The Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication is an accredited college, meaning it meets certain standards set by an accrediting council. When accreditation requirements change, so do other standards in the college.
The accrediting council says only 40 credits earned as a journalism major can be journalism credits.
The other 80 credits required to graduate must come from outside the journalism field. 65 of those are required to be liberal arts and sciences courses.
More than 20 years ago, the curriculum committee decided that students needed to decide on an area to focus on.
“Our students are all good communicators, but you have to have something to communicate about,” said Joel Geske, chair of the curriculum committee.
All students were recommended to specialize in something. This could be anything from political science to agriculture. That is when the Designated Area of Concentration was created.
The DAC required 21 credits completed in a specific area outside of journalism. Recently, this has been changed to only 15.
“The accrediting council has decided that because of the nature of communication and that you have to know more areas, they raised that limit to 48 credits of journalism instead,” Geske said.
With the increase in journalism credits, there was less room for students to be able to complete their DAC. This caused the Curriculum Committee to decide to make some changes.
“The difference in credits really isn’t the issue,” said Amber Tiarks, an academic adviser at the Greenlee school.
The decrease in credits comes from changing requirements from a DAC to each student deciding on a minor. Requirements for credits in minors can vary, so the number of credits a student earns isn’t the real focus.
In addition, a DAC is not a university recognized title. It is an area of concentration, which means it does not show up as part of a student’s degree.
The committee decided that instead of doing a DAC, students should have the option to have a minor. This reduces the 21-credit limit to whatever it is the minor requires and opens up options for electives.
Minors are also recognized by the university, so being able to show an area that an individual has great understanding on will help them while looking for a job.
“Students may continue with their DAC is if there isn’t a minor in an area they’re interested in,” Tiarks said.
Current students who are already working on a DAC are also still allowed to follow through with the DAC.