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Cressman will attend his first ACEJMC accreditation meeting as an AJHA rep this spring

BYU School of Communications Professor Dale Cressman has been appointed to the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC) as a representative of the  American Journalism Historians Association (AJHA). 

Professor Dale Cressman. Photo by Kylea McMurray/BYU.

“It was a complete surprise. I am honored to be asked,” said Cressman. “My goal is to make informed decisions in voting on other programs’ efforts to be accredited. I expect to be an ambassador for AJHA and represent journalism historians’ interests in any policy discussion.”

The duties of this appointment include reading site team reports and considering the Accrediting Committee’s vote in making the final decision on school accreditation or re-accreditation. “In terms of experience,” said Cressman, “I will draw on my site team experiences. I was heavily involved in writing the BYU School of Communications’ self-study in 2014-2015, in preparation for our successful re-accreditation.”

The ACEJMC is the body that accredits the BYU School of Communications. Cressman was asked in 2011 by the AJHA to be trained for ACEJMC site evaluation teams.

AJHA wanted more journalism historians involved to ensure history is represented in the accreditation process. Since 2012, Cressman has been a member of site teams that visit different universities each year to see if their journalism and mass communication (JMC) program should be recommended for re-accreditation.

Journalism and mass communications programs that voluntarily choose to be accredited must be re-accredited every five years. It is a rigorous process that involves the school writing a self- study to demonstrate that its program meets the requirements of each of ACEJMC’s nine standards of accreditation.

Cressman said the site team’s job is to make an on-site evaluation as to whether the self-study accurately reflects reality and whether to recommend the school for re-accreditation. Faculty, administrators, students and alumni are interviewed and facilities are inspected. A site team typically consists of five people, representing both the academy and the profession.

The site team’s report is written on-site at the end of a three-day visit. The report and recommendation goes to the Accrediting Committee for evaluation and a vote to either accept or amend the site team’s recommendation to re-accredit. The Accrediting Committee’s recommendation then goes to the Accrediting Council for a final vote.

Cressman will join the Accrediting Council in April, replacing Kathy Bradshaw of Bowling Green State University. In addition to making decisions on accrediting specific schools, the Council also makes policy and votes on any amendments to the accrediting standards or procedures.

AJHA president Dianne Bragg said of Cressman, “We are greatly appreciative of Dale’s willingness to step into this role. He is imminently qualified and I am sure he will provide valuable insight on the importance of history in journalism and mass communications education.”

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