SJMC Assessment Plan

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1. Law & Ethics Learning Goal

Understand and apply the principles and laws of freedom of speech and press in real space and cyberspace, and demonstrate an understanding of professional ethical principles and their historical development.

Learning Objective 1.  Students will demonstrate knowledge of the history of the First Amendment and awareness of the rights protected by the First Amendment in different media contexts.

Learning Objective 2.  Students will demonstrate knowledge of the main areas of media law, including libel, invasion of privacy, obscenity, commercial speech, intellectual property, and the freedom of the press.

Learning Objective 3.  Students will demonstrate an ability to anticipate and recognize ethical issues when they arise and to reason through them taking multiple perspectives and contexts into account.

Learning Objective 4. Students will demonstrate an ability to explain their ethical approaches and reasoning about a particular dilemma in terms that can be understood by a diverse group of people.

2. Media Literacy Learning Goal

Understand the principles of media literacy and develop the skills necessary to access, analyze, evaluate, and create media messages across multiple media domains.

Learning Objective 1.  Students will demonstrate knowledge of the basic tenets of media literacy and how media literacy relates to their personal media habits and professional development.

Learning Objective 2.  Students will develop critical thinking skills to analyze and interpret media messages through an understanding of media practices and institutions.

Learning Objective 3.  Students will learn how to create and disseminate media messages in various forms.

3. Writing and Storytelling Learning Goal

Understand that clear, concise, correct writing is at the heart of journalistic expression and that reporting and communicating it effectively requires a knowledge and achievement of the highest, professionally-accepted standards in all work.

Learning Objective 1.  Students will demonstrate the ability to gather factual story elements, and to evaluate and express them in logical, narrative forms for multiple media and audiences.

Learning Objective 2.  Students will display the ability to access and analyze data, report facts accurately, research and edit information responsibly and in a manner commensurate with professional standards.

Learning Objective 3. Students will demonstrate the ability to apply above concepts in a manner that is sensitive to audiences across all media.

4. Multiculturalism Learning Goal 

To demonstrate an understanding of the diversity of groups (including communities defined by gender, race, ethnicity, age, religion and sexual orientation) in a global society in relationship to communications.

Learning Objective 1: Students will demonstrate an ability to produce media that serve the needs and interests of diverse communities and reflect their voices and experiences.

Learning Objective 2: Students will demonstrate sensitivity to and understanding of the cultures, histories, perspectives, and socio-economic and political situations of diverse groups.

Learning Objective 3: Students will demonstrate an ability to work with members of diverse groups to engage publicly over issues of community interest.

5. Media History Learning Goal:

Understand the history of media in the context of industries and identify transformations in audiences, engagement, and business practice over time. Grasp the significance of advances in mass communication technology for cultural production in domestic and global media markets from the printing press to the latest digital platforms. Trace the production of cultural meanings across historical periods as well as connections between business models and news consumption.

Learning Objective 1. Students will demonstrate knowledge of technological innovations in print and electronic communication and their impact on media publishing industries for mass audiences, showing an awareness of their distinct political, social, and economic contexts and uses.

Learning Objective 2. Students will demonstrate knowledge of media cultures, particularly the construction of meaning through methods and devices such as media framing.

Learning Objective 3. Students will demonstrate historical reasoning in approaching media history by way of contexts and analogy, particularly in terms of convergence culture and spreadable digital media.  


To assess whether and the extent to which students achieve our stated learning goals, SJMC faculty employ the following direct measures:

A survey testing students knowledge of law & ethics, administered every semester at the beginning of JMC, 2010, “Journalistic Reporting and Writing” (the entry course to the journalism major), and at the end of J3300, Foundations of the First Amendment AND JMC 3180, Media Ethics.

Rubrics for writing and video are used to evaluate a sample of first student projects in JMC, 2010, “Journalistic Reporting and Writing,” and JMC 2020, “Multi-Media Storytelling,” and last student projects in selected 3000 level writing and workshop courses. 

Rubrics for media literacy and media history are used to evaluate a sample of first student projects in JMC 1100, “Media Uses and Effects,” and JMC 1200, “Media History and Culture,” and last student projects in selected 3000 level conceptual courses.

Although the SJMC does not require students to complete an internship, nearly all students complete at least one, and many complete two or more.  The SJMC employs an internship coordinator to assist and supervise students during their internships. We require coordinators of internship programs to evaluate student performance according to the school’s stated learning goals.  The SJMC uses these internship reports as another direct measure of student learning. 

SJMC students are expected to be proficient in the five learning goals by the time they finish their 3000 level course work. 

Finally, in addition to these direct measures, the SJMC considers several kinds of indirect measures.  These include:

  • Retention and Graduation Rates
  • Student Placement
  • Course Syllabuses
  • Student Performance in Contests and Competitions
  • Freshman Entrance and Senior Exit Interviews



The SJMC has a standing undergraduate committee.  Among other things, this committee is charged with ensuring that the appropriate assessment data are collected, with organizing and analyzing these data, and with making recommendations, if any, to the SJMC faculty.  The committee collects data during the fall semester and analyzes the data during the spring semester.  Recommendations to the faculty, if any, for curricular changes are made toward the end of the spring semester.