Jun 17, 2021  
Undergraduate Catalog 2020-2021 
Undergraduate Catalog 2020-2021 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

School of Journalism and Communication

Dean: Rachel Williams-Smith

Faculty: Lorraine Ball, Pablo Fernandez, Pamela Maize Harris, Alva James-Johnson, Victoria Joiner, Natalia López-Thismón, Stephen Ruf,  Rachel Williams-Smith

Office Manager: Arlene Leavitt

Adjunct Faculty: David Barasoian, Ryan Harrell, Tara Hargrove, Mindy Jamieson, Sam Nkana, Billy Weeks

Program Coordinators: 

  • Basic Speech Courses, Lorraine Ball
  • Communication, Rachel Williams-Smith
  • Journalism, Alva James-Johnson
  • Mass Communication, Stephen Ruf
  • Media Technology A.S., Stephen Ruf
  • Public Relations, Lorraine Ball
  • Public Relations-Business Administration, Pamela Maize Harris and Stephanie Sheehan
  • Public Relations-Graphic Design, Lorraine Ball

Advisory Council: A current list of Advisory Council members is kept in the School of Journalism and Communication.

Mission/Purpose Statement

To inspire and equip a new generation of truth-seekers, storytellers, and influencers to impact the world through a Christian worldview and the power of media.

Admission Criteria

To graduate with a degree from the School of Journalism and Communication, acceptance to the School is required. Declaration as a major is not equivalent to acceptance to the School of Journalism and Communication. Minimum requirements for admission to the School of Journalism and Communication are:

  • Acceptance to the School of Journalism and Communication
  • A minimum English ACT score of 18 or SAT equivalent
  • Completion of category A general education English and Math requirements
  • Completion of COMM 103  with a grade of “C-” or better
  • Completion of JOUR 105  with a grade of “C” or better
  • For Communication Studies majors only: completion of COMM 103  with a grade of “C-” or better or JOUR 105  with a grade of “C” or better, as well as completion of COMM 135  with a grade of “C” or better.
  • Earned overall GPA of 2.25 or better in college courses

Students pursuing a major offered by the School of Journalism and Communication will be considered for admission at the end of the freshman year (24-32 hours). Transfer and change-of-major students will be considered for admission on a case-by-case basis.

SJC students may take COMM 103 , COMM 135 , or JOUR 105  a maximum of two times without special permission from the SJC faculty.

When a student has taken any SJC course a second time and has not received at least a grade of “C-“, that student’s continuation in the SJC program will be up for review by SJC faculty.

The School of Journalism and Communication provides an educational environment in which future leaders in communication, journalism, public relations, and related areas can acquire the enduring ethical concepts, the intellectual discipline, and the professional abilities necessary for the mastery and management of a wide range of writing, editing, research, and other journalistic and public relations skills and techniques.

The School offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in Communication and Journalism, Bachelor of Science degrees in Mass Communication and Public Relations, a Bachelor of Science degree (combined major) in Public Relations and Business Administration, and a Bachelor of Science degree (combined major) in Public Relations and Graphic Design, as well as an Associate of Science degree in Media Technology. Minors are also available in Advertising, Broadcast Journalism, Communication, Intercultural Communication, Journalism (Publishing), Media Production, Photography, and Public Relations.

Students graduating with a degree in Communication may find work in corporations, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and a variety of religious and educational institutions. Students who pursue this degree are prepared to seek employment as communication specialists in a variety of settings. Many pursue graduate study in fields such as communication, medicine, or law.

The Journalism major prepares students for careers as reporters, writers, videographers, producers, and editors for online news providers, wire services, daily and weekly newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations, publishing houses, and for the vast array of news organizations that serve the church, business, industry, governmental agencies, the medical field, colleges and universities, and other nonprofit organizations.

Students graduating with the Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication have a broad communication education with a selected specialty that prepares them for a large variety of communication jobs in the church, in corporations, and in nonprofit organizations.

Public Relations majors are prepared for careers in business, industry, government, the church, colleges, universities, hospitals, and other medical institutions, and in a wide range of organizations.

The combined major of Public Relations and Business Administration is a unique degree program. Because it contains the core classes from both majors, it equips students with public relations and business skills and makes graduates especially competitive in the corporate world.

A combined major in Public Relations and Graphic Design blends the writing and research skills in public relations with the creative and design skills in graphic design. Students are prepared for careers in corporate, nonprofit, hospital, and denominational settings.

All of the School’s bachelor’s degree majors prepare students for entry into graduate schools.

The associate degree in Media Technology prepares the student for entry level positions in media production, desktop publishing, or web design.

Members of the faculty will advise each student in planning a study program that is supportive of individual career goals, meets degree requirements of the School of Journalism and Communication, and fulfills General Education requirements.


All baccalaureate degrees offered by the School of Journalism and Communication require that at least 12 upper division hours of the respective degree requirements must be taken at Southern Adventist University.

Meet The Firms

Meet the Firms is a program sponsored by the School of Journalism and Communication and other Schools on campus to facilitate students in locating internships and jobs in their fields of study. A Meet the Firms job fair is held each fall and winter semester. A variety of invited companies meet with students to interview, network, and mentor in preparation for placement.

Internships and On-the-Job Training

Because of the strong relationships which the School has developed with the Chattanooga area mass media, students in journalism, broadcasting, and public relations have many opportunities to meet and work with professionals in television and radio news, in public relations, advertising, on daily and weekly newspapers and on the web.

Students are encouraged to perform internships in their field of study. Newspapers, publishing houses, public relations and fund development departments, advertising agencies, nonprofit organizations, social media, and radio and television newsrooms are among the organizations who seek interns. Current internship information is available on School listserves.

Students participate in undergraduate research, and are encouraged to present their research at Campus Research Day and at professional conferences.

An Advisory Council advises the School in providing internships that give on-the-job experience. The School also participates in the North American Division internship program in which students work in various denominational institutions. The University radio station, WSMC FM90.5, and other media outlets provide learning opportunities for students.

Campus Publications: Students can gain valuable experience as writers, editors, and producers by working on Student Association productions such as Southern Accent, the campus newspaper; Southern Memories, the yearbook; and Strawberry Festival, the annual multi-media year-in-review.


To make satisfactory progress toward preparation for the job market, students majoring in the School will be expected to attend school assemblies and other professional meetings sponsored by the School.

Students should demonstrate their growing professionalism through involvement in the publication of Southern Accent, Southern Memories, The Wire, or other publication; or in communication activities for a campus, church, or community organization such as WSMC FM90.5.

Participation in the Communication Club and involvement in a professional organization such as the Society of Adventist Communicators, the Southern States Communication Association, or the Public Relations Student Society of America are also evidence of professional commitment. Students with high scholastic achievement will be invited to apply for membership in Lambda Pi Eta, the student honor society of the National Communication Association.

School effectiveness will be assessed by combining the results of the cumulative evaluations, student evaluations of courses, and questionnaires completed by alumni and supervisors of interns. To determine that the curriculum meets the objectives of the School, the faculty engages in ongoing analysis of courses required for majors.