In today’s accelerated media environment, the faculty of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication believes that the best journalism and media education is deeply rooted in the liberal arts. Such an education teaches students to think critically and holistically. Our program emphasizes issues of institutional power and professional responsibility. The craft of writing is paramount in our endeavors. We stress that training in the latest technology is important, but reflection on the uses of that technology is just as vital. We teach students to be engaged citizens and nimble, ethical professionals. We prepare our students to flourish in global communities.

It is on this foundation that our program is based. We educate our students to be mediators of public life through the information they share and the stories they craft, work that is as accurate as it is truthful.

We demonstrate these commitments in the classes we teach and the research and creative activities we pursue.

SJMC Mission: We tell stories that change the world.
Vision: Graduates who change the world through their storytelling.

For decades, the SJMC has been known as the “writing school” among its peers, a School deeply embedded in the liberal arts and dedicated to the craft of writing.  Our new strategic plan builds on this reputation and pulls it into the 21st Century. The centerpiece of our strategic plan is to become known as the pre-eminent multimedia storytelling School in the Midwest. Today, all forms of writing are moving online, and multimedia dominates online cultural production. Thus, our interest in multimedia storytelling is a natural extension of our longstanding brand. While of course our peers teach multimedia storytelling, none has embraced it as a signature theme. In addition, no other unit in CLAS teaches multimedia storytelling. Thus, this pivot offers the School an opportunity to own a niche in the broader marketplace, and allows it to make a unique contribution to CLAS program offerings.

Strategic Plan

Goal 1

Design a flexible curriculum to teach storytelling across multiple platforms and media, paying close attention to trends and changes across communication industries.

Strategy 1

Create early opportunities for students to practice their storytelling skills. 

Critical Task: Create first-year seminars that give students an opportunity to practice their storytelling skills.
Critical Task: Create boot-camp opportunities to give students immersive experiences in narrow but highly valuable storytelling skills.

Strategy 2

Revise curriculum to emphasize digital and social media storytelling.

Critical Task: Explore reducing lower-division requirement to one of three general education courses (Media History; Media Uses and Effects; Social Media Today). 
Critical Task: Develop a more robust group of 4000-level capstone and advanced courses targeted to student success.
Critical Task: Create a storyteller-in-residence program that attracts first-rate professionals to the School.
Critical Task: Incorporate digital media in every 3000 and 4000 level courses. 
Critical Task: Create Emerging Media Lab to foster innovative technology use in our courses.

Strategy 3

Enhance advising opportunities to assist students in navigating the curriculum.  

Critical Task: Create guided pathways to use as models for choosing upper-division elective courses.
Critical Task: Enhance faculty mentorship program in the School.

Metrics

  • Number of first-year seminars
  • Number of bootcamps
  • Number and quality of 4000-level capstone courses
  • Inventory of digital media assessments in 3000 and 4000 level courses
  • Creation of emerging media lab
  • Development of pathways for use in advising materials
  • Increased contacts between students and faculty mentors

Goal 2

Help JMC students succeed in college and in the first steps of their professional lives.

Strategy 1

Provide students with at least three high impact practice (HIP) opportunities during their time in the major.

Critical Task: Flag HIP opportunities for students in advising documents.
Critical Task: Develop process for counting how many HIP opportunities students take advantage of during their time on campus.  
Critical Task: Securing additional external resources to support HIPs.

Strategy 2

Enhance offerings within the School to increase the academic preparedness of students.

Critical Task: Develop cohort model using First-Year Seminars
Critical Task: Use advising resources to identify at-risk students for early intervention.
Critical Task: Develop Graduate School Information Workshop for juniors and seniors who may have an interest in pursuing a graduate degree.
Critical Task: Implement metacognition modules in the School’s lower-division required courses.

Strategy 3

Enhance offerings within the School to increase student wellness.

Critical Task: Offer CPR training to faculty and staff.
Critical Task: Implement VR Meditation Station in Student Center.
Critical Task: Offer wellness opportunities specifically tailored to under-represented population in the School’s community.

Strategy 4

Develop a broader array of training opportunities to prepare students to enter the job market.

Critical Task: Assist the School’s Professional Advisory Board in creating a “Gateway Experience” for graduating seniors.
Critical Task: Create a faculty professional mentoring day for undergraduates.
Critical Task: Revamp JMC-supported student groups.
Critical Task: Offer financial training for early and late career undergraduate majors.

Strategy 5

Develop a broader array of networking opportunities to help students identify internship and job opportunities.

Critical Task: Develop profession-specific speed-networking opportunities for students.
Critical Task: Create a webinar series in which alumni educate students about opportunities in particular career paths within specific geographic areas.  

Strategy 6

More aggressively place student work in national competitions and increase number of students who win these awards.

Critical Task: Work with Daily Iowan to create a more intentional process for producing award-worthy student work.
Critical Task: Engage students to learn about award-worthy projects they may have completed during internships.

Metrics

  • Number of HIP opportunities in curriculum
  • Amount of external resources for undergraduate experiences
  • Development of Gateway Experience Program
  • Number of speed networking events
  • Development of Webinar series
  • # of student awards

Goal 3

Foster a supportive environment within the School that builds success through the inclusion and participation of diverse groups and perspectives.

Strategy 1

Provide more training opportunities for faculty and staff.

Critical Task: Work with faculty and staff to ensure that everyone completes the UI BUILD program.
Critical Task: Pursue more immersive and experiential DEI training opportunities for faculty and staff.
Critical Task: Require all faculty and staff who serve on search committees to complete the UI implicit bias training.

Strategy 2

Offer DEI training opportunities to undergraduate students.

Critical Task: Engage with college and campus units working on DEI issues to ascertain the availability of training opportunities for students.
Critical Task: Host public forums that raise issues of race, gender, sexuality, etc. for discussion within our community.

Strategy 3

Create a more inclusive School environment.

Critical Task: Develop more inclusive celebratory events in the School.
Critical Task: Add a field for a diversity statement in online job applications for all full-time faculty job descriptions.
Critical Task: Continually update DEI concepts and themes in the undergraduate curriculum.
Critical Task: Increase faculty, staff, and student diversity.
Critical Task: Explore opportunity to create a student advisory board for the School.

Strategy 4

Support faculty and staff in becoming leaders in DEI initiatives on campus, and in the professions and disciplines.

Critical Task: Support faculty in creating and teaching courses within the UI BUILD program.
Critical Task: Offer faculty training to lead public forums in the School on diversity-related themes.
Critical Task: Encourage faculty to assume leadership roles on campus related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, such as diversity councils.

Metrics

  • Completion of BUILD Program
  • Numbers of DEI Training Opportunities for faculty, staff and students
  • Number of Public Forums
  • Development of SJMC Student Advisory Board
  • Number of BUILD courses taught by faculty
  • Number of faculty assuming DEI leadership roles on campus

Goal 4

Address the needs of under-represented faculty, staff, and students to ensure they have access and opportunities to be successful in the School.

Strategy 1

Actively seek more resources for students from underrepresented populations.

Critical Task: Actively work to raise scholarships for this population of students.
Critical Task: Create a paired mentorship and internship program for students from under-represented groups.

Strategy 2

Support underrepresented faculty to be successful in their careers.

Critical Task: Provide resources for underrepresented faculty to attend national and international professional conferences.
Critical Task: Facilitate early career mentorship opportunities for early-career faculty.
Critical Task: Offer early-career financial support for under-represented faculty.

Strategy 3

Engage university administrative units that support under-represented faculty, staff, and students.

Critical Task: Offer more services and training in the School for under-represented faculty, staff, and students.
Critical Task: Incentivize faculty and staff to offer their time and skills to administrative units that support under-represented groups. 

Metrics

  • External resources raised for under-represented students
  • Paired mentorship program
  • Number of career advancement opportunities, amount of financial support, and number of services for early-career faculty
  • Development of incentives for faculty and staff to work with administrative units supporting under-represented groups in the School

Goal 5

Address the needs of international faculty, staff, and students to ensure they have access and opportunities to be successful in the School.

Strategy 1

Provide additional academic support for international students.

Critical Task: Increase writing support for international students.
Critical Task: Create a peer mentoring program in our doctoral program for international students.

Strategy 2

Increase resources to attract and retain international faculty and students.

Critical Task: Collaborate with international students to aggressively pursue college and university fellowships and awards.
Critical Task: Develop summer support opportunities for international students.

Strategy 3

Engage with college and university units that support international faculty, staff, and students.

Critical Task: Offer more services and training in the School for international students.
Critical Task: Incentivize faculty and staff to offer their time and skills to UI International Programs and the Obermann Center.

Metrics

  • Development of writing support for international students
  • Development of peer mentoring program
  • Number of graduate fellowships and awards
  • Summer opportunities for international graduate students
  • Number of services dedicated to international students
  • Participation of faculty with International Programs and Obermann Center activities

Goal 6

Enhance the School’s relationship with the communities and professions we serve. 

Strategy 1

Create partnerships with companies in the professions in which our students seek jobs.

Critical Task: Develop and maintain a database of organizations that have partnered with SJMC in service learning opportunities for students.
Critical Task: Develop and maintain a database of organizations which hire our students as interns and employees.
Critical Task: Enhance support for our internship and career placement office in the School.

Strategy 2

Support translation of research and creative activity into applications usable by the communities and industries we serve.

Critical Task: Create communication plan to disseminate our research and creative activity to our professional and community partners.
Critical Task: Create incentives for faculty to engage with professional associations in the industries we serve.

Strategy 3

Improve communication with the communities and professions we serve.

Critical Task: Develop a communication plan.
Critical Task: Enhance opportunities for members of the Professional Advisory Board to serve as ambassadors for the School in professional communities.

Strategy 4

Increase alumni engagement with the School.

Critical Task: Actively diversify membership on the School’s Professional Advisory Board by gender, race, age, and professional expertise.
Critical Task: Continuously review governing documents of the School’s Professional Advisory Board to ensure its active engagement with alumni.

Metrics

  • Creation of database of outreach and engagement partners
  • Increased financial support for SJMC internship and career placement activities
  • Development of communication plan for disseminating research and creative activity
  • Amount of resources available for faculty to participate in industry events
  • Development of Ambassador Program for the PAB
  • Amount of diversity on the PAB

Goal 7

Promote publicly engaged scholarship, creative activity, and teaching.

Strategy 1

Revise School governing documents to include incentives for publicly engaged scholarship and creative activity.

Critical Task: Integrate publicly engaged scholarship, creative activity, and teaching in the School’s tenure and promotion policies.
Critical Task: Integrate publicly engaged scholarship, creative activity, and teaching in the School’s merit review process.

Strategy 2

Explore investments the School might make to amplify publicly engaged scholarship, creative activity, and teaching.

Critical Task: Integrate publicly engaged scholarship, creative activity, and teaching in the School’s tenure and promotion policies.
Critical Task: Create an event series in the School for faculty to present their research and creative activity in public forums.
Creative Task: Support faculty to present their research and creative activity in public forums.

Metrics

  • Integrate public engagement and outreach activities in SJMC promotion & tenure and merit review documents
  • Development of colloquia series for faculty to present their work
  • Number of faculty presenting their work in public forums

Goal 8

Enable faculty to become leaders in their disciplines, and advance innovative media research and creative activity that makes a significant impact within the society, the professions, and the disciplines.

Strategy 1

Create an environment within the School that enables faculty to pursue research/creative activity.

Critical Task: Maintain equitable distribution of service within the School.
Critical Task: Organize teaching loads to ensure that faculty have equal time to pursue research/creative activity.
Critical Task: Leverage college and university resources to provide faculty with more training in the practice of seeking grants.
Critical Task: Create a structure within the School to nominate faculty for professional recognition.

Strategy 2

Make the School a destination for high-level research and creative activity in the disciplines and professions we serve.

Critical Task: Make targeted Investments in the School’s doctoral program.
Critical Task: Recruit and retain high-performing doctoral and postdoctoral students.
Critical Task: Actively seek additional resources for faculty to conduct research and/or pursue their creative activity.
Critical Task: Recruit and retain high-performing faculty.
Critical Task: Pursue external resources to create the School’s first endowed chair.

Metrics

  • Service and teaching load distribution in the School
  • Amount of grant-seeking training for faculty
  • Number of faculty winning professional recognition
  • Amount of investment in the SJMC doctoral program
  • Citation Ratings for faculty
  • Citation Rankings Comparison w/Peer Institutions
  • Endowed Chair