New Curriculum approved for fall 2007

The mass media are changing and so is the School of Mass Communication

Beginning in the fall 2007 semester, students admitted to the School will follow a new curriculum, one that will introduce them to media convergence. The blending of media was an important factor in developing the new curriculum, Dr. Jamie Byrne, director of the School of Mass Communication, said.

“It’s not enough anymore to prepare anyone just to be a newspaper reporter or a videographer,” she said. “Convergence is here, and it is here locally.”

New classes will give students a wide range of skills from print, broadcast, and the Web. “It made sense to develop a curriculum that would have students familiar with knowing something about all media, but also allow them to specialize,” she said.

Some of the new classes include: Intro to Web Principles and Design, Mass Media Research, and Intro to Digital Graphics.

Students already admitted to the School are not required to take the classes, but are welcome to register for them or they can choose to change their degree plan to reflect the new curriculum. But students need to keep in mind they will have to complete 42 hours instead of 36 to finish their degree. The new degree won’t take students longer to complete than the current program because of the number of elective courses that students need. Students currently majoring in the School will not have their graduation delayed by the change in curriculum, Byrne said.

Changing the curriculum has been a long process; taking over three years, Byrne said.

“We took our own knowledge, what is happening in the local market, and talked with other professionals,” she said. “And based on what we learned, we designed the new curriculum.”

After faculty refined classes, both the College of Professional Studies and the University approved the curriculum this spring.

Now, when students register for classes, they should select Mass Comm instead of the Journalism or RTVF option when selecting the subject on BOSS. Only undergraduate classes are listed under the new alpha code, MCOM, while graduate classes are still listed under JOUR. A new curriculum is being designed for the master’s program and could be in place within a year.

Along with the change of the alpha code, several course numbers and titles have changed with the new curriculum. Students should check with their adviser to see how the new curriculum could affect the classes they take in the fall.

“We are really excited; this will benefit all of our students,” she said. “I think it will make a stronger, better school.”