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Academic Digest

The College of Arts & Sciences Unveils a Redesigned Communication Degree

Woman wearing glasses types on her laptop

Students now have a choice of one of three concentrations: Digital Journalism, Public Relations & Strategic Communication and Visual Communication.

“We are really excited to offer this redesign,” says Dr. Janice Colvin, chair of Communication. “We researched the possible directions of the future economy and saw a continuing strong need for communicators with a wide set of skills across the board, not just technical but those soft skills of writing, creativity and critical thinking that employers prize so much in their workforces. We specifically redesigned the program to help meet those needs. In many ways, I consider it a STEAM degree.”

She said that each of the new concentrations, while containing the same courses as the previous degree program, now offer wider options for students.

“The program offers a lot of flexibility,” she says. “Embedded in each concentration is a certificate – Technical Communication, Social Media Management and Graphic Design – which students earn automatically as they move through their coursework.”

“Also with this change comes the addition of 15 free electives in each concentration,” she adds. “This addition allows students to take another certificate of their choice, take a minor, or take advantage of an accelerated degree option by taking two graduate courses in the College of Business, Master of Science in Management’s Business Communication concentration.”

Dr. Colvin also says that four new courses are part of the redesign: Social Media Management, Current Trends in Social Media, Advanced Reporting and the Communication Capstone.

“Businesses and organizations now use social media universally for public outreach,” says Dr. Colvin. The social media management certificate is designed to meet this need.

“Our students must understand how social media works for a business and how they can use that knowledge to help their employer post targeted messages to a particular audience,” she says. Students move beyond the limited understanding of social media as just a user – they learn the deeper workings of each platform, and research the pros and cons of using each type, including how to analyze user data.

Advanced Reporting takes students to a higher level of journalistic writing, building on skills learned in the introductory news writing course, while the Capstone course pulls the learning of the past years into one package, she says.

“We’ve worked hard to make this a degree for the future, for both students and employers,” she adds. “And we’ll be adding more certificates and courses as we move forward, to make this degree what I like to call ‘a living degree,’ flexible and ready to change.”

The details and curriculum for each concentration are located on the college’s web page for the Communication program:  https://www.wilmu.edu/artsandsciences/comm.aspx.

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