Department of Journalism and Public Relations
Student Learning Assessment Plan

The faculty of the Department of Journalism and Public Relations at Bowling Green State University is committed to assessment procedures that lead to ongoing improvements in curricula, instruction and student learning. This plan is designed to integrate the existing individual assessment activities and to provide a schedule of assessment activities that will be performed on a regular basis. It is also designed to ensure that assessment data will be accessible to all faculty and will be applied on a regular basis to improve curricula, instruction and student learning.

This plan does not preclude other assessment activities that may be carried out less systematically or on an experimental basis. In fact, this assessment plan itself should be subject to continual revision as improved methods of assessment and data-driven changes warrant. Assessment of student learning should be an ongoing process. It is an integral assumption of this plan that assessment activities will evolve in response to new information and a changing environment, just as our teaching activities should change in response to assessment data.

Learning Outcomes

Learning outcomes are drawn from the professional values and competencies specified by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC). They specify that graduates should be able to:

  • understand and apply the principles and laws of freedom of speech and press for the country in which the institution that invites ACEJMC is located, as well as receive instruction in and understand the range of systems of freedom of expression around the world, including the right to dissent, to monitor and criticize power, and to assemble and petition for redress of grievances;
  • demonstrate an understanding of the history and role of professionals and institutions in shaping communications;
  • demonstrate an understanding of gender, race ethnicity, sexual orientation and, as appropriate, other forms of diversity in domestic society in relation to mass communications;
  • demonstrate an understanding of the diversity of peoples and cultures and of the significance and impact of mass communications in a global society;
  • understand concepts and apply theories in the use and presentation of images and information;
  • demonstrate an understanding of professional ethical principles and work ethically in pursuit of truth, accuracy, fairness and diversity;
  • think critically, creatively and independently;
  • conduct research and evaluate information by methods appropriate to the communications professions in which they work;
  • write correctly and clearly in forms and styles appropriate for the communications professions, audiences and purposes they serve;
  • critically evaluate their own work and that of others for accuracy and fairness, clarity, appropriate style and grammatical correctness;
  • apply basic numerical and statistical concepts;
  • apply tools and technologies appropriate for the communications professions in which they work.

These outcomes are viewed as being compatible with Bowling Green State University’s Learning Outcomes, which “are a statement of our common responsibility for shared educational values.” The BGSU outcomes are:

  • Intellectual and Practical Skills
    • Critical and Constructive Thinking: Inquiry, Examining Values, Solving Problems Creatively;
    • Communication: Writing, Presenting;
    • Engaging Others in Action: Participating, Leading
  • General and Specialized Knowledge
  • Personal and Social Responsibility
  • Ability to Integrate, Apply and Reflect

Assessment Measures

Instruction methods and content designed to achieve the defined learning outcomes are implemented throughout the journalism curriculum. A curriculum map (attached) cross-lists each departmental course available to journalism majors with the 12 ACEJMC professional values and competencies. For each course, the map indicates competencies that are introduced, emphasized, reinforced or advanced. This curriculum map forms the basis of how we envision the journalism coursework achieving the desired learning objectives.

At an elementary level then, student evaluations of teaching in these courses constitute a basic level of assessment. Grades received by students can also be an indicator of success in achieving learning outcomes. However, the assessment program extends well beyond these to other activities designed to more effectively appraise learning outcomes and involve professional journalists in the evaluation process.

Direct Measures

Professional Evaluation of Student work: with the assistance of alumni or other professionals, student work from both the mid-point and the end of the journalism program will be evaluated.

Student work from each of the capstone courses (JOUR 4200, JOUR 4300 and JOUR 4400) will be collected each spring semester. A sample of student work from sections of the Reporting course (JOUR 2500) will be drawn each spring semester as well. This work will then be submitted to professionals as appropriate. For capstone courses, work will be submitted to professionals from the appropriate area (multiplatform, broadcast or public relations); for JOUR 2500, projects may be evaluated by professionals in various areas. The professionals will evaluate the work using the ACEJMC learning outcomes and forms provided by the department as a guide.

Internship Supervisor Evaluations: at the completion of each for-credit journalism internship, the professional supervisor of the internship completes an evaluation of the student’s preparedness, knowledge and performance. This evaluation is completed online using the university’s Qualtrics web site, where aggregate information is available in spreadsheet form.

Indirect Measures

Student Exit Survey: each spring in the capstone courses, students will complete an exit survey in which they will assess their achievement of learning outcomes over the course of their time at BGSU. These surveys will consist of likert-like questions for each learning outcome and will also allow students to enter comments for each learning outcome. The assessment coordinator will compile a record of the data from these surveys.

Student Exit Interviews: each spring, the assessment coordinator will conduct exit interviews with a sample of graduating students. These interviews will be designed to elicit student perceptions of overall achievement of learning outcomes, and courses and other activities that they view as strengths or weaknesses of the program. The assessment coordinator will compile a record of the data from these interviews.

Student Performance in Regional and National Competitions: where appropriate, the performance of individual students and department-supervised organizations in regional and national competitions will be used as an indicator of achievement of learning outcomes.

Application of Findings

At the conclusion of spring semester in odd-numbered years, the assessment coordinator will compile assessment data gathered during the previous two years and issue a report. The report will include the following information:

  • Complete reports of the professionals evaluating student work in capstone courses and JOUR 2500 sections from the previous year;
  • Spreadsheet data from all internship evaluations received in the preceding academic years (Fall-Spring-Summer);
  • Reports on student exit interviews and exit survey data;
  • Listing of student participation and performance in regional and national competitions;
  • Other assessment data as appropriate;
  • The assessment coordinator’s overall evaluation of the above data and recommendations for action
  • A listing of changes made over the course of the previous two academic years based on previous assessment activities.

The report will be made available to faculty, the director of the school, and other interested parties as appropriate.

During fall semester in odd-numbered years, the journalism faculty will meet as a whole to discuss assessment data and actions needed based on the data. The faculty may make additional recommendations not included in the assessment coordinator’s report. The faculty will then begin whatever processes are needed to make revisions to courses, instructional methods, curricula or the assessment plan.

Revised May 2017

Updated: 09/26/2022 04:57PM