History & Mission
A Modern and Innovative School
The School of Communications was established in 2000 to prepare students for the rapidly evolving communications landscape. Today, the school is home to more than 20 percent of Elon’s student body, and the latest national accreditation report calls the school’s growth in quality and quantity “nothing short of spectacular.”
The school’s roots reach back to a course first offered in 1917-18 titled “Argumentation, Debating and Newspaper Writing” and another called “Journalism” in 1923-24, complementing a student newspaper begun in 1919.
Journalism was a component of the Department of Literature and Languages until 1980, when the department was renamed Literature, Languages and Communications. The department offered a major in English-Journalism and minors in journalism and radio broadcasting. The program became the Department of Journalism and Communications in 1988.
By 2000, the program had become the second largest on campus, trailing only business administration. Elon elevated the department to school status, and Paul Parsons came as founding dean in 2001, tasked with securing national accreditation and guiding the school to excellence and national prominence.
Signposts in the school’s development include:
- 2001-05 – Prepares for accreditation by revising curriculum, lowering class sizes, restructuring student advising, and adding an internship director
- 2006 – Becomes nationally accredited
- 2007 – Begins the Elon in Los Angeles program, becomes home to the North Carolina Open Government Coalition, and formally establishes the Imagining the Internet Center
- 2008 – Adds a Career Services office for communications students
- 2009 – Inaugurates the M.A. in Interactive Media degree
- 2010 – Receives the national Equity & Diversity Award from AEJMC, launches the nation’s only undergraduate research journal in communications, and welcomes Sport Management to the school
- 2011 – Dean Emeritus Paul Parsons serves as president of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication and receives the Scripps Howard national Administrator of Year award
- 2012 – School is reaccredited, with initial accreditation for the M.A. in Interactive Media program, and initiates distinguished alumni awards
- 2013 – Joins Campus Consortium of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting
- 2014 – Implements new curriculum with majors in Journalism, Strategic Communications, Cinema & Television Arts (BA and BFA), Communication Design, Media Analytics and Sport Management
- 2015 – Partners with business school to create the M.S. in Management with a concentration in Corporate Communications
- 2016 – Moves into the new Schar Hall and Steers Pavilion and renovates McEwen, more than doubling the school’s facilities and consolidating student media
- 2017 – Renovates Long Building as new home for Sport Management and the M.A. in Interactive Media program, and launches Maroon Sports (now Elon Sports Vision) in partnership with Elon Athletics
- 2018 – School is reaccredited for another six years at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and Rochelle Ford arrives from Syracuse University as the new dean, succeeding Founding Dean Paul Parsons
- 2019 – Named PRWeek’s 2019 Outstanding Education Program, adopts and implements new department restructure with six undergraduate programs, each with a faculty leader
- 2020 – Establishes the North Carolina Local News Workshop, an initiative that supports local news quality and access in North Carolina, with a grant from the North Carolina Local News Lab Fund
- 2021 – Launches the Scripps Howard Emerging Journalists Program at Elon, an educational initiative to inspire high school students to embark on journalism careers, that is supported by a $300,000 grant from the Scripps Howard Foundation
- 2022 – Sport Management Department earns COSMA accreditation, and school welcomes its first Emerging Journalists Program cohort, consisting of 18 rising seniors from across the country, to campus for 12 days of intensive training and reporting
- 2023 – Longtime faculty member Kenn Gaither officially named the school’s third dean; he served as interim dean for one year prior to his appointment
Mission, Vision, Elon Eleven
To prepare undergraduate and graduate students to be exemplary communicators with a commitment to the public good in this diverse, interactive and global age.
To be a leader in innovative, engaged and experiential learning in communications, media, journalism and sport management, and to help students prepare for careers in these fields.
The Elon Eleven states the values and competencies that we want all School of Communications students to achieve. As a requirement of national accreditation, we seek to ensure that the curriculum provides balance and depth among these values and competencies.
The School of Communications values …
- Truth, accuracy and fairness
- Freedom of expression
- Ethical ways of reasoning
- History and roles of media, communication and sport in society
- Domestic and global diversity
… and emphasizes these competencies
- Write and speak clearly and effectively
- Employ the tools of today’s technology
- Use theory in producing meaningful content
- Engage in research and analysis
- Apply numerical concepts
- Demonstrate creative and critical thinking
The School of Communications began publishing an annual report highlighting its accomplishments and achievements in 2019. Take a moment to view our most recent edition, highlighting the 2021-22 academic year below.
Download the 2021-22 annual report