Sandra Eisert was the first woman on council accrediting university journalism schools, ACEJMC. She was able to strengthen the position of visual programs and was co-author of Council’s landmark diversity standard and member of its committee on future.

As liaison for NPPA on the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, she focused on this highly-detailed, tedious, and thorough work for 20 years. “But of all the things I’ve done,” Eisert says, “I’m by far proudest of this work in behalf of NPPA with this organization that accredits journalism and mass communications schools internationally because it has ultimately changed the face of journalism and mass communications programs and the face of newsrooms, helping us reflect who we are as a society as a whole.”

As being what she calls “the first non-middle-aged-white-guy on the Accrediting Council,” not only did she broaden attention schools gave to photography, but as soon as the Accrediting Council broadened its base, she also worked with Dean Bob Ruggles and a future dean JoAnn Huff Albers to create the Council’s first awareness of diversity and it’s first diversity standard, which was initially heavily scorned.

Sandra Eisert consistently fought for photography to be integrated into curricula and for the diversity Standard 13, the last of the Council’s accrediting criteria. School by school, throughout the next decade, Eisert fought to ensure the standard’s true implementation and appreciation for its importance in the role of journalism and society. It is now ACEJMC’s Standard 4 in importance, critical to accreditation, not a mere footnote. “In my career, I never had a role model or a mentor and so I understands the value of those,” Eisert has said.

So when she sees two women anchors on TV, when she sees women and minority managers playing strong roles in newsrooms, and sees ethnic bylines on stories and visuals, she feels a deep sense of gratitude. She knows the work of inclusion and fairness is not at all done but it clearly has finally begun. Simultaneously she represented NPPA to the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, AEJMC, the professional group for journalism educators. There she stressed to educators the need for research into how pictures are seen by audiences and how their use affects their impact.