Other School Guidelines

The School has autonomy in specific and specified areas. This section of the Handbook details those areas and attendant policies. A copy of this Handbook shall be made available to all Kent and regional campus faculty members within the School.

Goals of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication

The School of Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC) at Kent State University will be the most relevant, student-centered, and ethically driven accredited program in the country.

Mission Statement:

We provide a relevant academic experience that balances both conceptual and practical courses, professional opportunities and multiple internships, all of which are grounded in a foundation of ethics in a diverse and global society.

What we do:

JMC educates storytellers and those who will manage businesses or organizations that have storytelling or content as a primary function. This storytelling takes place in journalistic, informative, entertainment, and persuasive environments and encompasses multimedia and multi-platform delivery.

We prepare students for careers in today’s marketplace with knowledge and broad-based skills that will allow them not only to succeed but also to innovate, manage, and lead. We also prepare them for productive lives as active citizens in a world increasingly connected by communication and commerce.

How we do it:

Everything we do in JMC is based on our values and core competencies. Students in our program will develop the following:

Effective communication skills, grounded in strong writing. These skills today include broad-based multimedia communication skills.

Critical and analytical thinking that allows for ethical and creative approaches to storytelling, problem solving, and innovation. Our curriculum and experiences emphasize flexibility and adaptability. Such thinking should lead to an entrepreneurial mindset.

An understanding of audiences/participants in communication and of the communications platforms through which these audiences/participants communicate. From day one, our students begin developing their personal brands – the experiences and attributes that set them apart.

Knowledge and expertise in subject matter through a liberal education. Graduation requirements permit deep immersion into subjects housed in other schools and departments, allowing for minors and double majors, among other ways to build subject expertise.

An understanding of the history and role of professionals and institutions in shaping communication.

An understanding of professional ethical principles and how to work ethically in pursuit of truth, accuracy, fairness, and diversity.

An understanding of the principles and laws of freedom of speech and press of the United

States, as well as an understanding of 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 to petition for redress of grievances.

The ability to conduct research, apply basic statistical concepts, and evaluate information by methods appropriate to the communications professions in which they work.

The ability to find, interpret and use data effectively for storytelling, reporting, and other communication purposes.

An understanding of culture, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and, as appropriate, other forms of diversity in domestic society in relation to mass communications in a global society.

The skills to critically evaluate their own work and that of others for accuracy and fairness, clarity, appropriate style, and grammatical correctness.

Our aspirations:

Be recognized as an innovative national leader in professional media education, not only for undergraduates, but also for 1) scholastic journalists and their teachers, 2) graduate students, and 3) working professionals.

Build the School’s applied scholarly, creative, and journalistic output by faculty and students in support of the School’s mission, its reputation and its financial resources.

Remain progressive in adapting the education we offer to new market realities.

  1. Structure and Organization of the School

    In matters both procedural and academic, governance is primarily the province of the Director of the School, the Associate Director and/or other appointed administrators and the Faculty Advisory Committee, as provided for in the Collective Bargaining Agreements.

    In more closely defined areas, such as graduate and undergraduate programs and program sequences, routine governance matters are handled by elected coordinators.

    In addition to these officials, administration in specific areas may devolve to standing or ad hoc committees.

    1. Duties of the Director

      The Director is the administrative officer and official spokesperson and, as such, provides leadership, planning, execution, and evaluation of programs within the School. The Director is advised by the Faculty Advisory Committee, the Professional Advisory Board, the general faculty, sequence coordinators, and the various standing and ad hoc faculty and student committees.

      The appointment of the Director is detailed in the University Policy Register, 6-05 (B). The Director reports to the Dean of the College of Communication and Information.

      Generally, the Director:

      1.  Enforces University and College regulations, implements policies established in the School Handbook, and adheres to the provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreements.

      2.  Develops and carries out administrative and educational policies of the School after thorough and appropriate consultation with the proper committee, faculty or individual.

      3.  Recommends new and continuing faculty appointments to the Dean, writes specific letters of offer detailing faculty expectations and recommends the promotion of or the granting of tenure to tenure-track faculty members of the School who have met eligibility and qualification criteria.

      4.  Recommends, with documentation and in accordance with University-mandated procedures, the dismissal of faculty who have not met eligibility and qualification criteria.

      5.  Appoints and directs the non-academic staff of the School.

      6.  Recommends leaves of absence.

      7.  Calls and presides at all faculty meetings, prepares and distributes agenda for those meetings and distributes minutes of prior meetings.

      8.  Informs faculty of appropriate information from the offices of the College and/or University.

      9.  Assigns faculty members to appropriate non-classroom duties, such as graduation marshal or admissions presentation, after consultation with those faculty members.

      10.  Carries out appropriate liaison with mass communication professionals and alumni to promote the School.

      11.  Belongs to appropriate professional and scholarly societies.

      12.  Attends local, regional, and national meetings of appropriate societies, as time and resources permit.

      13.  Takes the appropriate steps for professional growth through research, publication, and presentation or participation at workshops and seminars, conferences, and conventions.

      14.  Ascertains faculty committee assignment preferences and makes committee assignments in the interests of the School faculty.

      15.  Seeks extramural funding through alumni and the University Foundation.

      16.  Supervises the spending of the School’s university budget allocation and various foundation accounts.

      17.  Recommends recipients and amounts of Merit Awards.


    2. Duties of the Associate Director

      The Associate Director is charged with managing the day-to-day functions of both undergraduate and graduate programs within the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

      The Associate Director provides oversight for curricular actions, scheduling, student retention, and advising and serves as the primary advisor and liaison to the Director on a variety of strategic initiatives. These initiatives include (but are not limited to) enhancing collaboration among CCI schools, general management, and budget development and administration.

      The Associate Director also will take an active role in ensuring the School of Journalism and Mass Communication exceeds all standards expected of a program accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

      Within this capacity, the Associate Director:

      1.  Oversees scheduling of classes in partnership with the undergraduate, graduate, and sequence coordinators.

      2.  Develops and completes a consistent, effective assessment plan that emphasizes opportunities to inform course content and curricular development.

      3.  Plays an active role on the JMC recruiting and retention committees.

      4.  Acts as the school’s liaison to the college advising staff.

      5.  Supervises full-time and student staff as assigned.

      6.  Helps the director handle student complaints.

      7.  Represents the Director in his/her absence.

      8.  Serves as a liaison between school and university through active participation on committees.

      9.  Coordinates post-secondary and articulation initiatives.

      10.  Serves as school liaison to regional campuses.


    3. Duties of Coordinators

      The undergraduate program provides programs of study in advertising, public relations, journalism, and digital media production. There is an Undergraduate Studies Coordinator and a Graduate Studies Coordinator(s). Undergraduate Sequence Coordinators are elected for journalism, advertising, public relations, and digital media production. The duties of these coordinators may carry workload equivalencies.

    4. Duties of the Undergraduate Studies Coordinator

      Duties of the Undergraduate Studies Coordinator

      The Undergraduate Studies Coordinator, who is elected to a two-year term by the FAC, has the following duties:

      1. Work closely with the Associate Director and sequence coordinators to determine and plan each semester’s schedule of classes.

      2. Work closely with the Associate Director and sequence coordinators on curriculum changes.

      3. Prepare all documentation for curricular changes and shepherd these changes through the required approvals at Kent State University.

      4. Partner with advisors to approve new catalogs/roadmaps and initiate needed changes to existing catalog copy/roadmaps.

      5. Coordinate post-secondary and articulation initiatives.

      6. Review potential transfer courses to determine acceptability.

      7. Chair the Undergraduate Studies Committee.

      8. Approve advising/registration exceptions.

      9. Complete other duties as assigned.

    5. Duties of the Graduate Studies Coordinator(s)

      The Graduate Studies Coordinator, who is elected to a two-year term by the FAC, has the following duties:

      1. Coordinate and assist in graduate student recruitment and preparing materials for prospective graduate students, answering inquiries, and conferring with prospective graduate students about admission and tracks within the graduate program.

      2. Work closely with the graduate secretary to ensure appropriate maintenance of all records for the graduate program and admission papers of graduate students.

      3. Partner with the Associate Director and faculty on revision of graduate curricula and course offerings, and conferring with the Associate Director and Graduate Studies Committee on the schedule of courses.

      4. Recommend admission to the Graduate Program, in cooperation with the Associate Director and the Graduate Studies Committee.

      5. Appoint academic advisers for graduate students, in consultation with the students and faculty.

      6. Recommend students for graduate appointments to the Graduate Studies Committee.

      7. Nominate members of the faculty for graduate faculty status to the Director after formal review and vote by the Graduate Faculty Committee.

      8. Arrange for graduate students to be represented in the activities of the School, including the FAC meetings. The coordinator should also make sure graduate students’ views are represented to the graduate faculty. The Graduate Studies Role and Status of Graduate Student Appointees document details the role of graduate students in governance.

      9. Chair the Graduate Studies Committee.

      10. Maintain liaison with the Office of Graduate Studies.

      11. Serve as the School’s CCI Graduate Coordinators Council Representative.

      12. Approve students’ graduate programs of study.

      13. Complete other duties as assigned.

    6. Duties of the Undergraduate Sequence Coordinator

      Undergraduate Sequence Coordinators are elected for journalism, advertising, public relations, and digital media production. Sequence Coordinators may warrant a load equivalency in times when much work is required, such as when the curriculum is being revised.

      Sequence coordinators, who are elected to a two-year term by the members of the individual sequence, have the following duties:

      1. Administer the sequence program, which includes calling a minimum of one meeting of the sequence faculty each semester to discuss problems, procedures, policies, curriculum, teaching assignments, texts, etc.

      2. Consult with the Director, Associate Director and/or Undergraduate Studies Coordinator as appropriate about the sequence teaching assignments and/or courses required in all sequences.

      3. Administer the policy that textbooks for courses that are prerequisite to any other JMC course at the Kent campus or regional campuses may be approved by the sequence. Texts for cross-sequence courses can be chosen by a committee of faculty members from the sequences requiring the course.

      4. Suggest the updating of basic data sheets and exploring with sequence faculty the advisability of initiating new courses and programs and canceling old courses.

      5. Assist regional-campus instructors who teach within the sequence.

      6. Assure consistency in multiple-section courses.

      7. Determine needs for personnel and other resources in the sequence and advising the Director on the hiring of part-time faculty.

      8. Assist with training and mentoring of part-time faculty.

      9. Complete other duties as assigned.

    7. Peer Review Coordinator

      The Peer Review Coordinator, who is elected for a two-year term by the Faculty Advisory Committee, has the following duties:

      1. Maintain the process the FAC has approved for conducting systematic peer evaluations of the teaching of tenured faculty, probationary tenure-track faculty, and full time non-tenure track faculty.

      2. Assist faculty with their efforts to improve teaching quality.

      3. Arrange for at least one class session taught by each probationary tenure-track faculty member and each full time non-tenure track faculty member on a one-year contract to be visited each semester by a faculty of higher rank but no less that at the associate level when higher rank is not possible. Tenure-track faculty would still be reviewed by Tenured faculty. A written report based on those visits will be submitted to the faculty member and to the Director; the report will be included as evidence of the quality of teaching in consideration for reappointment, tenure, promotion, and Merit Award salary increases.

      4. Arrange for peer evaluations of teaching for tenured faculty and full time non-tenure track faculty members on three-year contracts at their request.

    8. Overview of Student Media Advisers' Duties

      1. To teach.

      Recognizing that any student at the University can participate in student media, sometimes advising involves teaching what students would learn in journalism and mass communication courses; sometimes it involves going beyond the curriculum.

      2. To critique.

      For units producing daily content, this may be after the fact several times a week. For The Burr, critiquing generally occurs before publication, as the staff goes through planning, writing, rewriting, shooting, reshooting, editing, and proofing.

      3. To advise.

      On matters of policy and procedure and on substantive issues involving controversial material, the adviser should provide counsel. On matters of budget, allocations and planning, the adviser should work closely with the editor/general manager, as well as Office of Student Media professional staff. Overall, advisers are expected to offer counsel but not to exercise control.

      4. To meet.

      Advisers are expected to meet with staff members weekly or routinely at board or editorial meetings to solve routine problems in the operation of the student medium, which could range from equipment issues to planning major editorial coverage. The adviser also is expected to attend Student Media Board meetings.

      5. To be evaluated.

      Student media leaders will be asked to evaluate the contribution of the advisers at the conclusion of each semester. Evaluation forms are distributed by the Director of Student Media and are forwarded to the Director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, who will review them with individual advisers.

      6. To address issues brought by student participants in Student Media.

      Following attempted resolution with faculty advisers, student participants in Student Media will be referred to the Director of Student Media.


    9. Committees

      Certain committees that are essential to the functioning of a School are provided for in the Collective Bargaining Agreements and the University Policy Register. In the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, these committees are: the Faculty Advisory Committee; the Graduate Faculty Committee; the Ad Hoc Reappointment, Tenure and Promotion Committees; the Undergraduate Studies Committee (functioning as a curriculum committee); the Graduate Studies Committee (functioning as a curriculum committee); the Academic Complaint Committee; and Search Committees. These committees are described in Section I of this Handbook.

    10. Other School Committees

      As with the FAC, all committees in the School are advisory to the Director. Each of the following committees has specific areas of responsibility and is required to make specific recommendations to the Director. The Director should make every effort to inform the FAC of the outcomes of other committees’ recommendations and, if not acted upon or if contravened, to note the reasons why.

      The standing committees of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication are listed below with their charges.

      1. The Scholarship Committee is composed of faculty members appointed by the Director. The term is one year with the possibility of reappointment, depending upon the wishes of the member and the needs of the School as assessed by the Director.

      The committee elects a chair from its members. The chair serves for a two-year term. The committee seeks and administers scholarships from appropriate sources in consultation with the Director.

      2. The Diversity and Globalization Committee is composed of five elected representatives from the faculty and a chair elected from its ranks. The focus will be on helping our School in the recruiting, retention, and support for our diversity students, faculty, and staff. Our definition of diversity will include both domestic and international diversity and will focus on categories of diversity that go beyond gender, race, and ethnicity.

      The committee will work with faculty and others to identify recruiting and retention policies for the School (in coordination with College efforts), support systems in place for our diversity students, best practices in recruiting diversity candidates for adjunct faculty, full-time faculty, and staff. A member of this committee will be assigned to all searches for full-time employment in JMC.

      3. The Student Media Board is a standing University committee with strong connections to the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The Student Media Board oversees the operation of the Kent Stater, the Summer Stater, KentWired.com, the Burr magazine and theburr.com, TV2, Black Squirrel Radio, KSU Independent Films (KSUIF), and the magazines Fusion, Uhuru, Luna Negra and A. The Board selects the editors for the Kent Stater and all of the magazines, the General Manager for TV2, the General Manager for Black Squirrel Radio, the president of KSUIF and the advertising manager for all student media.

      The charge, membership, procedures and responsibilities of the Student Media Board are described in the University Policy Register, Section 4-12.1.

      The Director, after consultation with the FAC, appoints advisers, following the Guidelines in Section II of this Handbook.

      4. The Peer Review Committee consists of all tenured faculty. The Peer Review Coordinator, who is elected for a two-year term by the Faculty Advisory Committee, serves as chair. For the responsibilities of this committee, see the duties of the Peer Review Coordinator described earlier in this section.


    11. Ad Hoc Committees

      Ad Hoc Committees or task forces may be formed whenever the Director, FAC, or other administrative body deems it necessary.

      An example of an ad hoc committee is the Handbook Committee. Examples of task forces to accomplish specific tasks include the Recruiting and Retention Committee and the Internship Task Force.

    12. Scheduling of Classes

      Class schedules are developed by the sequence coordinators in consultation with the Director, Associate Director, Undergraduate Studies Coordinator, and Graduate Studies Coordinator(s) as appropriate, and with the faculty. Approved class schedules are entered into the university scheduling system by the staff scheduler.

    13. Students

      A. Student Academic Responsibilities

      It is expected that students will conduct themselves in an appropriate and ethical manner both in and out of the classroom. Specific rules and regulations relating to student conduct are listed in the Code of Student Conduct at: http://www.kent.edu/studentconduct/code-student-conduct.

      Class Attendance

      The School of Journalism and Mass Communication adheres to the Administrative Policy Regarding Class Attendance and Class Absence as stated in the University Policy Register, Section 3-01.2.

      B. Student Representation on School Committees

      Faculty Advisory Committee meetings are open meetings, and student presence is welcome.

      Student input will be sought by the FAC and other standing committees of the School, such as the Graduate Studies Committee and the Undergraduate Studies Committee. Students attending the meetings will not vote. Further, students will be asked to leave meetings when personnel or other confidential matters are discussed. The Graduate Studies Role and Status of Graduate Student Appointees document provides more information on graduate student involvement in School, College, and University governance.

      C. Student Media Complaints

      Students participating in Student Media must first take up a complaint related to Student Media  with the appropriate faculty adviser. If not resolved, the matter will be referred to the Director of Student Media.

      D. Student Advising/Admission to the School

      Each undergraduate and graduate student shall be assigned an academic advisor with whom the student should consult regularly. Undergraduate advisors are professional advisors centered in the College of Communication and Information. Graduate students are advised by faculty in the relevant sequences, as assigned by the Graduate Coordinator.

      Admission requirements for the School are outlined in the current University Catalog and should be consulted by the student.

      Transfer of program credits to Kent State University from another university shall be approved by the Undergraduate Studies Coordinator and the appropriate Sequence Coordinator, working with assigned College Advisors.

      E. Student Plagiarism Statement

      The School of Journalism and Mass Communication deals in publishable works and educates its students for various aspects of publishing and other communications professions. Within this framework, every student must be aware of the following rules and definitions while in school or on the job:

      Fabrication is, in phrasing first used by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, the cardinal sin. Faking quotations, faking “facts,” reporting things that did not happen, are not only reprehensible but also could be actionable in court.

      Plagiarizing, as defined by Webster, is “to steal and pass off as one’s own the ideas or words of another.” It is unethical and, in cases involving creative work, usually illegal. One of the worst sins a communications practitioner may commit is to plagiarize the work of another – to steal his/her words, thought, or outline and pass them off as his/her own.

      Cheating includes the submission of work in which you have received material and substantive assistance from others, or copied the work of others, when the assignment was intended to be completed by you alone. Unless specifically designated as a group project, all assignments for this course are intended to be the result of your individual efforts. Duplicating work is defined as submitting the same work to more than one instructor (or publication) without the prior knowledge and agreement of both.

      Violation of the University’s academic cheating and plagiarism policy while in school is grounds for reviewing status in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. In addition to outcomes from the academic hearing panel process, if a student is found responsible for violating University policy, the School may take administrative actions including but not limited to: written warning, academic course adjustments (such as moving a student to another section or allowing for online completion of a normally seated course, among other possibilities), and/or removal from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

      Please refer to Kent State University’s policy regarding cheating and plagiarism in the University Policy Register, Section 3-01.8.

    14. Student Media

      Student media activities include: the Kent Stater, the Summer Stater, KentWired.com, the Burr magazine and theburr.com, TV2, Black Squirrel Radio, and KSU Independent Films.

      Additional student groups may be formed under University guidelines for such groups administered by the Student Media Board. In cases where the student media are considered part of the academic program within the School and are administered as such, the adviser for the group must come from the faculty of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

    15. Student Voice Team

      Student media activities include: the Kent Stater, the Summer Stater, KentWired.com, the Burr magazine and theburr.com, TV2, Black Squirrel Radio, and KSU Independent Films.

      Additional student groups may be formed under University guidelines for such groups administered by the Student Media Board. In cases where the student media are considered part of the academic program within the School and are administered as such, the adviser for the group must come from the faculty of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.