I. Supplementary Information

1. Complete Tables 1-3 that were provided in a separate file. You may insert the tables here in the main body of the self-study report or provide links to access the tables in separate windows.

Table 1. “Students

Table 2. “Full-time Faculty

Table 3. “Part-time Faculty

2. Describe the history of the unit in no more than 500 words.

The College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has a rich history that dates back to 1894, when Will Owen Jones taught the first journalism class. Jones became the editor of the Nebraska State Journal and laid the foundation for blending professional expertise with academic excellence. In 1923, under the leadership of English professor Miller Moore Fogg, the School of Journalism was established, with Fogg as its first director.

The school saw several leaders throughout the years, including Gayle Walker, Harold Hamil and Forest Blood. After World War II, William Swindler took over as director and oversaw various advancements, including new facilities in Burnett Hall, cooperation with the Business College for advertising classes and the Speech Department for broadcast news classes.

In 1956, William Hall became the director and expanded the curriculum by introducing television classes and developing the advertising sequence. The news-editorial major gained national recognition in the Hearst Awards competition, leading to a meeting with President Kennedy. Neale Copple succeeded Hall in 1966 and further improved the broadcasting and advertising majors, along with earning accreditation for all three majors.

In 1974, the school introduced a graduate program for journalism/mass communication, becoming available to journalists worldwide through various technologies. In 1979, the program gained independent status as the College of Journalism under the leadership of Neale Copple, who later became the dean.

Will Norton succeeded Copple as dean and continued to enhance the college's reputation and international influence. The acquisition of Harold and Marian Andersen Hall in 2001 marked a new era for the college. Charlyne Berens, Gary Kebbel, James O'Hanlon, Maria Marron and Amy Struthers subsequently served as deans, each contributing to the college's growth and success. Several new academic programs and partnerships were established, including a student-run advertising agency, an undergraduate major in sports media and communication, a graduate certificate in public relations and social media and a graduate certificate in financial communication.

Under Shari Veil’s leadership, starting in 2020, the college launched the Experience Lab, providing students with real-world experiences and opportunities to work with professionals. In 2021 and 2022, the college expanded its facilities significantly, adding space at the Lincoln Children’s Museum for experiential learning and building the Don and Lorena Meier Studio, an integrated television studio and newsroom. In 2023, Pepsi Cola of Lincoln became a major supporter of Husker Sports broadcasts and funded the Pepsi Unlimited Sports Lab. Curriculum advances included required courses in research methods and social justice, human rights and the media, a new minor in advertising and public relations, 4+1 programs for all majors to advance to a master’s degree and a graduate certificate in sports promotion. Over the years, the College of Journalism and Mass Communications has maintained a strong focus on combining practical skills with academic excellence, consistently achieving national recognition and maintaining its reputation as a national leader in experiential journalism and mass communications education.

3. Describe the environment in which the unit operates, its goals and plans, budgetary considerations, and the nature of the parent university.

The University of Nebraska System comprises four universities: the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Nebraska at Kearney, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and the University of Nebraska Medical Center. An elected Board of Regents leads the system, responsible for overseeing and guiding the universities’ operations.

UNL serves as the flagship campus of the University of Nebraska System and is highly esteemed as a land-grant, R1 university. Its prestigious membership in the Big 10 Conference places UNL among some of the nation’s leading research and academic institutions. With a rich history and a commitment to excellence in education and research, UNL has been shaping the minds of future leaders and contributing significantly to the betterment of society.

The unit at UNL operates within the larger context of the university’s strategic plan, N-2025, which was drafted in 2019. This strategic plan outlines the institution's vision, goals and initiatives to be achieved by the year 2025, charting a path toward academic excellence, research advancements and community engagement.

The College of Journalism and Mass Communications is the third smallest in student enrollment among the eight undergraduate colleges at UNL. Despite its size, the college is vital in nurturing aspiring journalists and communication professionals, equipping them with the skills and knowledge to excel in their respective fields.

However, like many educational institutions, the University of Nebraska System faces several challenges. One of the most significant hurdles is the ongoing impact of COVID-19. The pandemic has disrupted regular operations, posed health and safety concerns and required innovative adaptations to continue providing quality education and support to students and staff.

Additionally, declining budgets have been a concern for the university system, primarily attributed to decreasing state support and declining enrollments. These financial challenges demand prudent financial planning and resource allocation to preserve the university’s academic standards and commitment to excellence.

Despite the challenges, the University of Nebraska System, including UNL, remains resolute in its dedication to academic excellence, research innovation and community engagement. Through collaborative efforts and strategic planning, the institution continuously works towards its goals outlined in the N-2025 strategic plan, fostering a supportive and enriching environment for its students, faculty and staff.

One of the most significant recent developments in the College of Journlism and Mass Communications was the formulation of a new vision, mission statement and strategic plan developed during the period of 2020-2021. After careful consideration and collaboration with faculty members and stakeholders, the faculty officially approved the new vision, mission statement and strategic plan in May 2021. This updated roadmap reflects the college's commitment to staying relevant and responsive to the evolving needs of the media and communication industries.

In line with the college’s commitment to innovation and staying at the forefront of industry trends, several new programs and activities have been introduced in recent years:

  • Undergraduate Major in Sports Media and Communication (2017): Recognizing the growing demand for skilled professionals in the sports media sector, the College of Journalism and Mass Communications introduced an undergraduate major in Sports Media and Communication in 2017. This program equips students with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in various roles within the dynamic and exciting field of sports media.
  • Graduate Certificate in Public Relations and Social Media (2017): With the increasing influence of social media in shaping public perceptions, the college introduced a Graduate Certificate in Public Relations and Social Media in 2017. This specialized program provides graduate students with the expertise to navigate the intricacies of modern public relations in the digital age.
  • Graduate Certificate in Financial Communications (2019): Understanding the critical role communication plays in the financial sector, the college launched a Graduate Certificate in Financial Communications in 2019. This program aims to train professionals capable of effectively communicating complex financial information to diverse audiences.
  • Minor in Advertising and Public Relations (Launching Fall 2023): Looking ahead, the College of Journalism and Mass Communications is excited to announce the upcoming launch of a new minor in Advertising and Public Relations in the fall of 2023. This minor will give undergraduate students in other majors on campus valuable insights and skills in advertising and public relations, further expanding their career opportunities.
  • Graduate Certificate in Sports Promotion (Approved Spring 2023): As the SPMC undergraduate program grew and additional faculty were added, grad courses were developed to meet growing demand. Successful enrollment in the new courses resulted in the development of this new graduate certificate. Students interested in undertaking work rooted in the areas of sports media, communication and promotion can complete the program entirely online.
  • 4+1 Master’s Degrees (Approved Spring 2023): The college’s assessment found that a growing number of graduating seniors from the college were staying at the university to pursue graduate degrees. Two accelerated master’s programs were developed so CoJMC majors could move from undergraduate to graduate level course work and complete both degrees in five years.

Future programs already in development include a new doctoral program in integrated media communication and an undergraduate certificate in esports media and communication.

5. If the unit was previously accredited, summarize each deficiency noted in the most recent accreditation report that the site team said should be addressed (Part 3 of site team report), followed by a response to each, explaining actions taken to address the problems and the results. If the unit was in noncompliance in the same standard(s) on the previous two visits, identify the standard(s), the reasons cited, and how these problems have been addressed.

In the 2016-2017 site team report, site team members cited two weaknesses in the college’s programs. The first was “A budget that is not sustainable and does not provide a foundation for growth.” As noted in the report, the college’s budgetary levels have been historically low compared to similar units. When she was hired in 2020, Dean Shari Veil negotiated for a budget increase equal to four faculty lines as part of her hiring package.

However, the University of Nebraska System has endured budgetary challenges during this accreditation cycle. Like colleges and universities nationwide, budgetary constraints were exacerbated by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of these constraints, the college had to cut its budget by 9.1%. The cuts were enacted over three fiscal years: 2021, 2022 and 2023. In 2023, the university again faced budgetary challenges, and the college endured a second budget cut or 2.6%. These cuts eroded the gains Dean Veil made with her hiring package.

As a result of these funding challenges, the college has focused on strategic resource management and operational efficiency to ensure we continue to operate at exceptional levels. As detailed in Standard 7, these efforts have successfully allowed the college to lead the university in several measures of success, including student recruitment, retention and graduation rates.

The second concern cited was, "The current structure of the broadcast and journalism majors inhibits curriculum innovation." During the last accrediting cycle, students could major in journalism or broadcasting. Students who majored in broadcasting could choose between focusing on broadcast news or broadcast production. Each program--journalism, broadcast news and broadcast production--had distinct curriculum creating silos between the programs. The number of students in broadcast production was far greater than in broadcast news. The limited number of students in broadcast news created challenges for the college to deliver the curriculum effectively.

To address the silos between the programs, the college took concerted steps to integrate the journalism and the broadcast news curriculum, while maintaining its commitment to staying on the cutting edge of technological innovation in the broadcast production program.

In 2018-2019, the college introduced shared writing courses across the journalism and broadcast news curriculum. JOUR 200a Fundamentals of Editing and Reporting I and JOUR 200b Fundamentals of Editing and Reporting II, replaced JOUR 201 Editing I and JOUR Reporting I in journalism and JOUR 202 Reporting I and BRDC 370 Broadcast News Writing in broadcast news.

In 2019-2020, the college replaced the 300-level required courses in both programs with the same 300-level elective options. Additionally, the college introduced a new capstone course, JOUR/BRDC 400 The News Lab, for both programs, replacing BRDC 472 Advance Reporting for Broadcasting in broadcast news and the choice between four capstone options, JOUR 410 Depth Reporting, JOUR 450 NewsNetNebraska, JOUR 446 Nebraska Mosaic and JOUR 497 Nebraska News Service in journalism.

These changes successfully integrated journalism and broadcast news curriculum, breaking down the silos between these programs and improving the consistency of the education received by journalism and broadcasting news students.

At the same time, the college expanded the broadcast production program, which traditionally focused on television news production, to include innovative options for students. In 2019-2020, the college introduced the following focus areas for broadcast production students: mobile, photo, TV, performance, video, audio, interactive and design. To provide clarity in advising and greater student flexibility, the college consolidated these options into video, audio and multimedia in 2022-2023.


The college was non-compliant on Standard 3 (now Standard 4) Diversity during previous site visits. The 2016-2017 site team report summarized the deficiencies to be addressed by the college:

“The difficulty in recruiting faculty and students to a Midwestern campus demands creativity, coordination and institutional support, and requires a diversity plan with accountability at its core and clear lines of authority and responsibility. Instilling diversity throughout the curriculum likewise demands a college-level commitment to ensuring that students are taught issues and perspectives that are inclusive in terms of domestic concerns about gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. Individual faculty efforts at student recruiting appear to be ad hoc and remain sporadic, as evidenced by the fact that minority student numbers are not substantially greater than the last accreditation cycle.”

To address these concerns, the college has taken several steps to increase coordination and secure greater institutional support to recruit diverse faculty and students. The college has developed and approved a diversity plan that has clear timelines and lines of responsibility. The college has also expanded diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the curriculum. Many of these efforts are detailed in Standard 4.

In 2018, the University established the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and hired its inaugural Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion, Marco Barker. The office provides guidance and resources to the campus to improve the diversity of students, faculty and staff, increase diversity-related content and the curriculum, host diversity-focused events and offer training on issues of diversity and inclusion for the campus.

To improve the coordination of faculty hiring, the college restructured its associate dean roles to create a position dedicated to research and faculty affairs. The college has expanded its position advertisements to include diversity-focused organizations, publications and listservs. We also thoroughly analyzed our hiring funnel and collaborated with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to offer training and add diversity ambassadors to our search committees. Six searches for faculty conducted in the fall of 2022 resulted in four minority hires, which provides an early indication of the success of these initiatives.

To support recruiting diverse students, the college has maintained a dedicated recruitment staff person (first hired just before the last accreditation visit). We have also coordinated closely with the UNL Office of Academic Services and Enrollment Management to fully participate in university-led diversity recruitment initiatives. At the college level, we have targeted high schools with diverse student populations for hands-on workshops with faculty and student ambassadors. We have also established partnerships with community organizations that serve underrepresented students, including the Lincoln-Lancaster County Boys and Girls Club and Bay High. As a result of these efforts, the college minority enrollment has steadily increased, while the gap between the college’s proportion of underrepresented students and the university’s proportion has steadily declined.

College leadership transitions and the COVID-19 global pandemic delayed the implementation and assessment of our 2016-2019 diversity plan. Upon Dean Veil’s arrival in 2020, the college’s strategic plan, which included diversity initiatives, was established. The strategic plan has been assessed every year since adoption in May 2021.

The search for an associate dean for research and faculty affairs and designated college diversity officer was launched in fall 2021. Once hired, Associate Dean Cory Armstrong, as chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, led the assessment of the previous plan and developed a new diversity plan, which the college faculty approved in May 2023.

The college has also made targeted efforts to improve diversity, equity and inclusion in the curriculum. In 2021-2022, the faculty approved a new diversity course requirement. Beginning in the fall of 2022, all college majors must now complete JOMC 222: Social Justice, Human Rights and the Media. The college also includes diversity topics in other courses required for all majors, including JOMC 101 Principles of Mass Media, JOUR 200a Fundamentals of Editing and Reporting I, four of our major-specific required writing courses and JOMC 487 Media, Ethics and Society.

In addition to core required courses, diversity topics are included in elective courses throughout the college with several courses focused exclusively on diversity-related topics. For detailed information on elective courses and how the college incorporates diversity into other initiatives, please see Standard 4.

Through coordinated efforts, institutional support and clear accountability, the college has strengthened its diversity plan, improved faculty and student recruitment and enhanced diversity in the curriculum. These positive developments have paved the way for a more diverse, equitable and inclusive college community, enriching the educational experience for all students and faculty.

6. Describe the process used to conduct the self-study, including the roles of faculty members, students and others. Describe the strengths and weaknesses of the program discovered during the self-study process, and describe any changes undertaken or planned as a result.

Self-Study Process

The College of Journalism and Mass Communications embarked on a comprehensive self-study process in August 2021, laying the groundwork for successfully evaluating its academic programs and operations. The college's Director of Business and Operations meticulously developed a comprehensive project plan. This plan aimed to facilitate the completion of the self-study with broad input from the college’s faculty and staff and ensure a successful site-team visit.

To guarantee a comprehensive and inclusive approach, the project plan was circulated among the college's Executive Committee for valuable input and was formally presented to the entire faculty during the all-college meetings on Oct. 8, 2021, and Nov. 2, 2021.

A pivotal aspect of the self-study process involved assigning dedicated faculty and staff members as coordinators for each standard outlined in the self-study. These coordinators were vital in overseeing the evidence collection process, which involved engaging many faculty and staff members. Through close collaboration with the college’s standing committees, the coordinators facilitated the review of evidence and sought initial feedback on various components of the self-study.

Moreover, the coordinators were entrusted with the crucial task of preparing the initial draft of the self-study report. The drafts were then circulated among the entire college faculty and staff to solicit comprehensive feedback. This approach was instrumental in ensuring that the self-study encompassed diverse perspectives and experiences, truly reflecting the collective input of the college community.

To further enhance the depth and breadth of the self-study, each standard outlined in the project plan was thoughtfully assigned to one or more standing committees within the college. With their unique areas of expertise, these standing committees provided valuable feedback on the evidence collected for each standard and offered insightful input on the draft responses.

The coordinators and committee assignments were as follows:

  • Standard 1 was overseen by Cory Armstrong, the Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Affairs. It was supported by the Executive Committee and the Strategic Planning Committee.
  • Standard 2 was managed by Adam Wagler, the Associate Dean for Academic Programs, and received input from the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, Research and Awards Committee and Executive Committee.
  • Standard 3 was also under the guidance of Adam Wagler, with support from the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee.
  • Standard 4 was coordinated by Cory Armstrong, with input from the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, Undergraduate Curriculum Committee and Executive Committee.
  • Standard 5 was led by Cory Armstrong and received feedback from the Executive Committee and Research and Awards Committee.
  • Standard 6 was a collaborative effort between Adam Wagler and Haley Hamel, the Director of Business and Operations. It was supported by the Scholarship and Student Success Committee and the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee.
  • Standard 7 was overseen by Haley Hamel, receiving input from the Executive Committee and the Technology and Infrastructure Committee.
  • Standard 8 was also coordinated by Haley Hamel, with support from the Executive Committee and the Strategic Planning Committee.

The College of Journalism and Mass Communications’ diligent approach to the self-study process, involving widespread engagement, collaboration and input, laying a strong foundation for the college’s continued growth and success. This meticulous preparation and dedication to excellence showcased the college’s commitment to providing outstanding education and fostering a vibrant academic community.


Through a dedicated and comprehensive self-study process, our college has gained valuable insights into both our strengths and areas for improvement, which positions us optimally for the future. Since developing and approving our strategic plan in 2020-2021, we have experienced remarkable momentum. This plan, crafted collaboratively with diverse stakeholders, outlines a shared vision for the future and a clear roadmap to achieve our goals. The successful implementation of this plan has led to significant progress, enhancing our existing strengths and fostering new ones, resulting in advanced outcomes for our program.

At the heart of our strategic plan lies a shared vision to become a national leader in experiential education. The establishment of the Experience Lab in the fall of 2021 has been a pivotal step in leveraging the expertise of our faculty to offer world-class hands-on learning opportunities to every student. Underpinning our work is a streamlined organizational structure and well-defined policies and procedures that align with our mission of nurturing curious and creative minds to thrive in the ever-changing media landscape.

Our college has made substantial investments in upgrading our facilities through extensive renovations, creating cutting-edge spaces like the Don & Lorena Meier Studio, The Agency, the Pepsi Unlimited Sports Lab, and the Philip Perry Photo Studio. These state-of-the-art spaces empower our students to experiment with the latest technologies and innovations in media delivery, thoroughly preparing them for successful careers. The tangible success of these endeavors is reflected in our campus-leading retention and graduation rates.

To further strengthen our academic foundation, we have focused on enhancing the capabilities of our faculty. While our faculty has always demonstrated strong professional experience, recent efforts have been directed toward elevating our research and creative activity profile. We have also taken meaningful steps to diversify our faculty by refining our hiring processes, resulting in an increase in faculty diversity and achievements in research and creative endeavors, highlighted by our winning streak in the campus Research Slam and an increase in publications in top-tier journals.

Our college recognizes the crucial role of alumni and community engagement in our success. We have expanded our efforts through consistent communications, local events, reunions and the establishment of committees and boards that offer invaluable insights into our curriculum and initiatives. These initiatives have increased alumni and professional involvement in our academic programs and increased fundraising to bolster the college's future.


Admittedly, our journey has not been without challenges. During the accrediting cycle, the college encountered leadership transitions and the impacts of a global pandemic, leading to temporary setbacks in data collection and analysis. However, we have since revived these critical activities and acknowledge the need to develop sustainable diversity and assessment programs that can endure leadership transitions in the future.

In facing the challenge of limited resources, we have endeavored to improve operational efficiency, which has contributed to our achievements. Nevertheless, we recognize the need to address high teaching loads for our faculty to better support student success and foster research and creative activity. Additionally, we are committed to enhancing staff morale by addressing the issue of inadequate personnel.

Promoting diversity among our faculty remains an ongoing challenge. While we have made progress in hiring and supporting a diverse full-time faculty, the self-study process has underscored the need to focus on recruiting more diverse part-time faculty members.

As we move forward, we are committed to building on our successes and addressing the areas of improvement highlighted in our self-study process. By continuing to work collaboratively and strategically, we will shape a vibrant future for our college and its students, empowering them to thrive in the ever-changing media landscape.

7. Provide the web links to undergraduate catalogs and other publications that describe the mission and scope of the unit, its curriculum, administrative and graduation requirements.

Academic Catalog

Strategic Plan