Planning for the Future
JOURNALISM ASSESSMENT PLAN
The undergraduate program in journalism:
- Program Goals
The journalism program at the University of Wyoming is based on theory and practice and plans to train students who intend to practice responsible journalism in its many forms. In short, our graduates should be able to work as professional journalists and eventually assume positions of leadership in the profession. At the same time, they should be qualified for admission to top-flight graduate programs or be able to pursue other media-related careers if they choose.
- Learning Outcomes
- Graduates should be able to compile information and write well, and understand the presentation of information in its many visual forms for mass audiences.
- Graduates should understand the theory applicable to the media and relevant to the student's area of interest, be it verbal, visual, persuasive, etc.
- Graduates should understand the role and responsibilities of a free press, including a commitment to accuracy, fairness, depth, and social conscience.
- Program Objectives
- Demonstrate the skills to produce competent and quality products in the medium of the student's expertise, be it news stories, photographs, publication design, advertising, etc.
- Produce content in a medium of the student's expertise that demonstrates a sound understanding of media theory.
- Produce media content consistent with the role of the media and the responsibilities of a free press in a democracy.
- Internships: Roughly 40 students are engaged in internships in any given semester (120 students per year in a department with 300 majors). This number represents the vast majority of our majors over a 4-year span meaning that we have a very large and valid sample from which to assess student success. The internship materials provided by all senior and junior Journalism majors will be analyzed by members of the departments assessment committee (which includes the internship director) as a measure of student success.
- Portfolios: Every intern is required to submit a portfolio containing a representative sample of the work produced during the internship. These portfolios will be analyzed to determine competence in the students area of expertise.
- Formal Evaluation: As an added component of the portfolio analysis, the internship director will read each portfolio and provide a letter grade. Since internship activities are so diverse, the internship director will grade that component of the portfolio that reflects the interns primary work responsibility. For example, the portfolio may be graded based on the quality of media writing, marketing, advertising, graphic design, or photography.
- Student Self-Assessment: At the end of their internships, all students write a final paper that analyzes how well the program prepared them for a work-related experience. The assessment team will analyze these papers to determine how well students feel they are prepared for their careers.
- External Evaluation: All interns are required to work under the direction of supervisors. All supervisors fill out an evaluation form that provides feedback on the knowledge and skills that the students bring to the work situation. This feedback will be analyzed by the assessment team as part of the assessment process.
- Informal Evaluation: As media practitioners, our graduates produce highly visible products often times for consumption by the general public. The work of the graduates is often on display for anyone who cares to see it. Informally, it is easy to track student progress simply because faculty members are consumers of many of the media products produced by our students.
- External Constituencies: Our department members retain close ties with many external constituencies including public relations firms, advertising agencies, and the Wyoming Press Association. These companies hire our graduates, and their feedback provides a very valuable form of student assessment.