College of Social and Behavioral Sciences2021-2022


Journalism and Political Science, Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

Purpose Statement

Earning a journalism degree at Northern Arizona University will help students develop tangible skills and theoretical knowledge. Students gain competence in written, oral, and visual communication as their foundation, adding specialized professional skills in ethics, environmental issues, reporting and editing, and communication and publication law.

Student Learning Outcomes
  • Students will develop a strong foundation in the history, philosophy, laws, and ethics of journalism, and will incorporate this knowledge into their practice of journalism.  Students will:
    • Understand the laws governing news communication and American traditions of press freedom, particularly the democratic value and responsibility of circulating information in a free society.
    • Balance these freedoms and responsibilities within the constraints of laws and ethical codes in journalism, and apply this knowledge to differing codes of conduct, freedoms, and constraints that exist in other countries.
    • Critically examine and ethically adapt codes of conduct in journalism to current and emerging media technologies, with the goal of identifying how and where global populations consume and produce journalism, and how this experience of journalism affects codes of conduct and freedoms or constraints existing in other countries.
    • Recognize the underlying communication principles which guide visual, audio, and written nonfiction storytelling and decision making, and apply these principles to their own work.
    • Critically examine public information and narratives that represent and interpret societal issues, and identify how different reporting techniques and approaches can affect a story’s ability to shape and inform public perceptions and public policy.
  • Students will understand and apply the fundamentals of storytelling and nonfiction narrative to a variety of traditional and innovative media.  Students will:
    • Identify story ideas through observing their surroundings, connecting to communities, and understanding narrative structures; including applying such elements as timeliness, proximity, impact, and other news and storytelling criteria, to know when and how to dig deeper for stories that go beyond superficial topics and engage their audience in thinking differently about everyday events.
    • Engage in the process of research, relationship building, and investigative skill development, such as, interviewing techniques and other information gathering processes, to write and publish stories, from breaking news, features, and deeper, under-reported stories (and everything in between) occurring locally and globally.
    • Examine the research decision-making process and select approaches that are most appropriate for a given situation, particularly approaches which examine information in ways that challenge the “status quo,” and introduce new perspectives that go beyond the obvious and predefined.
    • Show attention to accommodating diversity in their news stories through identifying cultural differences in storytelling and the effects of cultural, political, historical, religious, ideological, and economic forces on the dissemination of information, and identifying how U.S. ethnic and global cultural diversity shape content and audience experiences of content.
  • Students will learn about journalism by practicing it.  Students will:
    • Develop capacities to select the best media format(s) to tell stories in the most compelling, accurate manner, including writing, photojournalism, video journalism, audio, etc., and for multiple platforms (e.g., newspapers, websites, mobile media, etc.).
    • Develop self-directed projects that synthesize foundational theories and journalism ethics incorporating creative and technical approaches to journalism across a variety of media.
    • Assess and differentiate between aesthetically successful and unsuccessful journalism products and clearly identify what and how to improve through the analysis of their own and others’ work.
    • Consistently and continually develop their craft of writing through analysis and critique of their use of style, narrative technique, point of view, tone, etc. to compose compelling non-fiction narratives and accurately incorporate information obtained from multiple sources.
    • Identify how best to adapt the ethics and compelling storytelling needs of journalism to changing technologies and publishing trends and develop the capacity to adapt to technological change while embracing the challenge of mastering new ways to visualize and communicate stories across different media.
    • Apply publication-design principles, structure and styles to develop full news stories from concept to finished package, under tight deadlines and limited resources while using appropriate media to tell the best story, as well as developing skills of investigative journalism and feature writing.
Political Science
  • Conceptual and Analytical:  Students should have a basic knowledge of the political world, including contemporary political thought, and public policies, and be able to use key concepts and analytical approaches from Political Theory, U.S. Government and Politics, Comparative Politics, and International relations.
    • Identify and use salient political science concepts and analytical method to evaluate current public policies, political actors’ behavior, political events, and institutional arrangements within a diverse world.
    • Evaluate the strengths and limitations of a variety of significant analytical approaches used in political science.
    • Analyze, synthesize and evaluate the interconnectedness and interdependence of the human experience on a global scale.
  • Inquiry and Research:  Students should be able to define, design, and implement effective research projects in political science.
    • Devise a basic research design.
    • Test hypotheses with basic empirical data.
    • Write the findings in a research report.
  • Communication:  Students should be able to make clear and effective demonstrations of their work in writing and in public presentations.
    • Students will demonstrate advanced writing skills and be able to summarize and explain scholarly political science articles.
    • Analyze and critique the material read /discussed.
    • Suggest and discuss alternative possibilities and outcomes.
    • Engage and interest the reader.
    • Speak in public settings. 
    • Demonstrate an ability to apply the discussion to policy and “real world” applications.
    • Proficiency in and an ability to speak, read, and write in a language other than English. (Bachelor of Arts in Political Science only)
  • Professional and Citizenship:  Students should know, understand, and be able to meet the expectations of professionalism and citizenship.
    • Demonstrate professional behavior in terms of demeanor, personal presentation, ethics, and civic participation in experiential learning and classrooms settings.
    • Acquire the skills and knowledge base to understand the importance of and options for environmental sustainability and its tenuous relationship to economic development in local and global terms.
    • Critically reflect upon the nature and consequences of diversity (e.g. race, gender, class, ethnicity, religion, culture, nation), and develop an understanding of how this diversity both alters and is altered in a world characterized by increasing global interaction.

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