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Accolades for the College of Communication

USA Today, Hollywood Reporter zero in on BU

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One of the nation’s best undergraduate journalism programs is right here on the Charles River Campus. The College of Communication’s program captured the fourth spot in recent rankings by USA Today.

In its list of the top 10 programs in the country, BU came in behind only Emerson College, Northwestern University, and the University of Texas at Austin. Other schools on the list are the University of Southern California (5), the University of Missouri–Columbia (6), New York University (7), Washington & Lee University (8), Syracuse University (9), and American University (10).

USA Today teamed up with College Factual, an online college matching program, to analyze universities nationwide and identify the best overall journalism programs. The rankings were based on factors such as graduates’ starting and mid-career salaries, whether or not the program is accredited, and how well a particular college did in overall nationwide rankings (BU ranked 41st in US News &  World Report’s 2015 annual ranking).

William McKeen, a COM professor and chair of journalism, attributes the collaboration and mutual respect between faculty and students for much of COM’s success.

“Here, the faculty members regard students as merely younger colleagues,” he says. “This happens because of the strong professional chops of the faculty. There’s a feeling of collegiality you don’t often see in this kind of environment. At other schools, you see faculty members who regard students as nuisances. I’m happy to say my colleagues here take pleasure in the accomplishments of the students. They also forge a lifelong professional bond. That’s the reason we’ve been successful. Students looking around at colleges see the mutual respect in our program and they respond to that.”

The USA Today ranking comes on the heels of the announcement that COM’s film and television department was ranked 12th on the Hollywood Reporter’s annual list of top film programs in the country, the same spot it secured in last year’s rankings.

According to the Hollywood Reporter article detailing the rankings, multiple factors were considered in compiling the list, including “prestige, practical experience, inspirational teachers, potential career connections, and access to cutting-edge equipment.”

While the Hollywood Reporter cited COM’s new MFA program in Cinema and Media Production as one reason for the department’s success, they singled out the school’s Los Angeles Internship Program—part of BU Study Abroad—for special mention. The program, described by its director, Bill Linsman, as “LA on training wheels,” gives students the opportunity to attend lectures by industry bigwigs such as Jason Alexander (Hon.’95) and helps them land internships at major entertainment companies like 20th Century Fox and the Weinstein Company.

“I’m one of those who believes in film school,” X-Men and Wolverine producer Lauren Shuler Donner (COM’71) told the Hollywood Reporter. “My time at BU served me well. It provided me connections and gave me my start.”

My first response on seeing these rankings is to think, whoa, we should be much higher.” says Thomas Fiedler (COM’71), dean of COM. And I actually believe that to be true. But I also believe that we can take pride in seeing that our programs are ranked among the top elite—literally above hundreds of competing programs across the nation—because the rankings reflect recognition by others of the quality we offer. My aim, of course, is to ensure that in future rankings we climb even higher. I’m determined that we not go in the opposite direction.”

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Amy Laskowski

Amy Laskowski can be reached at amlaskow@bu.edu.

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