Major Changes for Communication Students

    Critical Gender Studies chair Patrick Anderson, along with several communication faculty members, announced the changes, effective Fall 2012, at a town hall on May 2. Students who have already taken communication classes will be able to apply them to the new requirements without needing to make changes retroactively.

    The communication major is originally 15 classes; the new curriculum lowers the number of required classes to 13 by removing one upper-division and one lower-division course requirement.

    Undergraduate communication courses, which had been divided into general (COGN), culture (COCU), social force (COSF), human interaction (COHI) and media methods (COMT), will now run entirely under the four-letter code COMM.

    Students will now only need to take  Introduction to Communication to fulfill lower-division requirements as opposed to the current two. After completing any two introductory upper-division courses, students will be cleared to take electives.  

    Students can take up to three intermediate electives, or courses labeled COMM 101-119, and at least five Advanced Electives, which are listed as COMM 120-189.

    According to Anderson, the communication curriculum is nearly 30 years old and needs adjustments to reflect changing times.

    “We’re instituting these changes because the faculty has changed dramatically,” he said. “This curriculum is no longer applicable.”

    Communication Department Student Services Coordinator Jamie Lloyd said that the new curriculum would also make it easier for students to register for courses.

    “Students were having a bottleneck because a large group of transfer students were coming in who were competing with freshman for classes,” Lloyd said. “The way that prerequisites were set up made it difficult for students to get classes.”

    Lloyd also speculated that budget cuts might have had an effect on the reduction of the number of required courses.

    “This might be a way for the university to generate more revenue, you get the students through faster and you get more revenue because more students come through,” Lloyd said.

    Associate Vice Chancellor of Undergraduate Education Barbara Sawrey said that the Academic Affairs Office had asked departments in 2010 to reevaluat e their requirements, but that no change was necessary.

    “The university requires each major to require 48 upper-division units to complete a major,” Sawrey said. “We asked [departments] to relook at their requirements and communication was one department that came forward and lowered them.”

    Changes have also affected the administrative side of the department. Around a year ago, the Communication Department  became linked with the Cognitive Science Department, mainly for financial purposes. Lloyd said that any connection between the two departments would have no effect on the academic side of the department.

    “[Combining administrative and financial managers] will not have any effect on students,” she said.

    Any previous elective work in the major will be counted toward a student’s Advanced Elective requirement.

    Communication majors must now complete the seminar requirement during their junior year. 

    “The department will offer more sections of the seminar [in 2012-13] to accommodate the two classes who will need to take it,” Anderson said.

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