‘Taking the J out of the J-School’: Motivations and processes of program name changes

By Matthew Haught and Erin Willis

Full Article: PDF

Abstract: As student enrollments, industry trends, and professional demands embrace the digital media landscape, journalism schools throughout the country are reconsidering their own brands. Specifically, many are asking if the program’s name accurately reflects its course content and curriculum, but also if the program projects an ideal image to the profession. The current study questions administrators at schools that changed names and asks what motivated the name change, as well as the processes by which name changes were considered and approved.


Dr. Matthew Haught (mjhaught@memphis.edu) is a former newspaper and magazine designer, copy editor, and web editor, and has been at the University of Memphis since 2013. He is past head of the Visual Communication Division and currently assistant research chair for the Newspaper and Online News Division of AEJMC, and is the book review editor for Newspaper Research Journal.

Dr. Erin Willis (Erin.Willis@Colorado.edu) is a former marketing communication professional with experience in agency, corporate and non-profit organizations, and has been at the University of Colorado since 2015, and previously at the University of Memphis since 2011. She serves as the Chair of the Communication Committee for the American Academy of Advertising, and is also active in AEJMC.

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