College of Journalism and Mass Communications Strategic Plan

Mission, Vision, ValuesOverviewAimsPlanTask Forces
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Charting Our Future

We nurture curious and creative minds to thrive in the ever-changing media and communication professions. Our inclusive “do from day one” experience is rooted in hard work, collaborative problem-solving and the ethical pursuit of truth to uphold democracy.

Charting Our Future

To be a national leader in experiential journalism and mass communications education.

Charting Our Future

Our students do from day one: We live and breathe experiential learning. Every student engages in hands-on, industry-centric experiences in and out of the classroom to create a professional portfolio unique to their strengths, experiences and career aspirations.

We solve real problems: We value diversity of people and ideas to foster creativity and collaborative problem solving. We are committed to advancing our fields through research and creative activity.

We believe in hard work: Our work ethic is paramount to our success. Grounded in research and critical thinking, our curriculum is rigorous and challenging to prepare students for demanding professions.

We pursue truth: The First Amendment gives us the ultimate responsibility to serve the needs of our diverse and democratic society. We pursue truth and report it fairly. We tell genuine stories with transparency and integrity.

We nurture curious and creative minds: We exist to educate and empower media and communication professionals of tomorrow. Every decision, measure and outcome is based on how well it serves our students and educational purpose.

We are an inclusive community: All are welcome here. We respect the dignity of humanity and advocate for social justice. We are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion. We care for and encourage each other as we work together to create a better future.

Our professions are ever-changing: We prepare students to build careers that will grow and change with our industries by pairing foundational skills with cutting-edge technology and innovative media applications. Our graduates are able to evolve with the changing media landscape.

Our graduates thrive: Our alumni are engaged in every sector of the media and communication industries. They are ethically grounded and globally-minded leaders, creators, strategists and storytellers who live and work around the corner and around the world.

Overview

In August, 2020, the College of Journalism and Mass Communications launched a strategic planning process to lay the groundwork for the future of the college. Faculty and staff met for the fall retreat to discuss the state of higher education and our industries, competition, university and college. We identified trends, gaps, opportunities, questions, concerns and insights on our environment. Faculty and staff were surveyed to determine our purpose, collective strengths, opportunities and aspirations.

Building on this foundation, 78 college stakeholders, including 48 faculty and staff, 9 current students and 21 alumni and industry partners were asked to engage in an expansive and inclusive strategic planning process. Stakeholders were assigned to seven task forces specific to mission, vision and values; external operations; people and internal operations; undergraduate academic operations; graduate academic operations; scholarship and creative activity; and student experiences and experiential learning. A review committee composed of alumni and emeritus faculty was established to provide feedback on the distinctive capabilities, strategies, action steps and measures drafted by each of the task forces.

Over the next six months the task forces presented draft plans and all committee members were invited to comment during the meetings and provide feedback anonymously online. Each iteration was also posted to the college website and shared through the alumni newsletter, encouraging alumni to provide comments and suggestions through the online feedback form. The review committee summarized the comments and feedback and recommended revisions.

In April, 2021, the task force co-chairs met to review each task force action plan and identify strategic aims that would direct the college for the next five years. These aims, dubbed “game changers,” embraced our distinctive capabilities, aligned with our values, drove our mission and would help us realize our vision.

The strategic planning committee co-chairs drafted a plan around the aims and in line with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln N2025 Strategic Plan. Aims were aligned with our value statements and targets were determined by the dean and director of business and operations. The plan was presented to the full strategic planning committee on May 7, 2021, and approved by the college faculty and staff on May 14, 2021.

Aims

pen, paper and coffee

Launch a college-wide experiential learning lab
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Advance the field by bridging research and practice in our graduate programs
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Emphasize and prioritize research and creative activity across the college
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Embrace and protect the ethical pursuit of truth to uphold democracy
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Help solve challenges critical to our industries
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Prioritize community building that recognizes, respects and celebrates diversity
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Establish a culture of life-long learning and professional development
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Create a robust alumni, donor and community engagement program

Our Plan

Aim 1: Launch a college-wide experiential learning lab


Our students do from day one: We live and breathe experiential learning. Every student engages in hands-on, industry-centric experiences in and out of the classroom to create a professional portfolio unique to their strengths, experiences and career aspirations.

Strategies

  1. Identify major-related experiential learning opportunities across the college
  2. Establish multi-semester, multi-credit student-lead practicum programs, required for all undergraduate majors and optional for graduate students
  3. Engage faculty in Experiential Learning Lab (ELL) administration and oversight
  4. Train and develop student leaders to serve as the editors, producers and team leads across the ELL programs
  5. Secure technology and physical space to effectively deliver the ELL programs and make learning visible across the college, campus and community
  6. Establish a transcriptable portfolio requirement unique to each student’s strengths, experiences and career aspirations
  7. Engage industry partners as professionals in residence (PIRs) to design real world learning experiences in the ELL, mentor students and evaluate portfolios
  8. Develop a suite of required career readiness courses focused on portfolio development, working with a mentor, professional networking, job prospecting, industry ethics, resume and portfolio polishing, pitching and interviewing
  9. Develop a suite of optional courses, credentials and/or badges for students to co-create experiential learning opportunities through research assistantships, internships, study abroad, community engagement, student leadership and programs like Real World
  10. Increase our offerings of faculty-led study abroad programs
  11. Create a centralized web portal for the learning lab including all ELL programs and experiential learning courses such as Nebraska News Service, Depth Reporting, Global Eyewitness, Mosaic, Nebraska Nightly, KRNU, UNLimited Sports, Fox Sports U, Capstone, Jacht, Buoy, Heartland and a new Media Strategy and Analytics Lab

Expectations: 

  1. ELL programs and curriculum requirements proposed, approved and offered
  2. Student leadership training program established, offered and evaluated
  3. PIRs from diverse industry partners trained on expectations and actively engaged in mentorship
  4. Second floor TV studio remodeled, lease agreement in place and learning lab operational
  5. Increased experiential learning opportunities across the college
  6. Increased enrollment of first semester freshmen
  7. Increased and earlier transfers from other majors and institutions
  8. Increased year-to-year retention of students
  9. Increased number of student awards
  10. Increase number of internships for students
  11. Increased employment rate of graduates

2025 Targets

  1. 60% of undergraduate majors will be enrolled in or have completed the practicum requirement
  2. 80% of graduating seniors will have a professional portfolio
  3. Increase study abroad participation by 10%
  4. Increase first-semester freshmen enrollment by 15%
  5. Increase total college enrollment by 10%
  6. Maintain first-year to second-year retention rate above 88.5%
  7. Increase four-year graduation rate from 54.4% to 57% and six-year graduation rate from 77% to 79%
  8. Determine baseline data for internships using senior survey and increase year-over-year numbers
  9. Increase first destination employment or advanced education rate at graduation from 52.3% to 58%.
  10. Determine baseline data for employment or advanced education rate six months and then a year from graduation through graduate survey and increase year-over-year numbers

Aim 2: Advance the field by bridging research and practice in our graduate programs


We believe in hard work: Our work ethic is paramount to our success. Grounded in research and critical thinking, our curriculum is rigorous and challenging to prepare students for demanding professions.

Strategies: 

  1. Develop a doctoral program designed for working professionals
  2. Build 4+1 master’s programs to encourage undergraduates to continue education
  3. Create certificate programs based on industry demand and faculty areas of expertise that serve students in multiple graduate programs
  4. Optimize rotation of courses to ensure consistent offerings, maximize faculty resources and allow students to plan
  5. Continue to develop online course offerings with trained faculty
  6. Develop a system to recognize faculty mentoring/advising of graduate students
  7. Enhance the graduate student experience, including on-boarding, advising, and degree completion
  8. Identify and allocate funding for graduate student travel to present research and creative activity
  9. Develop an assessment plan for all graduate programs and courses and adjust curriculum as indicated
  10. Build industry and academic relationships to establish pipelines for our graduate programs
  11. Create an ELL option for professional master’s students
  12. Increase the number of funded graduate assistantships with industry partners
  13. Increase the number of graduate students dedicated to research assistance
  14. Explore ACEJMC accreditation for our graduate programs

Expectations: 

  1. Doctoral program proposal vetted by external consultants and curriculum in development
  2. 4+1 programs developed, approved and offered
  3. Increased number of graduate-only courses offered and filled each semester
  4. Increased total graduate student enrollment
  5. Advising included in faculty apportionment
  6. Increased graduate student involvement in the Experiential Learning Lab
  7. Increased funding for graduate assistantships and graduate student travel
  8. Increased number of instructors with pedagogical training in online teaching

2025 Targets: 

  1. Increase graduate enrollment by 20%
  2. Increase graduate course offerings by 10%
  3. Increase funding for 6 additional graduate students
  4. 100% of faculty teaching online courses will have completed training

Aim 3: Emphasize and prioritize research and creative activity across the college


We solve real problems: We value diversity of people and ideas to foster creativity and collaborative problem-solving. We are committed to advancing our fields through research and creative activity.

Strategies: 

  1. Increase the visibility of faculty and student research and creative activities within college, across campus and among peer institutions
  2. Develop clear and rigorous research and/or creative production expectations for tenure-track and tenured faculty
  3. Develop a mentoring program for faculty and students who engage in research and/or creative activities
  4. Establish rotating brown-bag workshops on writing, research, grant procurement, creativity, leadership development, personal growth and community outreach
  5. Establish rotating college faculty research and creative activity brown-bag presentations to increase opportunities for collaboration and community building
  6. Incentivize grant applications and awards, scholarly publications and interdisciplinary research
  7. Identify and allocate funding for research and creative activity professional development opportunities
  8. Increase research apportionment for faculty who secure extramural funding, publishing contracts or journal editorships
  9. Increase faculty engagement in research related to UNL’s Global Challenges, Nebraska Governance and Technology Center and National Strategic Research Institute
  10. Identify and develop core research areas within the college through research collaboratives like the Public Insight Lab
  11. Develop undergraduate and graduate courses in research methods
  12. Establish a model for undergraduate students to earn independent study credit working as research assistants with faculty in the college
  13. Develop a robust Honors Program focused on scholarly and creative activities
  14. Engage in a rigorous fundraising campaign to establish graduate assistantships and endowed professorships that include research assistantships

Expectations: 

  1. Promotion and tenure documents will be revised and approved
  2. Mentoring program established and active
  3. Calendar of professional development workshops and research and creative activity presentations established
  4. Research and creative activity incentive programs established
  5. Research methods curriculum developed and offered
  6. Increase number and diversity of tenured and tenure-leading faculty
  7. Increase number, size and scope of extramural proposal submissions
  8. Increase revenues for research and creative activity
  9. Increase number and impact of scholarly articles and creative works
  10. Increase number and financial support of graduate students
  11. Increase number of research and creative activity collaborations
  12. Increase number of research awards and citations of faculty and student work

2025 Targets: 

  1. Increase the number of tenured or tenure-leading faculty by 20%
  2. Increase the number of faculty submitting extramural grant applications by 50%
  3. Double research and creative activity revenue
  4. Increase the number of peer-reviewed publications by 75%
  5. Double the number of graduate assistants dedicated to research support

Aim 4: Embrace and protect the ethical pursuit of truth to uphold democracy


We pursue truth: The First Amendment gives us the ultimate responsibility to serve the needs of our diverse and democratic society. We pursue truth and report it fairly. We tell genuine stories with transparency and integrity.

Strategies: 

  1. Develop and expand course offerings that will improve the media literacy of the UNL student body (e.g. expand offerings of JOMC 222: Social Justice and the Media and revise JGEN 103 into a course on Democracy and the Media to meet an ACE requirement)
  2. Engage PIRs and industry partners in college-wide discussions on professional ethics and integrity
  3. Establish ethics and inclusive language modules for the student leadership training program and career readiness series of courses
  4. Re-establish the Nebraska chapter of the Society for Professional Journalists
  5. Host industry roundtables on professional ethics and integrity each semester
  6. Increase engagement and collaboration with the Nebraska Governance and Technology Center
  7. Expand the capacity and content production of Nebraska News Service through the practicum to reach more rural communities
  8. Increase the number of multimedia products provided through the Nebraska News Service through the Nebraska Nightly and KRNU ELLs
  9. Continue to support and encourage the development of depth reporting projects in print, audio and multimedia forms

Expectations: 

  1. Increased understanding of the role of media in our democracy
  2. Increased number of Nebraska News Service clients and published student work
  3. Media literacy courses developed to fulfill ACE requirements and regularly offered across campus
  4. Ethics modules and PIR panels developed and implemented
  5. Chapter of the Society for Professional Journalists (SPJ) established
  6. Every class will include discussions, activities or assignments on professional ethics and integrity

2025 Targets: 

  1. Increase enrollment in college offered ACE courses by 20%
  2. Host an industry roundtable on professional ethics and integrity each semester
  3. 50% of students will have completed the ethics modules specific to their major at graduation
  4. Increase number of student bylines in local media by 25%
  5. Host a regional SPJ meeting
  6. 100% of syllabi will show dedicated discussions, activities or  assignments on professional ethics and integrity

Aim 5: Help solve challenges critical to our industries


We nurture curious and creative minds: We exist to educate and empower media and communication professionals of tomorrow. Every decision, measure and outcome is based on how well it serves our students and educational purpose.

Strategies: 

  1. Create a course and lecture series on “The Business of News,” inviting global leaders in new and innovative media ownership and business models as guest speakers
  2. Increase our course offerings and experiential learning opportunities related to sports promotion and media production to align with job demand
  3. Redesign the advertising sales course as social influence and value proposition and offer experiential learning opportunities related to sales, fundraising and underwriting
  4. Create a pop-up course on freelancing and entrepreneurship in media and strategic communication
  5. Partner with the UNL entrepreneurship programs to assist our students in idea and product development and design
  6. Create spaces to experiment with cutting-edge technology and innovations in the delivery of media to prepare students for dynamic careers
  7. Identify and allocate funding for a full-time technical director and student production assistants to ensure quality and consistency of media products and increase capacity for media production courses
  8. Explore the creation of an interdisciplinary online degree completion program for working professionals
  9. Recruit community college transfers with an Associate of Applied Science in electronics and major changes from computer science to pursue a broadcast major with a focus in media production
  10. Establish an apprenticeship program through the Nebraska Broadcasters Association and Society of Broadcast Engineers for students interested in broadcast engineering and technical direction
  11. Establish a minor in strategic communication, particularly for business majors, to reduce the time to degree for students who will likely change to our majors in the future

Expectations: 

  1. Increased creative and experimental business models for industry partners
  2. Courses established or revised and offered regularly
  3. Increased media production broadcasting majors
  4. Increased employment of students in sports promotion, media production, advertising sales and technical direction
  5. Technical director hired to oversee TV studio operations and student production assistants
  6. Increased collaboration with community colleges and the College of Engineering

2025 Targets: 

  1. Round-table of industry experts discussing the future of our industries held each year
  2. Increase broadcast majors in media production by 10%
  3. Increase broadcast minors by 30%
  4. Window of major changes into ADPR moved up to second semester freshmen year or first semester sophomore year

Aim 6: Prioritize community building that recognizes and celebrates diversity


We are an inclusive community: All are welcome here. We respect the dignity of humanity and advocate for social justice. We are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion. We care for and encourage each other as we work together to create a better future

Strategies: 

  1. Attract and retain diverse faculty, staff and students committed to our values of hard work and collaborative problem-solving
  2. Offer faculty and staff training on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)
  3. Assess curriculum to ensure clear focus on DEI issues
  4. Assess and redesign the Global Eyewitness program
  5. Expand recruiting efforts for international students
  6. Explore partner programs with universities in other countries
  7. Increase faculty engagement in global experiences
  8. Develop a support structure that includes student involvement opportunities, academic mentorship and faculty connections for underrepresented and first-generation students
  9. Establish a Nebraska chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists
  10. Develop partnerships with Nebraska high schools and student organizations with underrepresented populations that allows students to explore career opportunities in our industries
  11. Establish a Summer Bridge Program or work with Big Red Camps to invite first-generation students and students from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups to enroll in a college transition program
  12. Increase engagement with the Explore Center to encourage exploratory student enrollment in college ACE courses and involvement in The Circle
  13. Maintain undergraduate advising loads at or below the NACADA recommendation of 285:1 to allow for proactive advising and stronger relationship development
  14. Require all faculty to utilize Canvas for course management and grade reporting
  15. Expand the JOMC 100 Mentorship Program by integrating the HS/Ambassador mentor pairs
  16. Offer workshops for first-generation students on how to apply for continuing scholarships
  17. Engage Buoy and Heartland practicum programs in supporting and telling the stories of underrepresented communities

Expectations: 

  1. Increased enrollment of students from underrepresented ethnic/racial groups
  2. Increased enrollment of international students
  3. Increased enrollment of students in study abroad programs
  4. Syllabi revised to include diversity, equity and inclusion
  5. Global Eyewitness reformed and relaunched
  6. Increased number of underrepresented and first-generation students participating in student involvement opportunities
  7. Increased underrepresented and first-generation students Husker Power scores
  8. Increased number of first-generation and underrepresented students who apply to the college
  9. Increased number of underrepresented faculty and staff hires
  10. A college that represents the whole state

2025 Targets: 

  1. 70% of faculty and staff will be enrolled in or have completed diversity, equity and inclusion training
  2. 90% of faculty will be utilizing Canvas for course management and grading
  3. Increase enrollment of students from underrepresented ethnic/racial groups by 7%
  4. Increase enrollment of international students by 10%
  5. Increase enrollment of students in study abroad programs by 10%
  6. Increase the number of underrepresented and first-generation students participating in student involvement opportunities by 5% over a base rate established in the first year
  7. Increase underrepresented and first-generation students Husker Power scores by 10%
  8. Increase the number of first-generation and underrepresented students who apply to the college by 10%
  9. Increase the number of underrepresented faculty and staff candidates in short lists by 10%

Aim 7: Establish a culture of life-long learning and professional development


Our professions are ever-changing: We prepare students to build careers that will grow and change with our industries by pairing foundational skills with cutting-edge technology and innovative media applications. Our graduates are able to evolve with the changing media landscape.

Strategies: 

  1. Expand, enhance and create both undergraduate and graduate level RSOs and learning communities to support student community building and professional development
  2. Train and develop the leadership capacity of RSO student leaders and faculty advisors
  3. Establish mentorship programs for students, faculty and staff
  4. Establish a yearly survey of our students and alumni to assess curriculum alignment, high impact practices and value of degree
  5. Establish a yearly climate survey of our faculty and staff to assess job satisfaction, DEI measures and engagement
  6. Create a robust and comprehensive professional development program for all employees to include onboarding, career development and clear career ladders and paths to promotion
  7. Establish a career development center that provides programming, professional development and support for students and alumni
  8. Identify funding and hire to expand career services in the college
  9. Establish an internal grant program to support continuing education and professional development for all employees
  10. Establish a recognition and awards program for outstanding faculty and staff
  11. Recognize and celebrate faculty and staff who demonstrate college values
  12. Create and support regular informal work/play gatherings where a variety of individuals can come together to debate ideas and experiment with new methods of doing things
  13. Establish a college-wide code of conduct that includes grievance procedures for faculty, staff and students and incorporate citizenship into the annual review process

Expectations: 

  1. Increased satisfaction of offerings/satisfaction in educational experience for students
  2. Increased faculty and staff job satisfaction
  3. Improved faculty and staff retention
  4. Increased participation in development opportunities
  5. Increased alumni engagement
  6. Increased faculty, staff, student and alumni career advancement opportunities

2025 Targets: 

  1. Student and climate surveys established to set baseline and increase satisfaction scores year-over-year
  2. Increase participation in development opportunities by 50%
  3. 80% of faculty will have pursued promotion/tenure within six years
  4. Increase satisfaction in educational experience on senior surveys by 10%
  5. Increase the number of alumni who participate in career development opportunities in the college by 5% year-over-year

Aim 8: Create a robust alumni, donor and community engagement program


Our graduates thrive: Our alumni are engaged in every sector of the media and communication industries. They are ethically grounded and globally-minded leaders, creators, strategists and storytellers who live and work around the corner and around the world.

Strategies: 

  1. Create and build alumni affinity groups that regularly connect and engage with college activities in regional communities and online
  2. Establish a professional development program for alumni and working professionals that provides skills and training on current industry needs
  3. Become a central source for alumni hiring and looking for their next opportunity
  4. Expand career development services to provide career coaching and advising for graduate students and alumni seeking to launch, advance or change careers
  5. Develop a college-wide mentoring program through HuskerConnect for students to work with alumni and industry partners
  6. Engage alumni and industry partners in the planning, implementation and evaluation of the experiential learning lab
  7. Increase engagement between scholarship recipients and donors (e.g., One-for-One, thank you videos, awards celebration)
  8. Create content strategy that features current students within the college and the work they are doing that is supported by donor funding (e.g., Perry Photo Challenge or Summer Internship)
  9. Establish a capital campaign committee to help identify influential alumni and potential donors and cultivate mutually beneficial relationships

Expectations: 

  1. Increased alumni engagement
  2. Increased mentorship opportunities throughout our college
  3. Increased student and alumni career advancement opportunities
  4. Increased donor engagement and gifts

2025 Targets: 

  1. Increase year-over-year attendance growth at alumni events by 10%
  2. Establish baselines and increase year-over-year alumni utilization of career development services by 10% each year
  3. 30% of undergraduate majors will be engaged in a mentor relationship
  4. Increase the number of new donors and repeat annual donors by 15%

Task Forces

Mission, Vision, Values
  • Shari Veil, co-chair
  • Kaitlin Van Loon, co-chair
  • Alex Fernando
  • Gary Kebbel
  • Barney McCoy
  • Greg Andersen
  • Madeline Wiseman
  • Lyn Wineman
  • Adam Kroft
  • Regan Vaccaro
External Operations
  • Jemalyn Griffin, co-chair
  • Nicole Blackstock, co-chair
  • Trina Creighton
  • Chris Graves
  • Anne McConkey
  • Matt Boyd
  • Deb Fiddelke
  • Dylan De Vries
  • Kellie Wostrel
People & Internal Operations
  • Matt Waite, co-chair
  • Haley Hamel, co-chair
  • Rick Alloway
  • Steve Blum
  • Valerie Jones
  • Jill Martin
  • Tyler Thomas
  • Paula Lavigne
  • Tabitha Lincoln
  • Jasmine Alexander
Undergraduate Academic Operations
  • Adam Wagler, co-chair
  • Andrea  Gaghagen, co-chair
  • Kelli Britten
  • Tiffany Groteluschen
  • Amy Ort
  • Luis Peon-Casanova
  • Kaci Richter
  • Jenn Sheppard
  • Bruce Thorson
  • Cody Frederick
  • Chad Davis
  • Caelan Debban
Graduate Academic Operations
  • Joe Weber, co-chair
  • Carly Morse, co-chair
  • Monique Farmer
  • Laurie Lee
  • Olga Pierce
  • Bryan Wang
  • Lauryn Higgins
  • Mike Reilley
Scholarship & Creative Activity
  • John Bender, co-chair
  • Bridgett Grant, co-chair
  • Michelle Hassler
  • Dane Kiambi
  • Katie Krcmarik
  • Maria Marron
  • Joe Starita
  • Changmin Yan
  • Lyle Denniston
  • LaSharah Bunting
  • Chelsea Hampton
Student Experiences & Experiential Learning
  • Frauke Hachtmann, co-chair
  • Kris Scanlon, co-chair
  • Alan Eno
  • Jessica Fargen-Walsh
  • Susan Oestmann
  • Vance Payne
  • John Shrader
  • Allen Vaughan
  • Kelly Mosier
  • Emily Morrow
  • Paige Heinemann
External Review
  • Sandy Dose
  • Margaret Holman
  • Mary Garbacz
  • Steve Jordon
  • Nancy Mitchell
  • Harry Argue
  • Phyllis Larsen

Our Plan

You can download a pdf copy of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications' Strategic Plan using the button below.

Our Plan