Action Plan: Graduate Operations

Action Plan Graduate Academic Operations

Distinctive CapabilityAction PlanMeasuresFeedback
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Distinctive Capability

Our graduate community serves both industry and academic research as we propel talented, diverse students to the forefront of journalism and mass communications. We offer an accessible online or in-person graduate education through a rigorous professional and academic curriculum that suits our Big Ten Research 1 university and our outstanding student scholars.

Action Plan

Strategies Action Steps Targets
We are flexible: We will build on our curriculum to perfect comprehensive, stackable and flexible graduate programs.  
  • Create additional certificate programs based on faculty areas of expertise that can serve students in multiple graduate programs.  
  • Incorporate certificate programs as components of our degree programs.  
  • Develop a doctoral program that builds on our master’s program, incorporating certificates as components of the degree.   
  • Develop a schedule and rotation of courses that ensures consistent offerings, maximizes faculty resources and allows students to plan. 
  • Increase the number of course offerings in the graduate program 
  • Increase the number of credential offerings (certificates, master’s degrees, specializations) in the graduate program  
  • Reduce the time to degree for graduate students  
  • Increase student enrollment in courses 
We serve industry and the academy:  We will integrate research and professional training throughout our graduate programs to provide a competitive advantage to students of varied career aspirations. 
  • Develop a long-term faculty hiring plan that balances professional and research skills  
  • Promote collaboration amongst faculty and students with divergent research, creative and professional interests.  
  • Build upon our existing research and theory courses for master’s and potential Ph.D. students  
  • Review current offerings to ensure a mix of research and professional skills across our programs  
  • Update our master’s project and capstone requirements to ensure both research and professional components  
  • Encourage graduate student academic publications 
  • Increase in the number of faculty participating on professional project/thesis committees 
  • Increase the number of graduate students who take research courses  
We are at the forefront:Continually assess, evaluate and update our programs and faculty skills to ensure consistent high-quality offerings.  
  • Review our master's degree programs, tapping internal and external reviewers 
  • Assess our offerings regularly 
  • Reward faculty for outstanding teaching and mentorship with recognition programs 
  • Consider seeking ACEJMC accreditation for our graduate programs  
  • Increase the rigor of our program  
  • Develop and assess outcome measures for courses and programs 
  • Solicit faculty participation in keeping offerings fresh and current 
  • Investigate accreditation 
We seek talented, diverse students: Recruit and retain top graduate students.  
  • Build 4 plus 1 master’s program to encourage undergrads to continue with a graduate degree 
  • Build industry partnerships to establish pipelines of professionally oriented students into our graduate programs   
  • Build academic partnerships to establish pipelines into our Ph.D. program.  
  • Raise funds to support additional assistantships and graduate fellowships for top students.  
  • Work with incoming students to develop a complete degree plan and timeline in their first semester.  
  • Increase graduate certificate enrollment 
  • Increase master’s enrollment 
  • Enroll four new students per year, to 12, in our potential residential Ph.D. program  
  • Enroll still more students in our potential online Ph.D. program 
  • Support additional assistantships and fellowships  
  • Ensure that all students have a degree plan in their first semester  
We build community: We will craft a community that is active, welcoming and tight-knit.  
  • Build a solid alumni network, which can help current students and graduates alike to foster community and support the program and enhance the experiential nature of our program. 
  • Develop an onboarding program that connects incoming students with an adviser, the faculty, and other students.  
  • Host regular meetups of graduate students, faculty and alumni to encourage relationship building, cross-collaboration and community.  
  • Increase our graduate student retention rate 
  • Increase the number of certificate students who go on to get a master's degree  
  • Increase graduate students sense of connectedness to the college (survey)  
  • Increase the number of graduate and faculty collaborations  


1)      Enrollment in master’s degree and certificate programs. 

2)      Completion times to degree or certificate. 

3)      Number of courses scheduled regularly and offered in each major. 

4)      Number and distinctive types of certificates offered. 

5)      Number of students who move from certificate into master’s programs. 

6)      Student satisfaction levels. 

7)      Moves into doctoral programs or new jobs within six months of graduating. 

8)      Quality of students admitted, via undergraduate GPA and/or industry experience levels. 

9)      Distinctive talents of faculty.