Journalism B.A. Assessment Plan

Mission Statement

The RSJ and Center for Advanced Media Studies ("RSJ") is committed to advancing the practice of and knowledge about journalism and its related fields. We, the faculty, believe that the best way to prepare our students is for our faculty to be active participants in the creation of the future of journalism. As we work toward the future, we pledge to remain faithful to the enduring basics of journalism analytical thinking, clear writing, compelling presentation, ethical thinking and sophisticated research methods whether applied to news or strategic communication. We believe that by linking the best of the past to the promise of the future, we can show to the communities we serve that journalism and strategic communications matter, as professions and as cornerstones of democracy.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Students will be able to demonstrate the ability to write correctly and clearly in forms and styles appropriate for the communications professions, audiences and purposes they serve.

Student Performance Indicators
  • Learning Objective 1: Students will demonstrate an ability to write with few, if any, grammatical errors.
  • Learning Objective 2: Students will demonstrate an ability to use styles and forms from a press release to a hard news story appropriate to their chosen communication profession.
  • Learning Objective 3: Students will demonstrate ability to fashion stories that flow well in text, video, and audio, and engage readers.
  • Learning Objective 4: Students will demonstrate an ability to conduct research and support the main points of their stories with appropriate information.
Assessment Method
  • Rubrics for writing and visual communication are used every semester to evaluate a sample of first student projects in J107/107, "Multimedia News Reporting I," and last student projects in J207/208, "Multimedia News Reporting II." Every student majoring in journalism also is required to complete an internship. We require coordinators of internship programs to evaluate student performance according to the school's stated learning goals. The RSJ uses these internship reports as another direct measure of student learning.

2. Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of concepts and apply theories in the use and presentation of images and information.

Student Performance Indicators
  • Learning Objective 1: Students will demonstrate basic visual literacy. This includes such elements as placement, hierarchy, rule of thirds, and typographic principles.
  • Learning Objective 2: Students will demonstrate facility in visual tools appropriate for the communications professions in which they work, including photographic, video, and web-design techniques. This includes the ability to understand and apply the variables of exposure, depth of field, depiction of motion, and transition. Compositional decisions should be informed by elements of visual literacy identified in learning object.
  • Learning Objective 3: Students will demonstrate visual literacy in creating photographs, video, and Web pages that communicate the essence of a situation clearly and effectively, with an awareness of and an adherence to the ethical standards of their chosen communication profession.
Assessment Method
  • Rubrics for writing and visual communication are used every semester to evaluate a sample of first student projects in J107/107, "Multimedia News Reporting I," and last student projects in J207/208, "Multimedia News Reporting II." Every student majoring in journalism is required to complete an internship. We require coordinators of internship programs to evaluate student performance according to the school's stated learning goals (Appendix C). The RSJ uses these internship reports as another direct measure of student learning.

3. Students will be able to demonstrate and apply the principles and laws of freedom of speech and press, including the right to dissent, to monitor and criticize power, and to assemble and petition for redress of grievances.

Student Performance Indicators
  • Learning Objective 1. Students will demonstrate knowledge of the history of the First Amendment, including the role of the press in this amendment's historical development.
  • Learning Objective 2. Students will demonstrate awareness of the rights protected by the First Amendment.
  • Learning Objective 3. Students will demonstrate knowledge of the main areas of First Amendment law, including libel, obscenity, prior restraint and commercial speech.
Assessment Method
  • A survey testing students knowledge of law & ethics, administered every semester at the beginning of Journalism 101, "Critical Analysis of Mass Communication" (the entry course to the journalism major), and at the end of J401, "First Amendment & Society" (one of the last core courses students take in the curriculum).

4. Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of professional ethical principles and their historical development, and be able to work ethically in pursuit of truth, accuracy, fairness and diversity.

Student Performance Indicators
  • Learning Objective 1. Students will demonstrate knowledge of professional codes of ethics and standards of truth and their historical development.
  • Learning Objective 2. Students will demonstrate an ability to anticipate and recognize ethical issues when they arise and to reason through them taking multiple perspectives into account.
  • Learning Objective 3. Students will demonstrate an ability to explain their ethical reasoning about a particular dilemma and in terms that can be understood by a diverse group of people.
Assessment Method
  • A survey testing students knowledge of law & ethics, administered every semester at the beginning of Journalism 101, "Critical Analysis of Mass Communication" (the entry course to the journalism major), and at the end of J305, "Media Ethics," (one of the last core courses students take in the curriculum).

5. Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the diversity of groups (including communities defined by gender, race, ethnicity, age, religion and sexual orientation) in a global society in relationship to communications.

Student Performance Indicators
  • Learning Objective 1: Students will demonstrate an ability to produce media that serve the needs and interests of diverse communities and reflect their voices and experiences.
  • Learning Objective 2: Students will demonstrate sensitivity to and understanding of the cultures, histories, perspectives, and socio-economic and political situations of diverse groups.
  • Learning Objective 3: Students will demonstrate an ability to work with members of diverse groups to engage publicly over issues of community interest.
Assessment Method
  • Student Projects. Student projects are used every semester to evaluate a sample of first student projects in J107/107, "Multimedia News Reporting I," and last student projects in J207/208, "Multimedia News Reporting II" according to our diversity learning goals. Every student majoring in journalism also is required to complete an internship. We require coordinators of internship programs to evaluate student performance according to the school's stated learning goals, including its diversity goal. The RSJ uses these internship reports as another direct measure of student learning.

6. Students will be able to conduct research and evaluate information by methods appropriate to the communications professions in which they work.

Student Performance Indicators
  • Learning Objective 1. Students will demonstrate an ability to systematically search for and select credible information on a variety of topics Learning Objective 2. Students will demonstrate an ability to interpret, analyze and evaluate evidence, statements, graphics, questions, etc. in their own work and that of others.
  • Learning Objective 3. Students will demonstrate basic numerical literacy, including the ability to apply basic numerical and statistical concepts.
Assessment Method
  • In addition to direct measures, the RSJ considers several kinds of indirect measures for all of its learning objectives. These include:Retention and Graduation Rates, Student Placement, Course Syllabuses, Student Performance in Contests and Competitions, Senior Exit Interviews
  • Student projects are used every semester to evaluate a sample of first student projects in J107/107, "Multimedia News Reporting I," and last student projects in J207/208, "Multimedia News Reporting II." These projects are assessed according to how proficient students are in our critical thinking learning objectives. Every student majoring in journalism also is required to complete an internship. We require coordinators of internship programs to evaluate student performance according to the school's stated learning goals. The RSJ uses these internship reports as another direct measure of student learning.