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Washington and Lee University

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Professional Values and Competencies

The agency that accredits professionally focused journalism programs, the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, has established a list of "professional values and competencies" that students who major in accredited programs are expected to master. The Department of Journalism and Mass Communications has embraced those values and competencies in its courses. They are:

  • Understand and apply the principles and laws of freedom of speech and press, including the right to dissent, to monitor and criticize power, and to assemble and petition for redress of grievances;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the history and role of professionals and institutions in shaping communications;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and, as appropriate, other forms of diversity in domestic society in relation to mass communications;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the diversity of peoples and cultures and of the significance and impact of mass communications in a global society;
  • Understand concepts and apply theories in the use and presentation of images and information;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of professional ethical principles and work ethically in pursuit of truth, accuracy, fairness and diversity;
  • Think critically, creatively and independently;
  • Conduct research and evaluate information by methods appropriate to the communications professions in which they work;
  • Write correctly and clearly in forms and styles appropriate for the communications professions, audiences and purposes they serve;
  • Critically evaluate their own work and that of others for accuracy and fairness, clarity, appropriate style and grammatical correctness;
  • Apply basic numerical and statistical concepts;
  • Apply tools and technologies appropriate for the communications professions in which they work.