A Message from the Director 2011 - By Dr. Gary Hicks - Photo By Sean Roberts

Dear Alumni and Friends of the Department of Mass Communications,
I am extraordinarily happy to be able to begin this, my second column for the Mass Communicator as department chair, with the news that the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication has unanimously approved our department for full re-accreditation.
Re-accreditation occurs every six years and entails a massive amount of work on the part of the department’s staff and faculty.
The first major step is the creation of a self-study by the department, followed by a visit to the department by a site team of mass communications academics and professionals. Recommendations are given and votes taken at two levels within the accrediting body.
The result: SIUE’s Department of Mass Communications retains its place among the 113 mass communications and journalism programs worldwide (only one of five in Illinois) to be accredited.
The meaning: Your department continues to provide its students with an education that is relevant to successful careers in today’s media industries. These industries — and, by extension, our department — are technology driven and dependent, technology that is expensive.
Accreditation brings with it the responsibility to constantly update and maintain our technology assets. I am very happy to announce that your department has just received $114,000 from the university to update our video production equipment and set the stage for the creation of a second weekly cable television program. This investment is a clear indication that the administration values our department and understands its value to SIUE.
But state-of-the-art video equipment is only one element in providing a true convergence media curriculum to our students. To this end, and with the support of Dean Aldemaro Romero, funding for a true media convergence laboratory is among the top priorities in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Capital Campaign. Again, this prominent position for our department’s needs is indicative of its value to the institution.
But technology and new equipment are only one part of the education that your department provides today’s students. The foundations remain solid skills in research, reporting and storytelling, together with abilities in critical thinking and an understanding of the legal and ethical considerations that still remain critical to our discipline.
It is this education — the type that creates true university-educated individuals — that remains at the heart of what we do. It is also these basic abilities that have launched one of your fellow graduates to a level of excellence respected throughout the industry and the nation – receiving a Pulitzer Prize. You can read more about your fellow alum in this issue of the Mass Communicator.
For now, know that your department is strong today and committed to remaining at the forefront of media education in the future.