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 about 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 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

Mission Statement for Communications

Communication is central to our lives and to our world. Our mission is to prepare students to be exemplary communicators in an increasingly diverse, interactive and global age.

To fulfill this mission, we provide dynamic undergraduate and graduate programs where students learn to appreciate the roles, responsibilities and social impact of media around the world. We value freedom of expression and the importance of serving the public good.

We are committed to helping students become better writers, speakers, creators and thinkers. We want them to learn and innovatively harness the technologies that are transforming the way we communicate. We promote the primacy of accuracy, integrity, professional standards and ethical principles.

We prepare students for careers and lives of purpose through excellent classes, outstanding student media, professional internships, entrepreneurial experiences and other forms of engaged learning.

Elon Eleven

The Elon Eleven states the values and competencies that we want all 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.
Image of an iPhone with the Elon Eleven values

The School of Communications values…

  1. Truth, accuracy and fairness
  2. Freedom of expression
  3. Ethical ways of reasoning
  4. History and roles of media in society
  5. Domestic and global diversity

… and emphasizes these competencies

  1. Write clearly and effectively
  2. Employ the tools of technology
  3. Use theory in producing media content
  4. Engage in research and analysis
  5. Apply numerical concepts
  6. Demonstrate creative thinking


Mission Statement for Sport Management

The Sport Management major prepares students for the business of sport, including professional sport, college athletics, recreation and sport-related agencies. The department’s commitment to excellence in teaching, service and scholarly work aligns with the university’s Experiential Learning Requirements (ELR) to develop students for success in the sport management industry.