2019 Self Study - Part II, Standard 2: Curriculum and Instruction

Executive summary:

The department currently offers a B.A. in Communication, which requires students to complete a minimum of 33 hours in communication, with 21 credits in core courses and 12 hours in elective courses. The curriculum is designed to provide students with the flexibility to pursue their own interests and professional goals under faculty guidance.

During the 2018-19 academic year the faculty conducted a year-long review of the curriculum. During the review, the department analyzed assessment data; surveyed students; surveyed alumni and professionals; examined curricula at peer institutions; and mapped courses to ACEJMC values and competencies.

The review identified several areas where the curriculum could be strengthened, including (1) more thoroughly addressing diversity, both domestic and global, (2) requiring students to gain broader and deeper professional experience through professional electives, (3) providing students with more options for professional electives, and (4) providing students with options for the second required media writing course.

Based on the review process, the department determined that the following curriculum changes were needed:

 

Need

Proposed Change

 

Remain competitive with other communication programs in the state.

Change from a B.A. to a B.S.

 

Address domestic and global diversity in greater depth.

 

Add COMM 4210, Media and Diversity, to the core requirements.

 

Provide more practical experience to ensure students’ professional success.

Increase the number of required professional electives from two to three courses.

 

Address students need to gain mastery-level experience in at least one professional area.

Require that students take at least one of their three professional electives at the mastery-level.

 

Address public relations students need for a required writing course focused on writing for public relations instead of writing for broadcast journalism.

Allow students to choose from either 2310 Multimedia Journalism or 2330 Public Relations Writing for their second writing course.

 

Address students desire to learn skills not currently addressed in our curriculum.

Add new professional electives to the course catalog.

 

In August 2019, the department submitted 36 curriculum proposals to the university for review and approval. The proposals include the creation a new B.S. in Communication, deactivation of the existing B.A. in Communication, introduction of 10 new courses (2 required courses and 8 elective courses), and modifications to course names, descriptions, and prerequisites for some existing courses.

The proposed B.S. in Communication includes the following changes:

An increase in required COMM credit hours from a minimum of 33 to a minimum of 40 hours.

The addition of a three-credit, upper-division diversity and media course to the degree’s core requirements (COMM 4210).

The addition of a one-credit, lower-division communication technology course to the degree’s core requirements (COMM 1100).

The option for students to take either a journalism writing (COMM 2310) or public relations writing (COMM 2330) course as their second required media writing course.

An increase from 12 to 15 elective hours, with the requirement that 9 of these elective hours be taken from “professional” courses, with at least one of these professional courses being at the mastery level.

The elimination of the computer literacy course requirement.

The elimination of the foreign language requirement.

The curriculum proposal is currently making its way through the multi-stepped approval process within the university. The B.S proposal began this process at the end of August 2019. In January 2020, the College of Arts and Sciences’s curriculum committee rejected the B.S. degree proposal. The department has replied to the committee’s concerns and has asked it to review the proposal for a second time. If the college curriculum committee approves the proposal it will continue through the approval process, with several more levels of review.  If it is approved by the University, the B.S. degree program will also need to be approved by the UT Board of Trustees and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC). The department is working with UTC’s Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Institutional Research to seek these approvals. The department hopes to implement the curriculum changes in Fall 2021.

A copy of the full proposal is available at:

https://www.utc.edu/communication/docs/bs-communication.docx

  

  1. Use the following format to provide an outline of the curriculum required for the major and for each of the unit’s specializations. Add lines for courses and categories as needed. (Please see example provided separately with this template.)

Please note this question was answered based on our current B.A. in Communication (catalog year 2019-2020). 

Number of hours/units required for graduation: 120

Number of hours/units required for major degree: 33

Core Courses for All Students in Program (21 credits)

Introduction to Mass Communication, 3 credits

Media Writing I, 3 credits

Media Writing II, 3 credits

Mass Communication Perspectives, 3 credits

Senior Seminar, 3 credits

Mass Communication Law and Ethics, 3 credits

Individual Internship or Directed Project, 3 credits

Elective courses that must be taken within the program (12 credits)

A visual communications skills elective that includes one of the following: Publication Design I or II, Web Design, Video I or II, Television News Production, Photojournalism I or II, Documentary II, or a Special Topics in Visual Skills, 3 credits

9 credits of electives (to qualify for the internship, students must take at least 3 hours in a skills elective): Public Relations Writing, Publication Design I or II, Web Design, Audio Production and Presentation, Video I or II, Television News Production, Advanced Reporting, Feature Writing, Online Advertising, Creative Editing, Photojournalism I or II, Documentary II, Special Topics, Skills, Special Topics in Visual Skills, The Advertising Campaign, The Public Reltaions Campaign, Mass Media History, Television and Pop Culture, Race, Gender and the Media, Documentary I, Special Topics, Non-skills, Public Communication and Environmental Issues, 3 credits

Required outside of the accredited unit

A computer literacy course

 

  1. Explain how requirements for the major do not exceed the maximum credit hours allowable under the 72-credit hour rule and how students comply with the minimum of 72 hours they must take outside journalism and mass communications. If a minor is required, include these details.

The degree includes the requirement that: “Communication majors must take a minimum of 72 semester hours in courses outside the major.” This degree requirement is checked by the Registrar prior to the awarding of a degree. The only way a student can graduate with less than 72 hours outside of COMM is to petition for the waiver of a degree requirement. In the last 6 years only one student has petitioned this degree requirement, having completed 69 hours outside of the major.

Students are required to complete a minor outside of communication. Students can select from 50 minors offered at the university, with the exception of the minor in communication. Minors range in credits hours from 18 to 24 hours.

 

  1. Describe how the core and required courses instruct majors in all of ACEJMC’s 12 professional values and competencies with a balance of theoretical and conceptual courses and skills courses.

Through both core courses and electives, the curriculum balances theoretical/conceptual courses and skills courses. Within the seven core classes, 4 are focused on theoretical and conceptual knowledge while 3 courses are focused on skills. Within the 4 elective courses, 2 electives are skills-focused and the other 2 electives can be skills and/or theoretical/conceptual-oriented.

The seven core courses, combined with the elective that must be taken from a list of visual communication skills courses, address the 12 professional values and competencies in the following ways:

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.  

 

Course 

Awareness 

Understanding 

Application 

 

Intro to Mass Comm.

Introduction 

 

 

 

Media Writing I

Introduction 

Introduction 

Introduction 

 

Media Writing II 

Reinforcement 

Reinforcement 

Reinforcement 

 

Comm Law & Ethics

Mastery 

Mastery 

Mastery 

 

Demonstrate an understanding of the history and role of professionals and institutions in shaping communications.  

 

Course 

Awareness 

Understanding 

Application 

 

Intro to Mass Comm.

Introduction 

Introduction 

 

 

Mass Comm. Perspectives

Reinforcement 

Reinforcement 

Reinforcement 

 

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

 

Course 

Awareness 

Understanding 

Application 

 

Intro to Mass Comm.

Introduction 

 

 

 

Mass Comm. Perspectives

Reinforcement 

Reinforcement 

Reinforcement 

 

Demonstrate an understanding of the diversity of peoples and cultures and of the significance and impact of mass communications in a global society. 

 

Course 

Awareness 

Understanding 

Application 

 

Intro to Mass Comm.

Introduction 

 

 

 

Mass Comm. Perspectives

Reinforcement 

Reinforcement 

Reinforcement 

 

Understand concepts and apply theories in the use and presentation of images and information.  

 

Course 

Awareness 

Understanding 

Application 

 

Media Writing II 

Introduction 

Introduction 

Introduction 

 

Vis Comm Skills Class 

Reinforcement 

Reinforcement 

Reinforcement 

 

Demonstrate an understanding of professional ethical principles and work ethically in pursuit of truth, accuracy, fairness and diversity.   

 

Course 

Awareness 

Understanding 

Application 

 

Intro to Mass Comm.

Introduction 

 

 

 

Media Writing I

Introduction 

Introduction 

Introduction 

 

Media Writing II 

Reinforcement 

Reinforcement 

Reinforcement 

 

Comm Law & Ethics

Mastery 

Mastery 

Mastery 

 

Think critically, creatively and independently.  

 

Course 

Awareness 

Understanding 

Application 

 

Media Writing I

Introduction 

Introduction 

Introduction 

 

Media Writing II 

Introduction 

Introduction 

Introduction 

 

Mass Comm. Perspectives

Reinforcement 

Reinforcement 

Reinforcement 

 

Senior Seminar 

Mastery 

Mastery 

Mastery 

 

Internship / Project

Mastery 

Mastery 

Mastery 

 

Conduct research and evaluate information by methods appropriate to the communications professions in which they work.   

 

Course 

Awareness 

Understanding 

Application 

 

Intro to Mass Comm.

Introduction 

 

 

 

Media Writing I

Introduction 

Introduction 

Introduction 

 

Media Writing II 

Introduction 

Introduction 

Introduction 

 

Mass Comm. Perspectives

Reinforcement 

Reinforcement 

Reinforcement 

 

Senior Seminar 

Mastery 

Mastery 

Mastery 

 

Write correctly and clearly in forms and styles appropriate for the communications professions, audiences and purposes they serve.  

 

Course 

Awareness 

Understanding 

Application 

 

Media Writing I

Introduction 

Introduction 

Introduction 

 

Media Writing II 

Reinforcement 

Reinforcement 

Reinforcement 

 

Critically evaluate their own work and that of others for accuracy and fairness, clarity, appropriate style and grammatical correctness.  

 

Course 

Awareness 

Understanding 

Application 

 

Media Writing I

Introduction 

Introduction 

Introduction 

 

Media Writing II 

Reinforcement 

Reinforcement 

Reinforcement 

 

Apply basic numerical and statistical concepts.  

 

Course 

Awareness 

Understanding 

Application 

 

Intro to Mass Comm.

Introduction 

 

 

 

Media Writing I

Introduction 

 

 

 

Media Writing II 

Introduction 

 

 

 

Senior Seminar 

Mastery 

Mastery 

 

 

Apply tools and technologies appropriate for the communications professions in which they work.  

 

Course 

Awareness 

Understanding 

Application 

 

Media Writing II 

Introduction 

Introduction 

Introduction 

 

Vis Comm Skills Class 

Reinforcement 

Reinforcement 

Reinforcement 

 

  1. Explain how instruction, whether on-site or online, responds to professional expectations of current digital, technological and multimedia competencies.

Within the core curriculum, students are introduced to digital, technological, and multimedia skills in both COMM 2300, Media Writing I, and COMM 2310, Media Writing II. In Media Writing I students learn the basics of journalistic writing, including how to write for online audiences. In Media Writing II students learn how to create news stories for multiple digital media formats. Students learn how to record digital audio and video content and how to edit audio and video using Adobe Audition and Adobe Premiere.

Elective courses offer students more in-depth experience with digital and multimedia storytelling. For example, students in Photojournalism I learn to shoot using DSLR cameras and edit using Adobe Photoshop and Photomechanics, two industry standards. In Photojournalism II students not only create still images but also create multimedia stories.

Students enrolled in our video courses, including Video I, Video II, and Documentary II, learn to create digital video content using DLSR cameras, digital camcorders, Zoom audio recorders, and Adobe Creative Suite. The types of video projects created in these courses have evolved to match current trends in online video. 

Students in our audio courses, including Audio Production and Presentation and our recently created Podcasting I and II courses, use Zoom audio recorders and Adobe Audition to create content to be digitally distributed to audiences.

In our publication and web design courses students learn how to use programs within the Adobe Creative Suite to design visual messages for distribution in a variety of formats, including print and digital.

In Television News Production and Advanced Reporting students learn how to use a variety of digital video and audio tools to create news content to be distributed not only through traditional broadcast and print media platforms but also digital platforms.

We regularly introduce new electives through our “Special Topics” heading, many of which address current technological trends. For example, in the last year we have offered a public relations special topics course in social media and marketing. We also introduced a new special topics course called “Rising Rock” in which students manage and create content for the department’s multimedia, non-fiction storytelling web site, RisingRock.net.

 

  1. Explain how the accredited unit ensures consistency in learning objectives, workload and standards in courses with multiple sections.

In COMM 2300, Media Writing I and COMM 2310, Media Writing II, one faculty member serves as the coordinator of the course. The coordinator develops the syllabus, class activities, and student assignments. The coordinator distributes the materials to other instructors, with the instructors allowed to make some modifications to the materials, as long as the section continues to meet the course’s learning outcomes, workload, and standards.

 

In other courses with multiple sections taught by different instructors (COMM 3200, Mass Communication Perspectives, COMM 3350, Publication Design I, COMM 4200, Senior Seminar, and COMM 4510, Mass Communication Law & Ethics) faculty work together to reach agreed upon learning outcomes, to require similar work from students, and to have similar standards.

 

  1. Describe the methods used to select sites for internships for credit in the major; to supervise internship and work experience programs; to evaluate and grade students’ performance in these programs; and to award credit for internships or work experiences. In a digital format, provide the unit’s internship policy, questionnaires and other instruments used to monitor and evaluate internships and work experiences. Provide examples of recent internship sites.

Students are required to complete an internship (COMM 4850) or a directed project (COMM 4800). The majority of our students choose to complete the internship. Details about how students apply to the internship program are available at: https://www.utc.edu/communication/internship.php

Once accepted into the internship program, students work with their instructor to identify potential internships. The department keeps a listing of regularly occurring internships in the Chattanooga area, although students are welcome to find their own opportunities locally, regionally, nationally, or internationally.

The instructors of the internship course work with internship supervisors to ensure the internship opportunity will be valuable for the student. They also inform the supervisors of their responsibilities for providing students with on-the-job training and for providing instructors with evaluations of the student twice during the semester. The responsibilities of internship supervisors are outlined at:

https://www.utc.edu/communication/pdfs/intern-supervisor-responsibilities.pdf

During the semester students submit weekly reflections on their work experience and the number of hours they work is recorded. By the end of the semester students must accrue 150 hours of work experience to receive credit for the course. 

Students also submit midterm and final reflections on their work experience.

Supervisors evaluate the interns twice during the semester, at the midterm and at the completion of the semester, using the supervisor evaluation form available at:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfle8T_o2ZY4YqJiCCwbrEyL4NpJ-0-99FktEcqHnEFAUqEZQ/viewform

At the end of the internship students submit a final portfolio. The portfolios are evaluated by a national team of professionals using the following evaluation form:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdU0UNVOX5H5kmn6Bsn1CY5LL1IYkzWykJpZ8UWEyjIowfi_A/viewform

Student grades are calculated based on the final portfolio evaluation, supervisor evaluations, and student reflections.

In Spring 2019, students interned at the following sites:

Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer

Bethlehem Center

Carrabbas

Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce

Chattanooga Dance Theatre

Chattanooga Film Festival

Chattanooga Police Department

Chattanooga Vapor Co

City of Chattanooga, Youth and Family Development

Colortest

Counsel Creative LLC

Delegator

Girls on the Run of Southeast TN

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga Area

Hamilton County Schools Communications Department

Legacy Ventures Restaurants

Mace & Carmichael

McKamey Animal Center

Murfeesboro City Schools

Neigh’tions

RAE’s Hospitality Group / Oyster Boat LLC

Soirees Event Planning

Songbirds

Southern Bend Foundation

TVA Communication & Marketing

Upstream Rehabilitation Partners – BenchMark Physical Therapy

Unum

UTC Athletics – Communications

UTC Athletics – MocsVision

UTC Campus Recreation

UTC Multicultural Services

UTC Office for URaCE

UTC TV Production

WCLE Mix 104.1

WNOO / ClearMedia LLC

WRCB-TV

WTCI PBS

WTVC News Channel 9

WUTC FM 88.1

 


2019 Self Study