Today (Jan. 28), West Virginia University President Jim Clements signed a memorandum of understanding formally establishing a first-of-its kind academic partnership between WVU’s P.I. Reed School of Journalism and the U.S. Defense Information School.

DINFOS, the U.S. Department of Defense’s premier center for public affairs and visual information training and a component of Defense Media Activity, has never before partnered with a major land-grant university, although it has established several online partnerships with institutions. DMA serves as the Department of Defense’s direct line of communication for news and information to U.S. forces worldwide. Using a variety of media platforms and emerging technologies, the agency provides news, information and entertainment to millions of active, Guard and Reserve service members, civilian employees, contractors, military retirees and their families in the U.S. and abroad.

Members from all branches of the U.S. military, Department of Defense civilians and international military personnel attend DINFOS for training in such areas as public affairs, print journalism, photojournalism, photography, television and radio broadcasting, lithography, equipment maintenance and various forms of multimedia.

Click below to hear Tom Boyd, a 1971 alumnus of WVU's P.I. Reed School of Journalism and retired Air Force colonel, talk about the strengths and reputation of DINFOS and how discussions with J-School Dean Maryanne Reed led to a memorandum of understanding between the institutions.

The MOU lays the foundation for a mutually beneficial academic partnership between DINFOS and the School of Journalism to provide professional development and programming for both institutions’ students, faculty and communications professionals.

The alliance will include increasing the availability of high-quality online and traditional educational opportunities for DINFOS graduates, offering convenient education access for military men and women, and facilitating the exchange of professional and scholarly knowledge between WVU and DINFOS.

“The partnership with DINFOS will provide our students and faculty a unique insight into how the U.S. military tells its own story through multiple media and channels,” said School of Journalism Dean Maryanne Reed. “In addition, we look forward to having DINFOS students and graduates participate in our academic programs to further the exchange of ideas between communications professionals. “

Click below to hear Michael Gannon, DINFOS provost, talk about the opportunities a partnership between WVU and DINFOS will present.

The signing is a continuation of WVU’s commitment to students in the military and student veterans and their families. “WVU was recently ranked 18th in the Military Times’ “Best for Vets list for 2013, and several major initiatives will be unveiled in the coming year.

WVU’s Mountaineer to Mentor program, which pairs new student veterans coming to WVU with other student vets who have successfully made the transition, was created last semester. It will also pair new student veterans with a faculty or staff member who will serve as a mentor.

To ease the financial burdens of prospective veteran students, WVU has expanded its Yellow Ribbon Program to include graduate programs in the School of Public Health, the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences and the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.

The Yellow Ribbon program is an extension of the 9/11 GI Bill that pays all in-state tuition and fees at public colleges and universities for eligible students. WVU has taken part in the Yellow Ribbon program for undergraduate out-of-state students for years, but this is the first year that the University has offered it to graduate students.

The new initiatives are an expansion of previously established programs and policies that have helped WVU gain a national reputation for accommodating veteran students and job-seekers in recent years. More than 800 veterans, military personnel or their dependents are currently studying at WVU, including nearly 100 new student vets who were admitted this spring.

President Clements and DINFOS Commandant Col. Jeremy Martin signed the memorandum during a 10 a.m. ceremony in Stewart Hall.



Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.

CONTACT: Kimberly Walker, School of Journalism