The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications is the agency formally recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) for accrediting programs for professional education in journalism and mass communications in institutions of higher learning.
The structure for evaluating and accrediting journalism and mass communications programs was established in 1945, when the American Council on Education in Journalism was formed. Its name was changed to the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications in 1980. The Council originally was an association of journalism education and newspaper organizations. Its membership now includes national and international associations representing newspapers, broadcasting, advertising, photo journalism, public relations, professional societies, and education in journalism and mass communications. Its three public members are affiliated with neither industry nor education in journalism and mass communications.
Membership on the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications is open to all membership associations of educators or professionals (including foundations related to such associations) that are involved with the professional education of students for careers in journalism, mass communications, telecommunications and other media. Admission to the Council is subject to approval by a majority of the Accrediting Council.
The Council is assisted in its work by the office of an executive director, an Accrediting Committee, an Executive Committee, teams that conduct site visits, and an Appeals Board. The executive director maintains records, provides assistance regarding the self-study process, provides names of persons who are qualified to serve as consultants to units, and arranges site visits and meetings for the Council.
The Council elects an Accrediting Committee composed of journalism and mass communications educators and industry representatives to advise it on the accreditation status of journalism and mass communications units. A majority of Accrediting Committee members are educators. The Committee meets each spring to make its recommendations based on the reports prepared by the visiting teams and responses from the institutions.
The members of a visiting team are persons competent to evaluate the units and curricula offered by a particular institution. The institution to be visited approves visiting team members before invitations are made to the individuals.
The Council consists of representatives of its member associations and of the public. Its rules give industry and educator members equal votes. The Council makes decisions about the accreditation of visited units, the periodic revision of its standards and procedures, and the publication of information about accreditation of journalism and mass communications programs. The Council usually meets twice each year.
The Council elects a president and a vice president from the representatives who compose it. The Council also selects its executive director.
The president and vice president of the Accrediting Council and the Executive Director compose the Executive Committee. This committee assists the Executive Director and the Council president in responding to questions and in providing guidance and recommendations for decisions the president may have to make before the next full Council meeting.
The Appeals Board, appointed each year by the president, hears appeals from schools and departments regarding accreditation decisions made by the Council.