Executive Summary

The College of Journalism and Mass Communications has undertaken assessment of student learning regularly. The assessment plan was developed and approved in the spring of 2013 and first launched in the fall of 2014. In recent years, UNL has provided more and more data and reporting through Tableau. As a result, reports are shared and analyzed more often. The college’s emphasis on documenting teaching effectiveness and student learning is rooted in the university’s focus on outcomes assessment in its general education program, “Achievement-Centered Education” (ACE). The college’s assessment plan centers on measuring and constantly improving 10 learning objectives, including ACEJMC’s Professional Values and Competencies and several of the university’s ACE general education student learning outcomes. The plan has evolved over the years due to changes in administration, faculty and staff and the extra demands on the college due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The college continues using direct and indirect assessment measures at the course, program, college and university levels and involves CoJMC faculty, students, alumni and professionals in its assessment efforts. Assessment reports are shared with the faculty, who respond to the results by adjusting the curriculum if necessary. Data and analysis are shared at the college’s Fall Retreat, and that information is used throughout the year to inform curricular decisions. The plan includes two direct measures (a pre-and post-test of the now 10 ACEJMC student learning outcomes, known as the Berens Test, and an examination of student capstone products) and three indirect measures (internship evaluation, senior exit survey and alumni survey). 

Goals of the Unit

The College of Journalism and Mass Communications’ (CoJMC) student learning goals are consistent with the 10 professional values and competencies as suggested by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC). In addition, UNL’s “Achievement-Centered Education” (ACE) general education program requires students to complete a set of 10 student learning outcomes as part of their liberal arts education. The college offers some courses that are ACE-certified, meaning they adhere to university-wide standards and regular assessment procedures. 

Student Learning Outcomes

Professional Values and Competencies

The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications requires that, irrespective of their particular specialization, all graduates should be aware of certain core values and competencies and be able to:

  1. apply the principles and laws of freedom of speech and press, in a global context, and for the country in which the institution that invites ACEJMC is located;
  2. demonstrate an understanding of the multicultural history and role of professionals and institutions in shaping communications;
  3. demonstrate culturally proficient communication that empowers those traditionally disenfranchised in society, especially as grounded in race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and ability, domestically and globally, across communication and media contexts;
  4. present images and information effectively and creatively, using appropriate tools and technologies;
  5. write correctly and clearly in forms and styles appropriate for the communications professions, audiences and purposes they serve;
  6. demonstrate an understanding of professional ethical principles and work ethically in pursuit of truth, accuracy, fairness and diversity;
  7. apply critical thinking skills in conducting research and evaluating information by methods appropriate to the communications professions in which they work;
  8. effectively and correctly apply basic numerical and statistical concepts;
  9. critically evaluate their own work and that of others for accuracy and fairness, clarity, appropriate style and grammatical correctness;
  10. apply tools and technologies appropriate for the communications professions in which they work.
Achievement-Centered Education Student Learning Outcomes

In addition, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln requires all students, regardless of major, to complete 30 hours of general education courses in its “Achievement-Centered Education” (ACE) program. The program consists of 10 student learning outcomes (three credit hours each) that were developed to help students of every major develop skills, build knowledge, exercise social responsibility, and integrate and apply those capabilities:

Develop intellectual and practical skills, including proficiency in written, oral, and visual communication; inquiry techniques; critical and creative thinking; quantitative applications; information assessment; teamwork; and problem-solving.

  • ACE 1: Write texts, in various forms, with an identified purpose, that respond to specific audience needs, incorporate research or existing knowledge, and use applicable documentation and appropriate conventions of format and structure.
  • ACE 2: Demonstrate communication competence in one or more of the following ways: by making oral presentations with supporting materials, by leading and participating in problem-solving teams, by employing a repertoire of communication skills for developing and maintaining professional and personal relationships, or by creating and interpreting visual information.
  • ACE 3: Use mathematical, computational, statistical, or formal reasoning (including reasoning based on principles of logic) to solve problems, draw inferences, and determine reasonableness.

Build knowledge of diverse peoples and cultures and of the natural and physical world through the study of mathematics, sciences and technologies, histories, humanities, arts, social sciences, and human diversity.

  • ACE 4: Use scientific methods and knowledge of the natural and physical world to address problems through inquiry, interpretation, analysis, and the making of inferences from data, to determine whether conclusions or solutions are reasonable.
  • ACE 5: Use knowledge, historical perspectives, analysis, interpretation, critical evaluation, and the standards of evidence appropriate to the humanities to address problems and issues.
  • ACE 6: Use knowledge, theories, methods, and historical perspectives appropriate to the social sciences to understand and evaluate human behavior.
  • ACE 7: Use knowledge, theories, or methods appropriate to the arts to understand their context and significance.

Exercise individual and social responsibilities through the study of ethical principles and reasoning, application of civic knowledge, interaction with diverse cultures, and engagement with global issues.

  • ACE 8: Explain ethical principles, civics, and stewardship, and their importance in society.
  • ACE 9: Exhibit global awareness or knowledge of human diversity through analysis of an issue.

Integrate these abilities and capabilities, adapting them to new settings, questions, and responsibilities.

  • ACE 10: Generate a creative or scholarly product that requires broad knowledge, appropriate technical proficiency, information collection, synthesis, interpretation, presentation, and reflection.

Assessment Timeline

AY ACE Data Collection ACEJMC Data Collection Reports

ACE 1: JGEN 120, JOUR 200, JOUR 202, ADPR 221, JGEN 300
ACE 2: JGEN 300, ADPR 480
ACE 3: None

  • Internship Evaluation Survey
  • Senior Exit Survey
  • VisComm Student Reflections

2017-2018 Assessment Plan & Results

18-19 ACE 4: none
ACE 5: JOUR 189H
  • Senior Exit Survey
  • Internship Evaluation Survey

Writing Course Taskforce


ACE 6: JOMC 317
ACE 7: none
ACE 8:  JOUR 189H, JOMC 222, JOMC 487
ACE 9: JOMC 222, ADPR 438, ADPR 480

  • Senior Exit Survey
  • Internship Evaluations
Communication Design Review
COVID-19 Pandemic and Change in College Administration

COVID-19 postponed UNL review of ACE 10

  • Berens pre-test (Fall 2020 only)
  • Senior Exit Survey

2020-2021 Assessment Plan & Results

JOUR 200a Review

21-22 ACE 10: JOUR/BRDC 400, ADPR 429, ADPR 439, SPMC 450, ADPR 489
  • Berens pre/post-test
  • ACE 10 Capstone Review
  • Senior Exit Survey
  • Alumni Survey

2021-2022 Assessment Plan & Results

Fall 2021 Retreat Report

Assessment Recommendations Memo

22-23 UNL ACE Program Review
  • Berens pre/post-test 
  • Internship Evaluations
  • Senior Exit Survey
  • Alumni Curriculum Review

2022-2023 Assessment Plan & Results

Fall 2022 Retreat Report

JOMC 101 Review


UNL ACE Program Review

  • Senior Exit Survey
  • Berens pre/post-test 
  • Internship Evaluation Survey
  • Alumni Survey
SPMC Major 5-year Assessment

ACE 1: JGEN 120, JGEN 200, BRDC 260, SPMC 250, JOUR 200b, ADPR 221, JGEN 300
ACE 2: JGEN 300
ACE 3: None

  • Berens pre/post-test 
  • Internship Evaluations
  • Senior Exit Survey