647 undergraduate journalism students
684 pre-journalism majors
58 master's students
26 doctoral students
28 full-time faculty members
13 staff members
7,996 living alumni
9,788 alumni since the start of the journalism school in 1923
Forums on discontinuation
There will be two forums for faculty members about the program discontinuance process. They will be noon to 1:30 p.m. Sept. 7 in University Memorial Center, Room 235, and noon to 1:30 p.m. Sept. 8 in the same building.
A separate meeting will be scheduled for the staff.
Open forums for School of Journalism and Mass Communication students will be from 3 to 5 p.m. Sept. 14 and noon to 2 p.m. Sept. 15 in the UMC, Room 235. Tracking the journalism school
Tracking the journalism school
Last we knew: A budget-balancing document in the spring suggested that CU's journalism school and the Alliance for Technology, Learning and Society could combine as the Boulder campus looks for ways to save money. CU educators said a closer, more formal, relationship between the school and the institute makes sense academically as well as financially, given the boom in digital media and the evolution of journalism. The journalism school and ATLAS were both instructed to cut their budgets.
Latest: CU officials announced Wednesday that they will begin reviewing whether to close the journalism school. The chancellor received a letter from the external Advisory Committee of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication requesting that he close the school and move some programs to ATLAS. He said he can't accept the recommendation without following the Board of Regents' process on program discontinuance.
A separate exploratory faculty panel will be generating recommendations for creating a new information, communication and technology program.
Next: The earliest a new school of information could emerge is 2012. CU's Board of Regents would need to approve the closure of the journalism school.
The University of Colorado is considering closing its traditional journalism school and dramatically remodeling the way it trains students for the profession.
The future of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication is unclear, but budget woes and the rapid evolution of media have prompted Chancellor Phil DiStefano to instruct CU officials to start reviewing the school under the regents' "discontinuance" policy.
Interim Provost Russell Moore is also setting up an exploratory panel charged with generating recommendations for a new information, communication and technology program. The earliest a school of information could emerge is 2012, Moore said.
The shake-up could translate to job cuts for journalism school employees without tenure.
But CU officials said the school will remain open long enough for all current journalism students to complete their degrees.
CU's journalism school now enrolls 647 undergraduates; 58 master's students and 26 doctoral students. The curriculum could shift for CU's 684 pre-journalism students who have yet to be accepted into the journalism school.
Students on Wednesday raised questions about how the change will affect their education and the value of their degrees. But some said the journalism school -- however it evolves -- should train students so they're better prepared for digital journalism.
"I am sort of torn," said CU junior Chelsea Long, who is on the news-editorial track in the journalism school.
She said she's worried about the unknowns but she wants to graduate with a well-rounded skill set, capable of blogging, producing videos and taking photos to complement traditional newspaper reporting and writing.
Long, who wants to work for a daily newspaper, said she thinks the school could do a better job cross-training future journalists so they graduate with broadcast and print skills.
CU administrators met Wednesday with journalism school faculty members prior to making the announcement.
"There's always two sides to change," said CU associate professor Tom Yulsman, co-director of the Center for Environmental Journalism. "There's opportunity, which is exciting. But change also brings risk, and that's unsettling. I'm excited and unsettled at the same time."
The School of Journalism and Mass Communication houses 28 full-time faculty members. If the regents vote to discontinue the school, the university is required to reassign all tenured faculty members to another academic unit and retrain them if necessary, said Jeffrey Cox, associate vice chancellor for faculty affairs. Others may retire or quit, officials said.
There are also about 30 instructors in the journalism school and 13 staff members. University officials didn't outline specific plans for at-will employees, who don't have the same job protection as tenured professors, but the closure of the journalism school could mean layoffs.
Last year, a CU task force began exploring whether the university should merge its journalism school with other disciplines and create a broader "school of information." The group made several recommendations for a school of information but did not address the future of the journalism school, except to say that certain faculty members should be recruited to work in the new program, according to an internal letter from DiStefano.
DiStefano also received a letter from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication's external advisory committee requesting that he close the school and move some programs to the Alliance for Technology, Learning and Society Institute to better prepare students for careers in digital media.
He said he can't accept the recommendation without following the Board of Regents' program discontinuance process.
In the last round of budget cuts, the journalism school was tasked with trimming 7.7 percent of its $3.9 million yearly budget from the general fund. ATLAS was instructed to cut its $1.16 million general fund annual budget by 10 percent.
Paul Voakes, dean of the journalism school, said the faculty has shown unified support for the change.
"The faculty is ready to embrace this," he said.
More than 30 schools of information, existing under various names, have been created at universities across the country, including the University of California's Berkeley campus, Rutgers, the University of Indiana in Bloomington, Cornell and Carnegie Mellon.
"News and communications transmission as well as the role of the press and journalism in a democratic society are changing at a tremendous pace," Chancellor DiStefano said in a news release. "We must change with it."
The exploratory panel -- which has not yet been assembled -- needs to finish its work by the end of this semester and make recommendations to the school's provost. The panel of about a half-dozen faculty members will not have representatives of the journalism school.
Contact Camera Staff Writer Brittany Anas at 303-473-1132 or email@example.com.