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E-mail to journalism majors on school closing

This email was sent to journalism majors to explain what’s going on with the J-School. Make of it what you will, but it is a thorough explanation. 

Dear Journalism and Pre-Journalism Majors,

As you know, the University’s Board of Regents voted 5-4 last week to discontinue our School, effective June 30. It was the final moment in a political process that began last August when the chancellor first announced a “program discontinuance review.” But we’ve had so many questions from students – and heard so many bizarre rumors! – that we thought we’d lay out the facts, and ask for your help in debunking the rumors.

It’s a “demise” of the School in name only. We will become a Department of Journalism and Mass Communication. The resolution the Regents adopted last week commits the university to continuing a degree program in journalism/mass communication on the Boulder campus, and in ways that will keep us “competitive for accreditation.” The administration intends to keep our three most important resources intact – our budget, our student body and our faculty/staff. This will enable us to continue our educational programs with no disruption to our students’ progress toward the journalism degree. And yes, we’re staying in the Armory.

Current majors, plus anyone admitted to the program for Fall 2011, will still proceed through the current curriculum and graduate with a bachelor of science degree from the SJMC.

That’s the immediate-impact news. To look ahead a year or so, the mid-range plan, in effect for the Spring 2012 admission process, is called Journalism Plus. It will offer our students a dual degree, in journalism/mass communication and another discipline. We see this as a significant improvement, as our students will be able to graduate not only with a full range of media skills but with a good deal of expertise in a content area. Students intending to apply to the program for Spring 2012 entry have a deadline of Oct. 3, 2011, by which to submit the application. Students hoping to enter the program in Fall 2012 likewise will go through the normal application process, next spring. At this point we anticipate continuing our application procedures into the foreseeable future. Students enrolled under Journalism Plus will receive a CU degree listing two majors on the same diploma: journalism “plus” the other major.

The long-term plan involves a new school or college. This year’s Exploratory Committee has recommended the creation of a school/college and research institute to address the confluence of information, communication, media and technology. I believe our JMC program is now being positioned to become a founding partner in that new enterprise. The teaching and study of media on this campus must remain responsive and relevant in a fast-changing media environment, and the new school will enable us to continue as a national leader in a new kind of media education.

So aside from a name change and the Journalism Plus degree plan for new students, nothing changes! It’s sad to say goodbye to our beloved “SJMC,” but this program, more than any other on campus, should always be changing with the times. As painful as the word “discontinuance” has been, it’s the first necessary step of a necessary change. In terms of what we can deliver “on the ground,” we think the best is yet to come. So we ask that you perform a valuable act of citizenship for your program: When you hear a friend, classmate or relative offer a statement to the effect that we are closed, raise your voice and say something like, “Actually, the journalism program is NOT ending. I’m a major, so I should know. It’s continuing indefinitely, in the same building.” And then add whatever you feel like adding. And if you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to be in touch with advisers Jeanne Brown or Steve

Jones. Dean Paul S. Voakes

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About Esteban L. Hernandez

Reporter in Connecticut.

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