Regents vote 5-4 to discontinue SJMC
April 14, 2011
A message to alumni and friends of the SJMC from Dean Paul S. Voakes:
Today the University’s Board of Regents voted 5-4 to discontinue our School, effective June 30. It’s sad to see the demise of any organization we’ve known and loved for years. But today’s vote also — finally — enables us to address the underlying purpose of this year’s trying experience. The University wants to discontinue the School so that it can create a journalism/mass communication program whose innovative and interdisciplinary approaches will propel us to national leadership in media education.
It’s a “demise” of the School only in the technical, administrative sense. We will become a department of journalism and mass communication. The resolution the Regents adopted today 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. This will enable us to continue our educational programs with no disruption to our students’ curricula.
The mid-range plan, in effect by 2012, is called Journalism Plus. It will offer our students a dual major, in journalism/mass communication and another discipline. I 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. (In the meantime, current students will finish out their degrees under the current curriculum.)
The long-term plan is even more promising. This year’s Exploratory Committee has recommended the creation of a school 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 emerge as national leaders in a new kind of media education.
So we’ll raise a toast (or two) to our beloved SJMC, but in terms of what we deliver “on the ground,” I think the best is yet to come.