2019 Self Study - Part II: Supplementary Information

  1. Complete and attach here in the main body of the self-study report the following tables:

Table 1. Students

 

 

Number of Students

 

Degrees Conferred 2018-19

 

Undergraduate programs of study

Frsh

Soph

Jr

Sr

Total

Students

Bachelor’s

 

BA Communication

67

97

134

149

447

79

 

Total Students

67

97

134

149

447

79

 

Table 2. Full-Time Faculty

 

Semester: Fall 2019

Years

full-time professional experience

Years full-time college teaching

Years on this faculty

Years at present rank

Highest earned degree

Tenured (y/n)

Credit hours taught per semester

% of time

 

Tchg

Rsch

Svc

 

Unit Administrator

Felicia McGhee

13

18

18

4

PhD

Y

3

30

10

60

 

Professors

Michael McCluskey

17

14

5

0

PhD

Y

12

60

30

10

 

David Sachsman

3

50

27

27

PhD

Y

6

30

50

20

 

John Zublik

9

26

3

3

PhD

Y

10

60

30

10

 

Associate Professors

Elizabeth Gailey

3

23

23

15

PhD

Y

12

60

30

10

 

Charlene Simmons

3

14

14

8

PhD

Y

12

60

30

10

 

Assistant Professors

Jessica Freeman

1

8

1

1

PhD

N

12

60

30

10

 

Chandler Harriss

6

14

5.5

4

PhD

N

6

60

30

10

 

Nagwan Zahry

10

3

1

1

PhD

N

12

60

30

10

 

Lecturers

Angelique Gibson

8

3

1

1

MFA

N

12

90

0

10

 

Randy Golson

20

0.5

0.5

0.5

BA

N

12

90

0

10

 

James Tanner

19

0

3

0

MA

N

12

90

0

10

 

William Weeks

35

3

7

3

BA

N

12

90

0

10

 

Table 3. Part-Time Faculty

 

Semester:

Spring 2019

Years

full-time professional experience

Years teaching experience

Highest earned degree

Now working full-time as professional (y/n)

Working toward degree (y/n)

Credit hrs. teaching this semester

Teaching responsibilities:

 

In charge of course

In charge of course

Assists in lab

Assists teach in charge

 

Michael Andrews

Adjunct

28

10

BS

Y

N

3

X

 

 

 

 

Nicole Brown

Adjunct

15

11

MPA

N

N

3

X

 

 

 

 

William Davis

Adjunct

20

6

M Hum.

Y

N

3

X

 

 

 

 

Chris Dortch

Adjunct

41

5

BS

Y

N

3

X

 

 

 

 

Jessica Harthorn

Adjunct

13

1

Bach.

Y

N

3

X

 

 

 

 

Mark Kennedy

Adjunct

39

12

Bach.

Y

N

3

X

 

 

 

 

Michael Miller

Adjunct

 10

2

BA

Y

N

3

X

 

 

 

 

Catherine Morrison

Adjunct

13

4

BA

Y

N

3

X

 

 

 

 

James Tanner

Adjunct

19

3

MA

Y

N

6

X

 

 

 

 

 

Semester:

Fall 2019

Years

full-time professional experience

Years teaching experience

Highest earned degree

Now working full-time as professional (y/n)

Working toward degree (y/n)

Credit hrs. teaching this semester

Teaching responsibilities:

 

In charge of course

In charge of course

Assists in lab

Assists teach in charge

 

Michael Andrews

Adjunct

28

10

BS

Y

N

6

X

 

 

 

 

Nicole Brown

Adjunct

15

11

MPA

N

N

3

X

 

 

 

 

William Davis

Adjunct

20

6

M Hum.

Y

N

3

X

 

 

 

 

Chris Dortch

Adjunct

41

5

BS

Y

N

3

X

 

 

 

 

Jessica Harthorn

Adjunct

13

1

Bach.

Y

N

3

X

 

 

 

 

Mark Kennedy

Adjunct

39

12

Bach.

Y

N

3

X

 

 

 

 

Catherine Morrison

Adjunct

13

4

BA

Y

N

3

X

 

 

 

 

  1. Describe the history of the unit in no more than 500 words.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga introduced communication study in 1979, offering a B.A. in Communication through the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, a unit of the College of Arts and Sciences. The original BA offered concentrations in advertising, broadcasting and film (later broadcasting and electronic media), broadcast journalism, journalism, and public relations. In 1985, the unit was accorded departmental status within the college and became the Department of Communication.

In the late 1980s the department began considering the possibility of seeking accreditation with ACEJMC. To this end, in 1990, accrediting consultants William Click and Elliot Brack reviewed the program. Click and Brack recommended a major overhaul of the curriculum. They criticized the degree requirements as being beyond the resources of the institution and “at best, over-promising the students.”

In 1992, as a result of Click and Brack’s recommendations, the five concentrations were dissolved and the department adopted a converged communication curriculum. The new curriculum, comprised of 33 credits, required students to take 21 credits in core communication classes and 12 credits in communication electives. This curriculum is still in effect today, although the faculty has recently proposed changing to a BS degree requiring students to take 40 hours in communication, 25 credits in core classes and 15 credits in electives. The proposal is currently working through the approval process. The department hopes to implement the new curriculum in Fall 2021.

The Department was awarded accreditation by ACEJMC in 1996.

Over the last decade the department has experienced significant growth. Between 2006 and 2019 major enrollment grew 72.72%, from 253 majors in Fall 2006 to 451 majors in Fall 2019. The annual growth rate for this period was 4.55%.

  1. Describe the environment in which the unit operates, its goals and plans, budgetary considerations, and the nature of the parent university.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is “a comprehensive, community-engaged campus of the University of Tennessee System.” According to Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, UTC is a Doctoral/Professional University with the additional voluntary/elective Community Engagement Classification.

According to its mission, the university “is a driving force for achieving excellence by actively engaging students, faculty and staff; embracing diversity and inclusion; inspiring positive change; and enriching and sustaining our community.”

The university’s 2015-2020 strategic plan outlines four goals:

Transform lives through meaningful learning experiences.

Inspire, nurture and empower scholarship, creativity, discovery, innovation and entrepreneurial initiatives.

Ensure stewardship of resources through strategic alignment and investments.

Embrace diversity and inclusion as a path to excellence and societal change.

The university progress towards meeting these goals can be tracked on the strategic plan page at: www.utc.edu/strategic-plan/index.php.

In Fall 2018, the university’s total enrollment was 11,638, with 10,239 undergraduate students and 1,399 graduate students. Between 2011-2018 enrollment at the university grew 3.78% (0.53% annual growth rate).

The budget for fiscal year 2019 included revenues totaling $174.1 million, with 65% of revenue generated from tuition and fees, 32% from state appropriates, and 3% from sales and services. Expenses were budgeted as follows: 

 

Instruction

$ 75,166,563 (43%)

 

Student Services

$ 26,308,232 (15%)

 

Op/Maint Physical Plant

$ 21,528,231 (12%)

 

Academic Support

$ 14,317,382 (8%)

 

Institutional Support

$ 13,055,249 (8%)

 

Scholarships / FW

$ 12,916,824 (7%)

 

Public Service

$ 2,727,856 (2%)

 

Research

$ 2,545,028 (2%

 

Other Expenditures

$ 5,589,523 (3%)

 

Total

$ 174,154,888

 

During the 2018-19 academic year the university received two of its three largest single private gifts. In Fall 2018, the College of Business received a $40 million donation and was renamed the Gary W. Rollins College of Business. In Spring 2019, the university received a $15 million anonymous donation. The funds established an endowment that UTC’s Chancellor may allocate for equipment and technology needs; facility enhancement, renovation or expansion; support for scholarly research; undergraduate and graduate student scholarships; and experiential learning opportunities for students.

The Department of Communication is part of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), a college that “proudly celebrates and champions liberal education.” CAS is the largest college at the university. In Fall 2018, enrollment in the college was 3,953 (3,767 undergraduate, 177 graduate). Between 2011-2018 enrollment in the College of Arts of Science grew 2.35% (0.37% annual growth rate).

The college’s mission “is to provide an environment for intellectual curiosity and a foundation for life-long learning, thinking, reflection, and growth; to equip students with transferrable skills—critical thinking, communication, and complex problem solving skills—that are needed to adapt and succeed in a rapidly evolving world; to advance cultural and intellectual diversity ( e.g., studying competing theories as well as intellectual advancements within and beyond Western traditions); to advance new knowledge through research (theoretical and applied) and creative activities; and to advance integrated service as a part of personal and social responsibility.”

In 2015 CAS adopted its first strategic plan (available at: www.utc.edu/college-arts-sciences/cas-strategic-plan/index.php).  The plan covers academic years 2015-16 to 2019-20. The plan set forth the following goals:

This college leads the university, community, and region in providing an essential liberal arts and sciences education that prepares students for an increasingly global context and economy.

The College of Arts and Sciences values and promotes human achievement in the social sciences, behavioral sciences, natural sciences, humanities, and fine arts. In doing so, we celebrate human achievements—i.e., publications, performances, exhibitions, outstanding teaching, research, and more—both within and beyond our disciplines.

The College of Arts and Sciences embraces cultural and intellectual diversity. The College of Arts and Sciences—its leadership, faculty, and staff—is committed to a campus culture that respects the inherent worth of every person and that is enriched by our diverse backgrounds.

The College of Arts and Sciences cultivates new knowledge through research (theoretical and applied) and creative activities that engage students, faculty, and community partners.

The College of Arts and Sciences must establish its identity and value on campus, in the community, and beyond. The identity and value may be accomplished through improved communication, messaging, and marketing.

Over the last two years the university has seen changes in several executive leadership positions, including the provost & senior vice chancellor for academic affairs (herein referred to as provost) and the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

In July 2017, Dr. Jeff Elwell, who had served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences for five years, left the university.  Dr. George Hynd served as interim dean for the 2017-2018 academic year. When Dr. Hynd transitioned to interim provost, Dr. Joe Wilferth, then interim vice provost and former associate dean, was named interim dean. Dean Wilferth is currently serving a two-year interim term. The search for a new dean of the college commenced in Fall 2019, with hopes that a permanent dean will be place by July 1, 2020.

In December 2017, Dr. Gerald Ainsworth, who had served as provost for five years, retired. For Spring 2018, Dr. Robert Dooley, dean of the College of Business, served as interim provost. Following a failed search for a new provost, Dr. George Hynd served as interim provost for the 2018-2019 academic year. A second search for a new provost was successful and Jerold Hale started as provost on June 1, 2019.

 

  1. Describe any recent major changes in the mission, goals, or programs and activities of the unit.

The department revised its mission in April 2017. The new mission reaffirms the department’s commitment to providing “a strong preparation in communication practice and research based on a firm grounding in the liberal arts and sciences.” The mission also reinforces the department’s commitment to providing students with a flexible curriculum and hands-on learning opportunities. Finally, the new mission commits the department to supporting faculty research and professional practice.

In September 2017, the department adopted a new strategic plan, which was further revised in October 2018. The plan outlines goals in the following areas: facilities and technology; assessment; curriculum; engagement; diversity; faculty research and creative works.

During 2018-2019 the department undertook several major projects including:

Technology: significantly upgrading the technology and equipment used by student;

Assessment: implementing new assessment measures, reporting out findings from long-standing assessment measures, and using assessment results to inform a review of the department’s curriculum;

Curriculum: conducting a year-long curriculum review culminating in the proposal of a new BS in Communication;

Engagement: reconnecting with our alumni.

In Fall 2019, the department continued this work, including:

Technology: investigating lighting upgrades needed in the TV studio;

Assessment: reporting out findings including data from newly implemented assessment measures;

Curriculum: submitting 36 curriculum proposals, including a proposal to transition from a BA to a BS in Communication;

Engagement: creating an advisory board composed of professionals in the community and planning an event with alumni.

 

  1. If the unit was previously accredited, summarize each deficiency noted in the most recent accreditation report that the site team said should be addressed (Part 3 of site team report), followed by a response to each, explaining actions taken to address the problems and the results. If the unit was in noncompliance in the same standard(s) on the previous two visits, identify the standard(s), the reasons cited, and how these problems have been addressed.

The 2014 site team found the program not in compliance in Standard 9: Assessment of Learning Outcomes. According to the site team report the department needed “a more through and fully implemented plan to assess student leading that gathers, analyzes and applies data over a multi-year period.”

In Spring 2017, the department revised its assessment plan. Many assessment measures from the 2012 plan were retained, but several new measures were added to assess the following values and competencies:

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.  

Apply basic numerical and statistical concepts.  

In summer 2018 the department adopted a new rubric for evaluating student papers in COMM 4200, Senior Seminar. The rubric assesses the following values and competences:

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. 

Using an archive of student papers from COMM 4200, the department was able to apply the new rubric to a random sample of papers from each year between Fall 2012 and Fall 2017.

Over the course of Summer 2018, the department’s first comprehensive assessment report was produced.

The report noted that the department still needed to implement the new measures adopted in the 2017 assessment plan. In Fall 2018 the department implemented the new assessment measures adopted in the 2017 plan. Data for these measures were collected in Fall 2018 and Spring 2019.

The report determined that the department was not meeting its desired target for the following visual communication value and competency: Understand concepts and apply theories in the use and presentation of images and information. The report also provided mixed results for several values and competencies, including:

Demonstrate an understanding of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and, as appropriate, other forms of diversity in domestic society in relation to mass communications.

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. 

The department first focused on curriculum changes to address the shortcoming related to the visual communication value and competency.  In Fall 2018, the department proposed a curriculum change requiring all students to take one skills elective from a list of visual communication electives. The curriculum proposal was approved by the university in February 2019 and went into effect in August 2019.

Assessment results were then used to inform the department’s larger, year-long curriculum review. Based on the full curriculum review, the department has proposed changing from a BA to a BS degree and increasing the number of credit hours in communication from 33 credit hours to 40 credit hours. The additional credit hours will allow the department to require a 3-credit diversity course, a 1 credit technology course, and an additional mastery-level skills elective. The proposal also includes revisions to the core writing courses. The curriculum proposal was submitted to the university in Fall 2019. The proposal is currently working through the approval process. The department hopes to implement the new curriculum in Fall 2021.

In Fall 2019 an updated assessment report, including data from the newly implemented measures, was provided to the faculty. The department plans to provide yearly updates to the assessment findings.

 

  1. Describe the process used to conduct the self-study, including the roles of faculty members, students and others. Describe the strengths and weaknesses of the program discovered during the process, and describe any changes undertaken or planned as a result.

The majority of the self-study was researched and written by Charlene Simmons, a faculty member, with direction, additional writing, and final review provided by Felicia McGhee, department head. The report was copyedited by Elizabeth Gailey, a faculty member.

Faculty members provided information about activities in their courses, as well as information about their teaching, scholarship, and service accomplishments. Data was collected from a number of offices on campus, including the Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Institutional Research (OPEIR), the Office of Equity and Inclusion OEI), the Center for Career and Leadership Development, and Alumni Affairs. 

During the self-study process the department noted several areas of weakness related to resources and curriculum. The department’s greatest weakness is in the area of faculty resources. The department is understaffed, with just 13 full-time faculty serving 451 majors and 108 minors. In December 2019, the department successfully hired a new tenure-track, assistant professor who is set to join the faculty in August 2020. In December 2019, the university announced the department will add a lecturer in Fall 2020. In Fall 2019, a tenured associate professor announced she would retire at the end of this academic year. The university has yet to authorize the hiring of her replacement. In Fall 2020, it is predicted the department will have 13-14 full-time faculty.  

The majority of the department’s faculty and classrooms are still located in Frist Hall, a building previously identified by ACEJMC as deficient. The university is addressing this issue, with the department set to move to new facilities in Lupton Hall, once renovations are complete.

On the curriculum front, the department noted a need to revise degree requirements to address deficiencies identified in assessment data. Following a year-long curriculum review, the department submitted a curriculum proposal to address these deficiencies. The curriculum proposal is currently working its way through the approval process and the department hopes to implement it in Fall 2021.

The self-study process also highlighted several strengths of the department, including the faculty and the curriculum. The department’s faculty is passionate about student learning and committed to seeing students not only graduate but also succeed professionally. While the curriculum did require some revisions, as a whole it provides students with the flexibility to pursue diverse interests and combine areas that other schools restrict by concentrations. During the curriculum review process the faculty recognized the need to preserve and increase this flexibility.

 

  1. Provide the web links to undergraduate catalogs and other publications that describe the mission and scope of the unit, its curriculum, administrative and graduation requirements.

2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog:

http://catalog.utc.edu/content.php?catoid=28&navoid=981

Mission Statement:

https://www.utc.edu/communication/about.php


 2019 Self-Study