Ours is one of the first journalism and mass communication programs established in the United States. The school’s founder, Willard G. Bleyer, started offering instruction in journalism at Wisconsin during the 1904-05 academic year. We’ve honored Bleyer’s legacy for over a century, providing real-world preparation, with curriculum that blends practical training and enrichment courses. This approach results in students who are both soundly trained in fundamentals and are critical thinkers, problem solvers and innovators — the kind of graduates employers are eager to hire.

Anticipating rapid and dramatic changes in the technologies of mass communication, we created one of the nation’s first “converged curriculums,” featuring strong training in a common skill set across journalism and strategic communication, and a digital first philosophy. We strive to keep enrollment in skills classes low, which enhances faculty-student contact and facilitates hands-on learning opportunities. In addition, we maintain strong collaborations with Wisconsin Public Television and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, which provide real-life learning experiences in broadcasting and investigative reporting. Communicating for multiple formats, our instructors and researchers take seriously the core principles of truth telling and community building upon which journalism is built, as well as the lessons of ethical and effective persuasion at the core of strategic communication.

Yet we do much more than teach technology and communication skills. As part of the UW-Madison College of Letters & Science—the heart of a great university—our students receive a solid liberal arts and science education, helping them to grow into critical, curious scholars and caring, engaged citizens. Many of our undergraduate students double-major in social science and humanities related programs. And our graduate program represents one of the leading centers of communication research in the world. From all levels of our curriculum, Wisconsin graduates go on to become leaders in their fields.

Throughout our teaching and research, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication is dedicated to being a welcoming and inclusive place where all students, staff and faculty feel they belong. Our community thrives when voices from every background are heard and valued. We are committed to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in everything we do as students, teachers, scholars and communicators.

It is a privilege and challenge to serve as director of such a vibrant school in these uncertain but energizing times, and I invite all of our students, parents, supporters, colleagues and alumni to help us build upon our current and historic strengths in teaching, research and service for a second century of success. Feel free to email me at hrojas@wisc.edu with your ideas.


Hernando Rojas

Director, School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Helen Firstbrook Franklin Professor of Journalism

Hernando Rojas headshot
Hernando Rojas, Director, School of Journalism and Mass Communication; Helen Firstbrook Franklin Professor of Journalism