Communication & Media Program Merges Majors

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Nicholas Souza, News/Online Editor

UPDATE 4/21: The new communication and media program has officially been approved by the New York State Department of Education. The program will begin in fall 2016.

Utica College’s communication arts, and public relations and journalism program will merge this fall to create the new communication and media program. This new program will also include coursework from UC’s theatre program.

The new communication and media major is the overall program name, which will include general requirements for the program and nine expected concentrations. These concentrations are communication and social justice, communication arts, creativity studies, health communication, journalism, public relations, sports communication, sports public relations, and theatre.

The existing program will be phased out when the new program goes into effect. When this new program goes into effect, students in the existing program will be able to complete their current coursework. Also, student in the existing program will have the option to become a part of this new major but must complete all requirements.

Communication and media come to fruition after the question was raised about whether these existing programs had any relation to one another. After many discussions, faculty and administration determined that it made sense to merge these programs into one that covered both the theory and practical sides of communication.

Next came the long road of putting together a curriculum and getting various approvals from UC and New York state.

“It took about a year of discussion among the faculty members involved in the programs that currently exist,” Department Chair of the communication arts program, Carol Downing, said. “We spent time consulting with our school deans, the office of Academic Assessment, Career Services, Enrollment Management, the provost, and faculty members in other departments that could offer assistance. I spent lots of time looking at websites of other schools to see what kinds of exciting things were being done at other schools.”

After finalizing the curriculum and putting together a solid plan for the new program, faculty had to present the communication and media program to several committees on campus.

“We put together our plan and a concept paper. Professor Downing did great work in actually pulling a lot of this together and making the case about why this makes sense for the college,” Department Chair of public relations and journalism, David Chanatry, said. “That concept paper is posted for other people to comment on within the UC community. It goes to the respective schools so both the schools of business and justice studies, and arts and sciences had to vote to approve the idea. Then it goes to the curriculum committee and they have to approve it.”

After being approved by the schools and the curriculum committee, the major went on to faculty senate for approval. The communication and media program has been approved by all of these groups and currently is being looked at by New York State’s Department of Education.

The Faculty does not anticipate any problems with receiving approval from the department of education. Faculty estimates that it will take six to nine months for the department of education to reach their decision. The faculty is proceeding with the expectation that the program will be approved by the start of the fall semester.

This new program will be shared by the schools of business and justice studies and arts and sciences for the time being. It is unclear at this point how the program will proceed in terms of which school controls the program. Until that time, both of the schools and faculty are working closely on this major.


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