Committee recommends discontinuance of CU journalism school

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A committee has recommended the University of Colorado at
Boulder discontinue its School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

In a report made public today, the Program Discontinuance
Committee recommended CU discontinue the journalism school “to permit a
strategic realignment of degree programs, faculty and other resources.”

Chancellor Phil DiStefano initiated the discontinuance
process in August. In April, DiStefano received a letter from a prominent donor
and from the J School’s alumni advisory board, both recommending
discontinuance.

Much of the report focuses on the idea that as the state’s
flagship university, CU-Boulder’s main academic focus is research. There is “structural
tension,” the report notes, “between the research-centered mission of the
university and the professional focus of the journalism school.” The report
states that while the same tension exists within the other professional schools
on campus, like business, law, music and engineering, “Those are all units of
considerable distinction. We have not found a convincing rationale for why the
rest of the campus should underwrite the SJMC.”

Although the report states that the committee does not
recommend discontinuance for budgetary reasons, the report also questions
whether the university gets a suitable return for the investment it makes in
journalism education.

“Given the financial and other costs to the campus of
offering professional training in journalism and advertising at the
undergraduate level, we question whether continuation of those costs is
justified if the product remains in its current form — a competent but not yet
nationally prominent accredited program,” the report says.

The report recommended that all tenured and tenure-track
faculty retain their jobs in other academic programs within the university or
within the new unit created by the university that would continue teaching
journalism at CU.

For the complete report, visit http://academicaffairs.colorado.edu/academicreview.

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