Patricia Thompson, assistant dean at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, will be the new executive director of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.
Thompson will succeed Susanne Shaw, a professor at the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Kansas, who has been executive director of ACEJMC for more than 30 years.
ACEJMC’s headquarters will move to the University of Mississippi. Thompson will continue in her role as Meek School assistant dean for student media and assistant professor, and she will hire staff to help with ACEJMC and student media duties.
“ACEJMC is very fortunate to attract a journalist and journalism educator of Pat’s caliber to serve as our executive director,” said Peter Bhatia, editor of the Detroit Free Press and ACEJMC president. “She will build on the incredible accomplishments of Susanne Shaw and lead us forward in working to help journalism education remain essential and up to date.”
ACEJMC is responsible for the evaluations of professional journalism and communications programs at colleges and universities. There are 118 accredited programs, primarily in the United States, but also in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Chile, the UAE, Qatar and New Zealand. The executive director reports to the Accrediting Council and works closely with officers of the council and the Accrediting Committee.
Shaw said she is pleased the council offered the job to Thompson. “She has outstanding experience and is an excellent choice to be ACEJMC executive director,” Shaw said.
Thompson has been involved in journalism accreditation for more than two decades, serving on site teams, serving two terms on the ACEJMC national committee, and as a member and chair of the ACEJMC appeals board. She has served the accreditation organization as a professional journalist and as a journalism educator.
“This is the perfect next step in my path as a journalist and professor passionate about journalism since I was 11 years old,” Thompson said. “Susanne has been an outstanding, inspirational executive director for ACEJMC, guiding it for many years through the massive changes in media and in education. Her name is synonymous with upholding standards for college journalism and mass communications programs. It won’t be easy to follow in her footsteps. I look forward to learning from her and from Council President Peter Bhatia as I move forward to take over.”
Before she joined the Meek School faculty in 2009, Thompson was an award-winning journalist who worked for many years as a writer and editor at newspapers, including The Washington Post and The San Jose Mercury News. She was an assistant professor at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, where she taught classes and ran journalism programs.
In addition to her work leading the Student Media Center and advising The Daily Mississippian and theDMonline.com, during the past nine years she has worked with students on projects that have won state, regional and national journalism awards. She has taught writing and editing classes, chaired and served on Meek School and university committees, and served as president of the Southeast Journalism Conference.
“The naming of Pat Thompson as executive director of ACEJMC demonstrates the respect faculty in the Meek School have earned,” said H. Will Norton Jr., dean of the Meek School. “Pat is a highly regarded journalist and educator who has raised the profile of the Meek School.”
Thompson is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism. She was a Presidential Scholar, a Curators Scholar, inducted into the Kappa Tau Alpha journalism honor society and the recipient of numerous other awards and honors.