Published: June 1, 2011 By

journalism school

Andrew Tomasini, foreground, a student in the journalism school, watches a broadcast while listening for camera instructions during a News Team Boulder’s noon newscast in April. At left is weatherman Dylan Baumgarten and at right are anchors Kiki Wilson and Nicole Sandoval.

University leaders say they want to create a stronger journalism program that better prepares students for the digital age.

As a result,  the journalism and mass communication school will be reconfigured. In spring 2012, a new program — Journalism Plus — will launch, requiring students to double major in journalism and another discipline. CU also will offer a certificate or minor in journalism.

The school will close on June 30, becoming the first in university history to shut down.

The CU regents voted 5-4 in April to close it, ending a tense nine-month “discontinuance” process during which two university committees — that did not include journalism faculty — issued reports related to the future of the school and journalism education at CU.

The closure came in the wake of a scathing journalism advisory board letter that criticized the school for not adequately preparing students for the evolving media landscape. A flurry of editorials in state newspapers followed that supported journalism at CU. An accreditation report highlighted student satisfaction and career success, as well as dysfunctional infighting among faculty.

Nearly half the regents voted against the closure, stating the plan for the new program was ambiguous.

“I simply cannot support a road map that doesn’t tell me, or the students at CU, where we are going in the future,” regent Joe Neguse (PolSci’05, Law’09) told the Boulder Camera.

A longer-term plan may involve the creation of a new school or college that would address the confluence of information, communication, media and technology. Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano has said that if something is created other than a school or college “we’re going to have a journalism education program at CU that is first-rate.”