College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Strategic Plan



The Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication is committed to a philosophy that draws its goals from the larger purposes of a land grant university as well as its accrediting organization, the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC). The School strives to serve students, the university, professional communicators and the general public of Iowa, the nation and the world through teaching, scholarship, service and professional outreach activities that:

  • Educate students for careers in journalism and mass communication
  • Promote an understanding and appreciation of the First Amendment and the role of journalism and communication in all societies.
  • Foster scholarship that contributes to the building of theory and improves the practice journalism and communication.
  • Emphasize communication in an increasingly diverse and multicultural world.
  • Promote accountability and ethical performance.
  • Increase communication effectiveness in a fast-changing technological society.
  • Engage in substantial service to the University, the profession and the public.

The activities of the School reflect the University's commitment to excellence in teaching, research, creativity, professional practice and extension, and the University's recognition of the importance of service.


The journalism program founded in 1905 is grounded in a history of agricultural and technical writing and reporting. The curriculum has expanded with the mass communication industry over the years to include master’s and undergraduate programs with courses including advertising, electronic media, print journalism (newspaper and magazine), public relations, science and risk communication, and visual communication.

The undergraduate curriculum, in accordance with ACEJMC, leads to a bachelor’s degree in advertising, public relations or journalism and mass communication within a liberal arts context. Skills courses prepare students for careers in the mass communication industry and remain the focus of the curriculum supported by theory, management, creativity and problem solving and increasingly important preparation for a fast changing, technological, multicultural and global work environment.

Approved January 30, 2015

The graduate curriculum with research and professional tracks leads to a Master of Science degree in journalism and mass communication. Graduates are prepared for entry into Ph.D. programs and the professoriate, advanced research programs, and for leadership and management roles in communication organizations.

The Greenlee School, the only named School in the ISU system, is the largest unit within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS). The Greenlee School is the longest continuously accredited program in the state and was among the first group of programs to receive initial accreditation in 1948. Greenlee students have won national awards in broadcast, photo and print journalism, advertising and visual communication, and have interned in top communication organizations locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. The Greenlee School celebrated its Centennial in 2005 and has among its distinguished graduates five Pulitzer Prizes and a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Core Values

Iowa State University’s land-grant values, which include learning, discovery and engagement, are the foundation for the core values of the Greenlee School. Learning includes professional skills and liberal education; discovery includes scholarship in areas such as science and risk communication, communication technology and policy, journalism education, journalism studies, journalism history, law and ethics, public relations, advertising and visual communication; and engagement includes local, regional, national and international service.

The School accomplished many of the goals laid out in its previous strategic plan, which emphasized these core values. In particular, the School took significant steps to improve student learning by establishing a culture of assessment, defining learning outcomes and capturing assessment data annually. The School also created a public relations major, bolstered student services with specialized hires, and built a new digital media lab. While the School was not able to establish the doctoral program outlined in the previous strategic plan, the faculty continued to produce high-level research and reasserted its commitment to excellence in the master’s program through a new recruitment initiative and continued collaboration between faculty and students. The School hired faculty with extensive professional experience and made major strides in nurturing a climate that celebrates diversity, earning the School the 2014 Equity and Diversity Award from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. 


The Greenlee School will build upon its award-winning reputation as a national center for excellence in research, teaching and service in advertising, journalism and mass communication and public relations. The School’s culture celebrates inclusivity and trains Greenlee graduates to be ethical practitioners, responsive leaders and global citizens. We will advance the discipline by creating and promoting path-breaking student and faculty activities that can engage the communities and stakeholders served by the Greenlee School. We will also enhance collaborative connections to the campus community by building linkages across interdisciplinary lines. And aligning with the institution’s land grant mission, we will solidify existing industry partnerships while cultivating new relationships that will expand the Greenlee School’s reach.  

The specific goals of the School to promote excellence in executing its mission are placed into the categories of learning, discovery and engagement as outlined below. For each goal we developed strategies for how we will achieve the goal and identified indicators to measure our success.


LEARNING GOAL I: Maintain an undergraduate curriculum responsive to the needs of students and potential employers, maintain a high quality of teaching and teaching environment, and develop and coordinate courses and other methods of curriculum delivery to maximize available resources. 

Strategy A: Emphasize applied knowledge appropriate for a land-grant university and a professional school by providing a balance of theory and skills in our courses.


  1. A rigorous curriculum that maintains a mix of theory and skills-based courses.
  2. Productive working relationships with potential employers.
  3. A system to formalize partnerships and professional opportunities related to student internships. 

Strategy B:Refine the curriculum to encourage integration and innovation in skills courses and parallelism across majors.


  1. Productive use of the multimedia lab.
  2. Efficient scheduling that maximizes teaching resources and encourages collaboration.
  3. Similar course and credit requirements for each major, consistent with ACEJMC standards.

Strategy C:Continue incorporating learning outcomes developed by the faculty in accordance with ACEJMC standards into courses and other methods of curriculum delivery.


  1. Maintenance of an outcomes assessment plan.
  2. Evaluation of outcomes assessment plan to improve curriculum and instruction.
  3. Comply with state requirements for a continuous improvement plan for all courses enrolling more than 100 students.

Strategy D:Provide a capstone experience that is evaluated by industry professionals and used as an indicator of industry needs.


  1. Internship data gathered from students to provide indirect measures.
  2. Internship data gathered from employers to provide direct measures.
  3. Evaluation of internship data to potentially improve curriculum.

Strategy E:Continue successful efforts to offer an inclusive curriculum that values diversity and incorporates multicultural viewpoints in courses.


  1. Annual consideration of a diversity plan that is consistent with the University and College plans and that fits the requirements of the accrediting body.
  2. Periodic course mapping to track student exposure to diversity topics.
  3. Monitor industry assessment of our students’ diversity awareness in capstone course evaluations.

Strategy F: Provide appropriate facilities, technology and technological support for instruction and administration.


  1. Professional monitoring of well‐maintained and up‐to‐date technology by knowledgeable and responsive P&S staff and student assistants in Hamilton Hall.
  2. Computer systems compatible with the University and the industry’s existing software suites, networks and operating standards.
  3. Documented software licensing management system.
  4. Additional internal and external funding for support, tools and technologies, equipment and operating expenses.
  5. Collection of evidence that measures need for technological support and funding.
  6. Additional internal and external funding for physical space.
  7. Collection of evidence that measures need for psychical space.

Strategy G: Support high-quality teaching and academic advising.


  1. Number of faculty members and advising staff who participate in associations and activities to broaden pedagogical skills.
  2. Continued positive student course evaluations.
  3. Identification, development and implementation of other means of evaluating teaching and academic advising.
  4. Conduct exit interviews with students and evaluate data. 

Strategy H: Balance the composition of rank and expertise among instructors that can contribute to theoretical, research and skills‐based courses.

  • Increase the number of tenure/tenure track lines to reflect student populations across majors.
  • Maintain a strong, professionally oriented faculty with appropriate professional expertise.


  1. Number of tenure/tenure track faculty members hired.
  2. Ratio of courses taught by tenure/tenure track faculty to adjuncts or lecturers.

LEARNING GOAL II: To strengthen the local, national and international reputation of the School’s graduate program.

Strategy A:Advance students’ understanding of the central issues and current research areas important to the discipline.


  1. Student participation in the design, planning, writing and/or implementation of publishable research, especially grant-supported projects.
  2. Rigorous foundational courses that introduce students to important theoretical and methodological principles while setting high expectations for independent scholarship.
  3. Flexible special-topics courses that add value to the curriculum and address the latest themes and innovations in research.

Strategy B: Distinguish the graduate program’s professional and research tracks to meet a range of student goals and professional trajectories.


  1. Curriculum refinements to ensure the learning needs of both research- and professional-track students are being met within graduate program resources.
  2. Encourage participation in professional internships, externships or other field experiences through targeted advising to enhance the professional-track student experience.

Strategy C:Hone students’ problem solving, critical thinking, ethical awareness and ability to design and present independent, meaningful research and/or creative projects.


  1. Completed theses and creative components that reflect a high level of scholarship and contribute to the discipline.
  2. Student presentations of research and creative projects at leading conferences.
  3. Financial support for student research and related travel.
  4. High-quality teaching, research and/or professional practice after graduation.

Strategy D:Continue to attract and recruit a high-quality and more diverse student body.


  1. Attainment of optimum enrollment based on faculty‐to-student ratio at the graduate level.
  2. Diversity of students.
  3. Appropriate application scores and educational/professional background of accepted students.
  4. Promotion of graduate student research to increase awareness at local and broader levels.

Strategy E:Explore options for extending graduate program to include Ph.D. opportunities.


  1. Research and creation of formalized proposals presented to faculty for discussion.


DISCOVERY GOAL: Sustain the School’s scholarly output to enhance its reputation as part of a Research I institution.

Strategy A:Sustain scholarly output by the faculty and students that generate national acclaim and positive evaluations.

  • Target resources toward individuals or ideas that show the greatest potential to enhance scholarship.
  • Devote staff time toward publicity of research activities.


  1. Publication output in appropriate scholarly venues.
  2. Participation in the leading conferences, meetings and symposia in the field.
    1. Awards received in appropriate scholarly venues.
    2. Financial support for faculty research and related travel.
    3. Publicity generated and acknowledged regarding research.

Strategy B:Continue to support grant‐writing efforts within the School.

  • Designate staff time to assist in the search and identification of potential external funding agencies.
  • Maintain internal funding to support grant‐writing.
  • Explore development of options providing more targeted grant opportunities and guidance for the School


  1. Number of grants submitted to internal and external organizations.
  2. Number of grants funded by internal and external organizations.

Strategy C:Facilitate collaborative research at both the disciplinary and interdisciplinary levels within ISU and with other universities, industries or organizations.

  • Provide incentives to explore potential collaborations.
  • Facilitate systems to bring potential collaborators together.


  1. Number of collaborative projects proposed, funded or completed.
  2. Number of scholars and professionals who visit the School.
  3. Number of faculty who are invited to visit other scholarly venues.

Strategy D:Maintain a curriculum that results in an average teaching load of two courses with advising each semester for faculty members with active scholarly programs.


  1. A teaching load that accommodates active research agendas.


ENGAGEMENT GOAL: Consistent with the mission of our land grant institution, continue the School’s active service role in the examination of communication issues and opportunities for the benefit of campus and state, national and international communities.

Strategy A: Expand the School’s professional in residence program to include entrepreneurs, executives and other industry leaders.

  • Seek funding for professionals, academics and other experts who will be guests of the School to share expertise and experience with faculty and students.


  1. A record of visiting professionals and reports on their contributions to the School.

Strategy B:Explore the establishment of a community journalism program/news nonprofit.

  • Seek funding for project that would align with the University’s land grant mission
  • Initiate conversations related to media partnerships that could be part of the nonprofit model.
  • Develop tactical plan for space and technology needs related to the project


  1. Proposals brought back to the School’s faculty for consideration. (Delegate: Undergraduate Committee)

Strategy C: Cooperate when appropriate with the University Lectures Committee and other campus organizations at the College and University levels to invite speakers to campus to address vital and diverse communication issues.


  1. The hosting or co‐hosting of university‐or college‐level event speakers to address communication issues.

Strategy D:Participate in workshops, activities and meetings with key constituency groups.


  1. Quantity and quality of trainings, workshops and other activities that address the key strategic needs of these groups.

Strategy E:Provide expertise to national, regional and local media.


  1. Number of media mentions of Greenlee faculty.

Strategy F:Explore hosting community forums that examine issues of gender and diversity.


1. Proposals for forums developed by School committees. (Delegate: Diversity Committee)