UM Journalism Professor Named Executive Director of Accrediting Organization

Headquarters of Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications will move to UM

Patricia Thompson, assistant dean of the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, has been appointed as executive director of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. Submitted Photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Patricia Thompson, assistant dean at the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media, has been named the new executive director of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.

As a result, the council’s headquarters will move to UM, where Thompson will assume her new role July 1, as well as continue her role as assistant dean for student media and assistant professor of journalism. She will hire staff to assist with ACEJMC and student media duties.

“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.

Thompson has been involved in journalism accreditation for more than 20 years as both a journalist and journalism educator. She has served two terms on the ACEJMC national committee and as a member and chair of the organization’s appeals board.

Thompson will succeed Susanne Shaw, professor of journalism at the University of Kansas and executive director of ACEJMC for more than 30 years.

The ACEJMC evaluates professional journalism and communications programs at colleges and universities in the United States and several other countries. Accredited programs total 118 in the U.S., Mexico, Chile, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and New Zealand. In her role as executive director, Thompson will report to the accrediting council and work closely with officers of the council and the accrediting committee.

“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.”

Thompson joined the Meek School faculty in 2009. Previously, she was an award-winning journalist who worked as a writer and editor at newspapers such as The Washington Post and The San Jose Mercury News. She also was an assistant professor at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

She oversees UM’s Student Media Center and serves as the faculty adviser for The Daily Mississippian and Her work with students on projects has resulted in state, regional and national journalism awards.

“The naming of Pat Thompson as executive director of ACEJMC demonstrates the respect faculty in the Meek School have earned,” said Will Norton Jr., dean of the school. “Pat is a highly regarded journalist and educator who has raised the profile of the Meek School.”

Thompson said she is excited about her new role.

“I came to the University of Mississippi to run student media because it was the opportunity to blend two things I care deeply about: quality journalism and the education of young journalists,” Thompson said. “Susanne has been an outstanding, inspirational executive director for ACEJMC, as she has upheld standards for media programs. It won’t be easy to follow in her footsteps. I look forward to learning from her and working with the council as we help shape the future of journalism and communications education during a time of great change.”