by ALEXANDRA ESPINAL ’16
At today’s faculty assembly professors unanimously voted in favor of a proposal that will reorganize the Department of Communication Studies and change its name to the Department of Communication and Media.
Now that the proposal has been approved, professors from various departments will begin to work on the new endeavor. “Professors Jim Frank and Christine Dehne will be moved out of Studio Art and into Communication and Media and we will begin the process of re-imagining the whole curriculum so that it better prepares our majors and minors for the digital world,” said Brian Snee, Chair of Communications Studies and Digital Media Production.
While there won’t be any immediate changes to the Communication Studies and Digital Media Production curriculums, Snee assured that the new department will “begin immediately to reconsider departmental learning outcomes, required courses, electives…everything.” As of now there are some new courses that have already been developed, including Social Media, Sport Communication & Media, Multimedia Storytelling, and Digital Portfolio. “My long-term goal is a complete overhaul of the existing curriculum so that the courses we teach resonate even more with the digital world outside of the classroom,” said Snee.
The reorganization of the Communications department will eventually give students more options when it comes to choosing an advisor. “Students will soon have several faculty from whom to choose an advisor. At present, I have over 100 advisees, which is not a sustainable model,” said Snee.
The reorganization of the department may also lead to fewer requirements for Communications and Digital Media Production majors. As of now, the Communications Studies major requires students to complete thirteen courses, while the Digital Media Production major requires students to complete twelve. “I’d like both majors to be 10-course majors, with fewer required courses and more electives so that each student can essentially custom-design his or her degree program,” said Snee.
When asked why he thought it was essential to restructure the Communications department, Snee emphasized the importance of anticipating the changes in the communications and media world. “Unlike some disciplines, the world of communication and media changes daily. We need not only keep up, but stay ahead of the field. That’s the best way to prepare our majors for internships and successful careers.”