School of Journalism and Communication

The Department of Journalism and Mass Communication and the speech communication major from the Department of Communication Studies and Theatre are exploring the possibility of joining forces to create a School of Journalism and Communication Studies. Both are interested in increasing opportunities for students in their undergraduate and graduate programs.

In another part of the academic revitalization of the College of Arts and Sciences, the theatre program will move to the proposed School of Performing Arts.

Laurie Haleta, head of the Department of Communication Studies and Theatre, said this concept is common at other universities. Haleta said the faculty are researching whether the model is a good fit for this land-grant institution, and searching for ways the four majors—advertising, communication studies, journalism and public relations—can collaborate in teaching, faculty scholarship and service to the university and community.

“Adding speech communication courses like interpersonal, organizational and health communication will broaden the preparation of our advertising and public relations majors,” said Mary Arnold, head of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication. “Argumentation and debate skills will be especially valuable for our journalism students.”

Pending faculty approval, College of Arts & Sciences approval, University approval and South Dakota Board of Regents approval, the School of Journalism and Communication Studies could come to fruition the fall of 2018.

“We are excited that this merger may generate additional strength for two already strong, nationally recognized programs,” Haleta said.

All accredited programs will continue to apply for reaccreditation on the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication six-year cycle. ACEJMC does not accredit speech communication programs.

“Our department has been continuously accredited since 1948. It is among the first programs in the nation to be accredited,” Arnold said.

The School of Journalism and Communication Studies will provide students with a comprehensive environment that combines expertise across the fields of journalism and communication. Haleta said, “I think students will benefit greatly.”

April Entringer

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