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The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) has approved the charter for a student chapter at Ashford University, paving the way for Ashford to become the first SPJ chapter specifically for online students.
The oldest and most broad-based organization for professional journalists, the SPJ boasts more than 10,500 members worldwide. The SPJ is dedicated to encouraging a climate in which journalism can be practiced freely and fully, stimulating high standards and ethical behavior in the practice of journalism and perpetuating a free press.
“I have founded and revitalized student SPJ chapters at on-ground universities in the past and I really wanted my online learners to be able to participate in this organization that has meant so much to me as a professional journalist and journalism educator,” said Dr. Lisa L. Rollins, assistant professor of journalism at Ashford and a member of SPJ since 1987.
Tara Puckey, SPJ chapter coordinator, said the organization has looked at chapters for online students for several years but couldn’t find a way to make it work. “There were concerns about how chapter members would connect with each other and how they would host programs,” Puckey explained. “However, the industry is constantly changing and it’s important that we adjust to allow SPJ to flourish in any area that is needed. We’re excited to receive Ashford’s application for a charter and already encouraged about the success that we’re sure they will enjoy.”
“I have benefitted from my association and membership with SPJ for years and I want my students to have that same opportunity,” said Dr. Rollins, who currently serves as an SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter board member and is a previous director and student representative at large at the national level.
At present, Ashford’s SPJ chapter has 14 members, both current students and alumni. The officers are now working to organize the chapter's first meeting via teleconference. Members have also been invited to attend SPJ's national Excellence in Journalism conference in Nashville in September, where Dr. Rollins, faculty adviser for SPJ at Ashford, will also be in attendance.
About Ashford University
Achievement belongs to all of us at Ashford University. By offering a traditional college campus as well as online degree programs, Ashford meets the diverse needs of individuals pursuing integrity in their lives and in their communities. Students may earn an associates, bachelor’s, or master’s degree online, while campus students in Clinton, Iowa may earn a bachelor’s degree. Whether on campus or online, Ashford students enjoy the same supportive community. For more information, please visit http://www.ashford.edu or call Shari Winet, Vice President of Public Relations, at 858.513.9240 x2513.
About Society for Professional Journalists
Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry, works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists, and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For more information on SPJ, please visit www.spj.org.