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Student Learning Assessment Plan, 2018-2023

B.S. in Communication, School of Communication, University of North Florida

Adopted 11/17/17

Revised 8/13/19

As with every academic department at UNF, the assessment process in the School of Communication is based upon the state-required Academic Learning Compact, a statement of what students will know and be able to do upon completion of an undergraduate academic program. The ALC includes the program's mission statement and student learning outcomes. The program's mission statement and nine student learning outcomes - known as the North Florida Nine - follow:


The undergraduate Bachelor of Science in Communication major is primarily concerned with professional applications of communication in traditional and emerging media, strategic communication (advertising and public relations), and organizations. Within this context the mission of the School of Communication is to discover, integrate, and disseminate applied and theoretical knowledge about human and mediated communication processes and effects as they relate to individuals, groups, and society.

We are committed to high quality teaching that prepares students for lifelong learning and professional careers in communication; scholarship that advances knowledge of communication and enhances the reputation of the university, and service to the university, academic and professional communities, and to northeast Florida. To achieve our mission, students engage in learning activities inside and outside the classroom, such as participating in media internships and community-based learning, producing news programs, and creating advertising and public relations campaigns for clients.


Graduates will be able to:

  • Communicate effectively: Communicate clearly and accurately through written, oral, and mediated forms appropriate to the study of communication and professional practice.
  • Think critically: Conduct reasoned evaluation of information to assess its relevance, accuracy, purpose, and meaning.
  • Apply theory: Apply appropriate theoretical concepts of communication in academic and professionally oriented work.
  • Conduct valid research: Apply research methods appropriate to the communication professions to address relevant communication problems. Such methods include quantitative and qualitative research applied in primary and secondary research.
  • Utilize appropriate technologies: Apply the tools and technologies of the communication professions in the creation and dissemination of messages appropriate for professional practice.
  • Value freedom of expression: Understand and apply the principles and laws of freedom of speech and press embodied in the First Amendment and describe their importance in a democracy.
  • Embrace diversity: Demonstrate an understanding of the diversity of both domestic society and the peoples and cultures of global society and of the significance and impact of mass communications in society.
  • Practice ethically: Demonstrate an understanding of professional ethical principles and the relationship between ethics and law; apply ethical principles to communication professional practice.
  • Regard history: Demonstrate understanding of the history of communication media and professions and the role of key communication professionals and institutions in shaping them.

The North Florida Nine are designed to match the professional values and competencies formulated by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC), which we fully endorse.

During the 2006-2008 academic years, we undertook a series of program assessment activities, including the creation of an assessment plan, student learning goals, and assessment rubrics. Also, assessment was done on student writing samples. Since spring 2008, assessment efforts have focused on refining the student learning goals. The North Florida Nine are a result of these efforts. In 2012, a curriculum map was created by the faculty to identify which of the North Florida Nine student learning goals are "introduced," "reinforced," and "mastered" in each course (such terms match ACEJMC's "awareness," "understanding," and "application" terminology).

Syllabi for all communication courses are to note which of the North Florida Nine are "introduced" (awareness), "reinforced" (understanding), and "mastered" (application) in each course - and readings, topics, and assignments in the syllabi are to be reflective of this. Also, the first two entry-level required courses, Media Literacy and Advanced Writing for the Media, are to introduce students to all of the North Florida Nine. Also, the North Florida Nine will be reinforced and mastered in required advanced courses and the internship. Finally, the North Florida Nine is to be on display in the School's office and in all School classrooms. An oversight committee consisting of the major concentration coordinators for Advertising, Public Relations, Multimedia Journalism, and Digital Video Production (and any faculty volunteers) is tasked with working with the Director to implement the assessment plan. Assessment information is to be shared with the faculty, and the faculty will discuss and vote on changes to assessment procedures as well as when to share assessment information with external audiences, such as the School's professional board of advisors.

Assessment Measures

The School of Communication applies two direct measures and two indirect measures to assess the student learning outcomes embodied in the North Florida Nine:

Examination at the start and end of the major (direct measure)

An exam designed to assess student learning of all North Florida Nine outcomes will be given to all students in one required entry-level course (MMC 1004 Media Literacy) and then in the required exit course (MMC 4975 Internship Senior Project). The exam is meant to measure the degree to which learning of the North Florida Nine outcomes has increased during students' time in the School. The desired result is for the average score in the exit course to be at least a 70% on each of the North Florida Nine outcomes being examined. Also, there should be a significant increase in scores from the entry-level course to the exit course. Frequency: Every two years.

Internship evaluations (direct measure)

Students in MMC 4975 (Internship Senior Project) complete a professional media-based internship prior to graduation and are evaluated by their on-site internship supervisor. The evaluation sheet, which includes questions related to North Florida Nine, allows media professionals who are supervising student interns to assess students' preparedness to enter the media field. Information provided by the supervisors also allows faculty to assess students' strengths and weaknesses, which can lead to changes in curriculum and instruction. The desired result is for at least 80% of supervisors to "strongly agree" or "agree" (on a 5-point Likert scale) that their student intern demonstrated the learning outcomes being addressed. Frequency: Every semester.

UNF graduating senior survey (indirect measure)

UNF gives a survey to graduating seniors, and the results are broken down by major. Eleven of the questions are major-specific and measure dimensions of student learning consistent with the North Florida Nine. The survey is a way to assess what students feel they have learned in the School. The evaluation results are to be analyzed. The desired result is for at least 80% of respondents to "strongly agree" or "agree" (on a 5-point Likert scale) that they learned the outcomes being asked about. Frequency: Annually.

School alumni survey (indirect measure)

The survey allows faculty to understand how their former students feel the major has prepared them for their career. Alumni have the ability to assess the curriculum with the benefit of hindsight. Alumni responses can show faculty the degree to which industry changes need to be addressed in courses. The responses also measure learning outcomes consistent with the North Florida Nine. The desired result is for at least 80% of respondents to "strongly agree" or "agree" (on a 5-point Likert scale) that they learned the outcomes being asked about. Frequency: Every two years.