New accreditation at Tennessee Tech for communication degree

Tennessee Tech Communication Majors Alex Rinks and Amelia Greer work together to edit a video.

COOKEVILLE – The Bachelor of Science in Communication degree program at Tennessee Tech University recently received accreditation by the American Communication Association, showing that Tech offers students a level of educational quality that meets the association’s standards. 

“Very few communication programs are accredited,” Mike Gotcher, dean of Tech’s College of Interdisciplinary Studies, said. “This process elevates the Tech program.”

The ACA was founded in 1993 for the purposes of fostering scholarship in all areas of human communication behavior, providing a voice in communication law and policy, promoting and improving excellence in the pedagogy of communication and providing evaluation and certification services for academic programs in communication study.

Gotcher said the communication degree program at Tech has always offered a high-quality educational experience. Now, however, if there are prospective students seeking a communication program for its accreditation status, then Tech can fulfill that need.  

Tech’s communication department began the process for ACA accreditation three years ago with a preliminary meeting to see if Tech’s program was suitable for ACA accreditation. They met with the accreditation team last summer to discuss the process and timeline. 

The department’s self-study had to be futuristic and propose a clear plan for the future of the department. The faculty were actively involved in the development of the self-study.

“We couldn’t have accomplished this without the team effort,” Brenda Wilson, department of communication chair said. “It is this kind of support that makes our program strong.

After the department completed a self-study, the accreditation team visited campus in April 2022.They completed a thorough examination of the program and submitted the report that granted accreditation in May 2022. 

“To complete the self-study, we provided evidence of the ways in which we meet the 15 standards they consider,” Gotcher said. “We didn’t have to make any substantial changes to meet the ACA standards.” 

The department met the 15 standards of excellence required within the context of the academic and social cultures the program represents including in the areas of curriculum, faculty, public service, facilities and equipment and instruction. Having met those standards, the department received an unconditional five-year accreditation.  

“Our faculty and staff worked very hard to prepare for accreditation, to complete the self-study report and to host the reviewers for the site visit. It is rewarding to see the hard work result in this endorsement of our program of study,” Gotcher said. “We are grateful to the students, faculty, alumni, internship supervisors and community leaders who participated in the site visit review.”

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