CSULB journalism department earns national accreditation

The accreditation is awarded after an intense three-year evaluation process.

Cynthia Mauleon and Lauren Van Sloten, Staff Writers

After nearly 20 years, Cal State Long Beach’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communication has earned accreditation from the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

With the accreditation, CSULB joins other award-winning journalism programs such as Columbia University and New York University. There are only eight other schools in California that have this accreditation, including University of Southern California.

“It makes us a part of a very small [number] of schools that have the ACEJMC seal of approval,” said Chris Burnett, chair of the journalism and mass communication department.

The [ACEJMC] council met on May 2 in Arlington, Va., and voted 26-0 in favor of the accreditation, with two members abstaining.

“It’s going to mean better opportunities as word gets about that we are an ACEJMC accredited school,” Burnett said. “More families wanting to send their kids to CSULB and more support from administration for more services.”

The department earned accreditation after an intense three-year evaluation process that assessed the department’s curriculum and instruction, creative and professional activity, resources, facilities and equipment, and other factors.

Burnett said the accreditors made several site visits to evaluate the department in February and had “lots of great things to say” about the program.

“ACEJMC comes in and looks at how we are providing professional training for students, how the faculty is engaged with students and if we properly reflect diversity,” Burnett said. “The site team leader Christopher Callahan … said he had ‘Never been at a school where there was more enthusiasm for accreditation than here. The top administrators were excited, the faculty was excited and so were the students.’”

Given that the accreditation is awarded to more than 100 schools nationally, Burnett said that ACEJMC will help the department to attract future students who are seeking a top-notch journalism education.

“Receiving accreditation will help strengthen our program, improve our curriculum and entice even more great students to join our program,” said Danny Paskin, a journalism professor and adviser in the department.

Paskin said that the journalism department was accredited in the early ‘90s, but saw a significant shortage of faculty. He said that a large staff is necessary to meet the standards of accreditation, which is why the department lost its recognition.

Jazmin Salgado, a senior journalism major, said the accreditation is long overdue.

“I think it’s about time we become recognized,” Salgado said. “We have a great program, and the university needs to fund our department more.”

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