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Communication Dept. Loses More Classes, PR And Ads Gone

Journalism Moved To American Studies

Assoc. News Editor

Published: Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

The course offerings of the communication department will go through a series of changes starting in the Fall 2012 semester. Advertising, a class that has been been offered for years by the department, will not be offered at Boston College next year. Public Relations and Advanced Public Relations classes will be moved out of the communication department, but will still be offered by the University.

"Public Relations classes will be offered as University courses for the fall semester and will be available to students from throughout the University," said University Spokesman Jack Dunn.

The cancelled Advertising and moved Public Relations classes are the result of a restructuring of the communication department.

"The department is moving toward a greater focus on the research strengths of full-time faculty members," said Lisa Cuklanz, chairperson of the communication department.

Changes in the communication department will encompass the creation of new classes that reflect its faculty's research strengths, in addition to the removal of classes that do not.

"We have added new courses such as Rhetorical Criticism to this end," Cuklanz said.

Cuklanz recognizes that BC students have an interest in taking advertising classes, and feels that these students will still be able to pursue this academic interest through other classes in the Fall 2012 semester.

"Students may be able to take courses related to advertising through CSOM electives," Cuklanz said.

The process of reorganizing the communication department has already moved classes such as Broadcast Writing, News Writing, Feature Writing, and Advanced Journalism out of the department. These classes were offered as University courses beginning last semester. They will continue to be offered as University courses for the next academic year, but will now count as part of the American Studies minor.

"Starting next year, American Studies minors can count one of these journalism courses toward the minor, and American Studies minors who pursue a new area of concentration in journalism within the minor can count up to three," said Carlo Rotella, director of the American Studies program.

Rotella believes that the inclusion of journalism classes is a logical step that will benefit the American Studies minor. "[American Studies is] an interdisciplinary program with a focus on American culture, very much including journalism," Rotella said. "A number of American Studies faculty have a variety of scholarly and professional interests in journalism. Since American Studies is an interdisciplinary program, not a department, and a minor, not a major, it's easy for us to open up these offerings to students from across the University without having to worry about also serving the needs of a department."

Rotella said he believes that moving journalism classes out of the communication department and not restricting them to American Studies minors is a move that reflects the spirit of BC academics.

"I think the best way to characterize the intent of the move is to say that it's in keeping with a broadly liberal-arts approach to journalism at BC in which students can major in whatever they choose and also have access to training in journalism," Rotella said.

The journalism classes will not be altered in any way now that they will count as credits for American Studies minors.

"As a group, the University [journalism] courses will remain the same in conception," Rotella said. "They're designed to offer hands-on, professional training in a small-group setting, and they're taught by veteran working journalists who come to campus to share their expertise and experience in the field. That's the strength of these courses, and there's no plan to change that."

The future of journalism at BC will include additional classes relating to the field. "There will be a new Introduction to Magazine Writing course in the fall, and we should add a new media writing course the following year," Rotella said.

Though there will be gradual changes in journalism course offerings, Rotella's current goal is to publicize BC's current journalism course offerings, which, in addition to the University course offerings, include a variety of journalism-related nonfiction writing workshops offered by the English department, and a course in literary journalism.

"The first step is to increase awareness of the opportunities already offered at BC," Rotella said. "One thing we want to do is make sure that any student interested in journalism takes advantage of this range of opportunities."

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