Starting Fall 2014, the mass communications department curriculum will change to better help students expertise towards their desired career. The Mass Communications department will follow the conversant media model other communication departments across the university are following.
In Summer 2013 Dr. Kay Colley, assistant professor of mass communications, attended national conferences. From there Colley was able to collaborate ideas for the conversant media model to enable her to guide mass communication students better along the path of their career.
Steven Daniell, dean and associate professor of Arts and Letters, explains how the conversant media model fits into the mass communications department. Dr. August Grant from the University of South Carolina also came to give Texas Wesleyan’s mass communications department suggestions for faculty and students.
“Any organization is going to have multiple outlets for their product whether it’s print, or broadcast, and so on, said Daniell. “That is where the convergent idea comes from.”
Along with the rest of the mass communications faculty, Dr. Kay Colley, reviewed learning outcomes for students and looking at what they wanted to do by when they graduated. A lot of the classes weren’t working towards that goal.
Staring in Fall 2014, students will take 33 hours of required courses and 6 hours of the students’ choice.
“We’ve done away with Radio TV, Ad PR, and journalism,” said Colley. “So now beginning in the fall with people who come under the fall catalogue, you will only be able to get a mass communication degree.”
Digital photography is now required and more emphasized than ever in Texas Wesleyan’s mass communications department. Terri Cummings, Associate Professor of Art, explains how beneficial it is for Communications majors to take the course.
Digital Photography helps aid students in the competitive job market and in broadening the students’ skill set in the current age of convergent media.
“Digital Photography puts another vital tool in the communication kit and another vital skill on the resume for our Wesleyan Communications majors,” said Cummings. “Digital Photography is the most significant form of visual communication in terms of sheer numbers of people with a digital camera with them (cell phones), the ease of camera use, instantaneous distribution of images, and telling the story in an effective, efficient and compelling way.”
No longer is a mass communicator only a writer, on-air commentator, camera operator, photographer, editor, audio/sound operator, or graphic designer. Each new hire in the industry are expected to know and be able to use a variety of technologies.
Dr. Colley believes students’ need diversity, yet, at the same time need similar skills by the time they graduate. Mass Communication students are expected able to look at the learning outcomes and apply their skill levels in what they learn so they can graduate and be able get a job in the Dallas Fort Worth media market either in advertising, public relations, journalism, TV Radio, online in a mass communication type of field in what they chose while being well prepared.
Dr, Carol Johnson-Gerendas, Assistant Professor of Communication, will be teaching Communication and Rhetoric. Johnson said she is ecxited about the training on the software products within her class that shows the number of stories that have to be created for publication for each course; which is key for student portfolios.
“The curriculum changes that were made to mass communication, sets the mass communication program up for success in the future,” said Gerendas. “I think it strengths the program greatly. I think that it’s going to allow us to measure how students are doing and help guide them and gives them more flexibility in the program as well.”