraduate students, 58 in the master’s degree program and 26 doctoral students, CU said. All will be able to complete their degrees, whatever the committees decide, the school said.
The school has 28 faculty members who could be moved elsewhere, perhaps to the new program, depending on what the committees recommend.
Interim Provost Russell Moore said other peer universities have made sweeping changes to respond to the new media and communications landscape.
The University of California, Berkeley started its Berkeley Center for New Media in 2004. In recent years, The Cronkite School at Arizona State University has launched its New Media Innovation Lab for research and development of multimedia products, and it is part of News21, an experimental program that trains students to present news in innovative ways.
CU’s journalism school is going through the reaccreditation process, which happens every six years. Voakes said the school’s record over the past six years would be subject to review and that accreditation teams seems interested in whether schools are considering innovative ways of teaching media.
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