Academic Program Review, Fall 2017

Executive Summary

Media, Journalism & Film (MJF) officially debuted in 2013, after a three-year restructuring project that merged the Department of Communication with the Journalism and Film Programs. MJF today consists of three major areas: Journalism; Media and Culture; and Strategic Communication, plus two new co-majors, Comparative Media Studies and Film Studies.

In terms of mission, we know that media are at the center of contemporary experience, impacting our lives daily. With this in mind, MJF prepares students to understand, evaluate, and create media stories, information, and other media products. In helping students become media-literate and critically engaged, MJF bridges the academic and the applied, blending critical and conceptual teaching--the heart of liberal arts--with practical training across multiple forms of media production.

In 2017, MJF counted nearly 1,200 majors, the most of any College of Arts & Science (CAS) department. This spring MJF graduated more than 300 majors, about 25 percent of CAS’s 1,200+ B.A. graduates. We offer more online courses, study away and abroad workshops, summer and winter term courses, and internships than any other department in CAS. We also require our students to double major (outside MJF), directing them to other disciplines in CAS and other units.

Our college recognizes MJF as a strong teaching unit, and our student evaluation numbers show us above the university mean on most measures. Our faculty commit to teaching at both the foundational level, serving beginning students, and at the upper levels, serving advanced students. Since 2013, we have been building our research culture, adding eight young scholar/teachers who do cutting-edge research and complement the work of our more senior scholars.

As to our major goals, we are guided by the following vision -- to become a distinctive regional and national model for undergraduate media studies housed, not in a professional school, but in a liberal arts college. Based on our successes in CAS, we have established a solid foundation going forward. In terms of where we want to be in five years, here are our goals:

  • Goal #1. Sustain and strengthen a departmental culture that supports the contributions of both research-active faculty who do innovative media-related scholarship and/or creative activity and professional faculty who bring to MJF distinguished professional experience.
  • Goal #2. Sustain and improve our study away and abroad programs, which integrate the academic study of media and professional practices.
  • Goal #3. Regularly evaluate and thoughtfully revise our contemporary curricula and our academic advising in order to help students transition successfully to meaningful careers or advanced studies.
  • Goal #4. Finish the work and vision of the original MJF restructuring project by co-creating with the College of Arts & Science an institute or “Center for Media @ Miami.”

MJF has had many accomplishments in four short years. Still, we need to stay focused on what we do best and continue to resist the “silo” culture that afflicts many sectors of academia. We have achieved our successes in CAS because our faculty and staff do their part to contribute to Miami’s high national ranking (#2 behind Princeton in 2016) for commitment to undergraduate teaching.