It's called an accreditation review and most of the best j-schools (journalism schools) go through it every six years.
An ACEJMC Stamp of Approval is the equivalent of the Good Housekeeping Seal for journalism education.
The accrediting council looks for such things as class size, placement, labs and facilities, faculty credentials and qualifications, assessment and diversity in making its decision.
Just 112 programs in the country are accredited by ACEJMC. The University of Alabama is one of three (Auburn University and Jacksonville State are the other two) accredited programs. The University of North Alabama in Florence is planning to apply for accreditation in the next few years.
It will interesting to see what the team of reviewers have to say as they drop in on our classes and chat with us over the next few days.
As if this accreditation review were not enough, we have another team of reviewers arriving at the end of the week to specifically review our Public Relations program. One of reasons that our public relations major is one of the largest in the college is its high-quality program that is reviewed every few years by the Public Relations Society of America.
As a news reporting instructor who teaches public relations majors often in my classes, I'll get a chance to visit with that particular team of visitors as well.
Of course with any review, you always want to put your best foot forward. But, at the end of the day, what these visitors should see is the good work that we're doing every day in our classes.
The week for me will end in Nashville as spend the day at the Online News Association workshop at the Freedom Forum's First Amendment Center on the Vanderbilt University campus.
Like those of us in the Society of Professional Journalists and those of us who teach have been saying all along-- JOURNALISM HAS A FUTURE, ONA has made that the topic of what looks to be an exciting day where those in the online world can focus on how we do good journalism in the current environment.
More on "Journalism Has a Future" in future blog postings.