Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education

Review of Existing Instructional Programs


Institution: _____Chadron State College_______                         Program: __________Communication Arts

I certify the following:

-the information provided regarding this program is accurate

-the above named institution has in place a procedure for reviewing instructional programs              

and a copy of the procedure has been provided to the Commission

-such review took place on or about _____________________________________________

-such review was presented to the institution’s governing board on _____________________

-the governing board’s action was: _______________________________________________


Signed: ___________________________________________                      ____________________

(Chief Academic Officer or designated representative)                    (Date)  

Evidence of Demand and Efficiency








5 yr avg

Student Credit Hours (SCH)







Faculty Full-time Equivalency (FTE)







SCH/Faculty FTE







Number of

Degrees and Awards


(list degrees/
































Evidence of Need (provide a statement below or attach document)





Justification if the program is below CCPE thresholds (provide a statement below or attach documentation)




For CCPE staff use only                                                                    Reviewers & Date:


Journalism Program (Based on L. Dickinson classes-Each 3 hr class=.125 FTE)








5 yr avg

Student Credit Hours (SCH)







Faculty Full-time Equivalency (FTE)







SCH/Faculty FTE


























Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education

Communication Arts Department


Program Review Speech Communication and Journalism

Chadron State College



Communication Arts is a newly developed degree program and, as of the 2006-07 academic year, a new department in the school of arts and sciences at Chadron State College.  This degree program offers students a comprehensive major in Communication Arts with options in Communication, Journalism and Public Relations. There has been significant growth in the enrollment of students in the Communication Arts program as well as interest expressed by potential students.  This Program Review details the growth of the program, the Production of Credit hours by the Faculty members in Communication Arts, graduation rates, the ways faculty are meet the needs of students and create opportunities to enhance learning, and some future plans for the CA department.


Growth of the Communication Arts Degree


The Communication Arts (CA) Department has experienced a growth in the number of majors over the last year.  As of the Fall 2006 we had 32 majors and minors officially declared, according to data provided by the college’s Institutional Research Office. Students have also declared their major in Communication Arts since this report.  CA instructors report an increase of seven new majors listed in current classes. 


In order to increase the number of CA majors, we began to recruit students on campus who are listed as undeclared.  The CA Department launched an advertising campaign on campus in the Fall 2006.  Students currently enrolled in our program are featured on posters with a picture and a quotation describing why communication works as a degree choice for them .  These posters have attracted positive attention on campus and should provide some student interest.


Data provided to the CA Department by the Institutional Research Office was used to make contact with potential students not yet admitted to Chadron State College but expressing interest in attending.  Letters were sent to forty-two individuals who expressed interest in our Communication Arts program.  In addition, department members are working with the Admissions Recruiters to send posters and brochures for Communication Arts with them as they embark on recruiting efforts. 


Communication Arts has also grown with the addition of a tenure-track faculty line.  This position was provided to Communication Arts in 2005 to allow for someone specializing in Public Relations to by hired to teach courses.  Our Public Relations option continues to grow and new majors were added in the Spring of 2007.


With this increase in growth in the department and upper division courses having the necessary enrollment so they are not canceled, we have had to cut the number of general studies sections we offer to the campus.  Currently, the Communication Arts department offers 80 percent of the courses students can take in the Communication category of General Studies.  If the department continues to grow we will need to reevaluate the course rotation and how often we offer many of our courses, which will result in fewer sections of General Studies courses.



Meeting Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education (CCPE) Requirements


Communication Arts and Journalism have been able to maintain the necessary FTE to meet the CCPE requirements.  Faculty have more than 300 FTE for courses if all the courses in Communication Arts are combined (Communication, Journalism and Public Relations).  However, if areas of specialization are split apart, Journalism lacks the FTE.  Maintaining these numbers are just one indicator of the department growth.  In the past two years, we have capped enrollment in the Communication Arts course, CA 125 Fundamentals of Oral Communication from 25 to 20 students.  This change in enrollment was to offer students a more hands-on experience and to maintain smaller classes and individual attention from the instructors.  At the same time faculty, were able to decrease the number of students in CA 125 Fundamentals of Oral Communication, they were able to increase the number of students enrolled in upper division courses by increasing the number of students majoring in Communication Arts.


While Communication Arts meets the criteria for FTE, it lacks the seven graduates per year.  Data from 2005-06 academic year shows that not enough graduates were produced.  We had decreased enrollment in the program for several years and in the recruiting process we have focused on incoming students and currently enrolled freshmen.  However, Communication Arts will meet the required number of graduates, seven, for the 2006-07 academic year.  We will be able to graduate our first students with the actual comprehensive major in Communication Arts in May 2007.  In December 2006, there were three graduates with degrees in Speech Communication and Journalism.  These students represent the previous programs here at Chadron State College.  In the spring we expect to graduate at least five individuals with degrees conferred in Communication Arts, Journalism and Speech Communication. 


Meeting Student Needs


The addition of a tenure track position in Communication Arts has allowed us to increase the offerings in Public Relations so we meet the suggested standards of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Guidelines for Higher Education.  The PRSA developed these guidelines so that students who leave programs offering instruction in Public Relations will have the necessary skills to be competitive in the current market.  In the Fall of 2005, Academic Review at Chadron State College allowed us to add a course in Case Studies in Public Relations.  This course will help make our students more prepared for the current job market.


Students enrolled in our degree program in Public Relations are also exposed to service learning.  In the sophomore and junior level courses, the students have worked with different organizations, including the Nebraska Museum Association, and campus departments such as Applied Sciences.  For both organizations, the students created brochures, developed ideas for promoting the organizations and engaged in formal presentations of their materials.  This applied approach to the discipline seems to resonate with our students and they enjoy producing materials that have “real world” applications.


The students created a Public Relations Club in January 2006.  During the calendar year they wrote a survey for the Boys & Girls Club of America and gathered the surveys from parents at parent-teacher conferences at the various schools in and around Chadron.  Club members have also created press releases and other promotional materials C-PRIDE, a local branch of a national organization providing tutoring to students after school.  Several students also presented their work at the Central States Communication Association Conference in Indianapolis, IN.  These presentations included work from independent study projects, Club projects, and class projects.  Finally, several students are active in local internship opportunities.


Each spring semester, students enrolled in the Journalism option have the opportunity to enter their work from the Eagle Newspaper into the Nebraska State Press Association Competition.  The students, along with the faculty advisor, travel to Lincoln, NE to have their work judged and to attend workshops related to the publishing field.  This trip has resulted in Chadron State College students winning awards.


In order to maintain the degree program we have in Communication Arts, it is critical we receive additional funding for equipment and software to keep up to date on technological trends and applications within the Communication field.  A recent audit of the expenditures of the Eagle Newspaper, Chadron State College’s award winning publication (See Copies of the Eagle included), has shown that the technology for many of the Journalism courses and technology, computers, software, photography equipment and furniture for the computer lab have been provided from the student newspaper’s Advertising revenue.  Students sell advertising to local and regional business to add to the content of the newspaper.  This money is collected and placed into a separate Advertising account.  Once Communication Arts became a separate department, it was necessary to evaluate all funding resources to check for adequacy.  In doing so, it was revealed that since the academic year of 1999-00 through 2005-06, the Eagle’s advertising revenue supported $34,656 worth of software, and equipment for the production of the newspaper and also to support the learning environment necessary for all Journalism courses.  This equipment and software is used by Communication Arts majors and other CSC students who have access to this computer lab.  These courses focus on applied communication skills where students prepare layout, which includes design, advertising space, story space and photographic space.   Instead of spending the advertising revenue generated by students for classroom equipment, it would seem more appropriate to have that money go toward providing additional workshops for the students, allowing them to travel to newspaper competitions and have them take field trips to see how other newspapers and publications are produced.  



Future Plans for the CA Department


This academic year the faculty in Communication Arts are exploring the possibilities of putting courses online to reach learners throughout the region.  Currently, the faculty is engaged in some preliminary planning on several levels to examine potential online course offerings.  These conversations have been conducted with the new Special Assistant to the President, Dr. Kirk Lacy.  Current conversations are centering on how faculty can maintain the current on-campus student community and teaching load while beginning to offer courses online and create community in this venue. 






Communication Arts faculty have worked to develop a student centered program.  They continually strive to include students in educational activities both inside and outside of the classroom.  The program is growing and we will soon meet the requirements set forth my the Coordinating Commission of Postsecondary Education