Department History, Mission, and Vision

Picture of Sagamore Publisher Patrick J. McKeand

Patrick J. McKeand (pictured) was the second publisher of IUPUI’s student newspaper, the Sagamore, which was published from 1971 to 2009. (Photo: IUPUI Special Collections and Archives) 

History

The Department of Journalism and Public Relations at IUPUI has its roots in the century-old Indiana University School of Journalism. Today, we combine that journalistic heritage with contemporary public relations and a dynamic urban environment filled with real-world teachers, experiences, jobs, and internships.

The School of Journalism at IU Bloomington became systemwide in the 1980s, responsible for the coordination of journalism education on all eight campuses. Richard G. Gray became dean of the School of Journalism and, alongside associate dean James Brown in Indianapolis, established the School of Journalism as an independent unit. Since 1990, students on both the Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses enroll in the Bachelor of Arts in Journalism (B.A.J.) program.

The Indianapolis program established a master’s degree in Public Relations in 2008 and a master’s degree in Sports Journalism in 2010. After Executive Associate Dean James Brown retired in 2010, Dan Drew was appointed Interim Executive Associate Dean. Drew served until his retirement in 2013. Jonas Bjork was then named the Associate Dean at the School of Journalism in Indianapolis.

In July of 2014, the School of Journalism at IUPUI became a department in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI and was named the Department of Journalism and Public Relations. Jonas Bjork was retained to chair the department. Professor Chris Lamb became department chair in 2020 after Bjork retired from the position.

Mission

The mission of the Department of Journalism and Public Relations in the IU School of Liberal Arts is to explore and to help students explore the institutions, procedures, professional skills, and audiences of journalism and mass communication. Our subject is how the media mediate, and what this process of mediation means for public life in America and around the world.

This mission is both an academic and a professional one; it is about learning, teaching, and doing. To this end, we are committed to scholarly research in journalism and mass communication, to liberal education in the arts and sciences, and to professional training in media work.

The Mission of the Baccalaureate Program

The mission of the baccalaureate program of the Department of Journalism and Public Relations is to help students learn to read, think, and communicate clearly, critically, and creatively. The department is committed to liberal education in the arts and sciences, as well as to professional training in the skills of journalism and mass communication. The department believes that both breadth and depth of learning must characterize the undergraduate experience. To this end, the Bachelor of Arts in Journalism degree emphasizes:

  • development of basic skills in writing, critical thinking, independent learning, mathematics, foreign language, computers, and new information technologies
  • exposure to a broad range of course work in the disciplines of the liberal arts and sciences
  • study of human cultures outside the United States, and of selected minority cultures within the United States
  • training in statistical analysis, and quantitative and qualitative research methods; training in the professional skills of journalism and mass communication, including reporting, writing, editing, visual communication, new communications technology, and collaborative group work
  • study of the institutions, processes, and effects of mass media in society
  • study in depth of a field or discipline in the arts and sciences, other than journalism and mass communications
  • preparation for a lifetime of learning

The journalism curriculum helps students prepare to be effective communicators regardless of their chosen profession. For example, strong communication skills are essential for careers in law, business, and public affairs. Careers in newspapers, magazines, broadcasting, online journalism, sports journalism, public relations, and advertising are as important to our society as ever. The Bachelor of Arts in Journalism degree also prepares students for graduate studies.