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The Student News Site of Buena Vista University

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The Student News Site of Buena Vista University

The Tack Online

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Corporate Communication makes major changes

Corporate+Communication+makes+major+changes

Samantha Hirschman | Staff Writer

The Communication Program at Buena Vista University currently includes two majors, Communication Studies and Corporate Communication, and a minor, Communication Studies.

Next year’s catalog will look different for the incoming freshman communication students. The Corporate Communication major will be going away and a new major entitled Strategic Public Relations will begin.

“It significantly updates the idea of the Corp Comm major by replacing it with a focus on integrated strategic public relations, whereas Corp Comm focused more on communication within and outside of business settings,” Dr. Mary Gill, Professor of Communication Studies, said.

Along with the undergraduate changes, there is a new graduate program that is awaiting accreditation.

Students who are currently attending BVU will remain under their incoming year’s catalog and continue the Communication Studies or Corporate Communication major. The new Communication Studies major will require 36 credits, lowered from the current 42.

A few of the communication classes will have a new course names. The current capstone courses will be combined into one when next year’s freshmen are seniors; however, it will remain as two separate classes for the next three years. The department will continue offering the classes needed for the Corporate Communication major until the 2015-2016 freshmen are all graduated out of the program.

Gill explained the purpose of the new major.

“It is in direct response to prioritization as a big idea or new idea. The Strategic Public Relations major is much more in keeping place where the marketplace is of integrated communication. It involves a mix of digital media courses, which are the ‘skills’ kind of courses. It also then includes the foundation courses of theory and application of communication, things like relational, perspectives, business and professional, conflict, and leadership communication classes,” she said.

Gill also explained that new major will include a new sequence of public relations classes and some suggested tracks in areas like event management, non-profit or advocacy work, sports communication and creative design.

Ashley Lemke, senior Communication Studies major, is in favor of the changes she’s heard about.

“Changing up the major is a really great idea considering the media, the way we work, and the available jobs are all changing. We should adapt to those changes. We should prepare the students for the ever-changing society of digital communication,” Lemke said.

Gill has been named the Program Director for the new graduate program which awaits approval from the accrediting body. Once approved, students who enter the program and finish will receive a Master of Arts degree in Organizational Leadership. Any student who graduates with a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited school or is within their last year of the undergraduate program at BVU is eligible to begin this program.

“This degree will be a 30-credit-hour program, typical of a master’s program. It’s not intentionally toward business or education, but is an applied interdisciplinary master’s degree. Content will cover a number of areas including how to manage teams, ethics in leadership, systems thinking, managing change, among others,” Gill said.

Lembke likes the idea of a +1 program.

“I think the +1 graduate program is a step in the right direction for the university and the communication department. I’ve been working with Dr. Gill, as her Academic Assistant, to prepare materials for the beginning classes of the Organizational Leadership graduate program. I think, eventually, the university will have more programs follow this pattern,” Lemke said.

The Organizational Leadership Communication graduate program is awaiting approval from the Higher Learning Commission.

“We should know by the end of May if we can beginning offering the program in the fall,” Gill said.

“Finally our department is getting some attention,” Lemke said. “It’s good that they are focusing on communication because that is where the marketplace is going. People don’t think communication is important? This is proof it is.”

GIF by Justice Gage

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