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Changes to take effect in UC’s journalism program beginning in fall 2012

Williamsburg, Ky. - Beginning in the fall of 2012, the Department of Communication Arts at University of the Cumberlands (UC) will change its name to the Department of Communication, Journalism, and Theatre Arts. With this change also come small alterations in the department’s programs, coursers, requirements and course rotations. These changes will primarily affect the journalism and public relations program.

In the journalism and public relations program, students will no longer have the option to minor in only journalism or only public relations. The two minors under the old course catalog have been merged into one minor that includes courses in both journalism and public relations. Assistant professor and director of journalism and public relations, Jeremiah Massengale says that the integration of the two minors is due in part to the low enrollment numbers in public relations classes as well as students’ growing interest in other topics in media and journalism.

“One of the things we’ve done is pay attention to student interest. For example, students have been requesting more graphic design courses and many of our graduates affirm that those skills have been useful in the workplace,” said Massengale.

Additional small changes that will take effect in the journalism and public relations department also include new course prefixes and adjustments in course curriculum as well as two new classes in journalism in editing and design.

All classes for the journalism program still under the COMM prefix will now have a JOUR heading. The programs “Print and Web Journalism,” offered next spring, will feature more photojournalism. Beginning in the fall of 2013, the departments “Communication Graphics” course will be changed to “Graphic Design,” a name that the department feels better corresponds with the focus of the course.

The two additional courses will include JOUR 330 “Editing for Print” and JOUR 333 “Print Design.” The course in editing will give students practice in both judging news and editing articles to meet journalism standards and AP style. The additional design course will allow students to practice the principles behind visual communication as it applies to magazine and newspaper layout using hands-on methods. The course will cover topics in graphic design, typography, illustration and photography and production techniques.

The core curriculum for the major in journalism and public relations will focus more on journalism topics and techniques, allowing students to choose from a few PR focused classes to meet additional requirements.

“As a department, we realize there’s a need to look critically at our program offerings to determine if anything can be improved. The field of journalism changes rapidly and constantly. We want to make sure our course offerings are up to date so our students are prepared for the future of journalism, whatever that may be,” said Massengale; “Just like a life without any improvement is a scary thing, the same can be said for a department or program. It’s good to look at things and ask, ‘How can this be better?’”

Located in Williamsburg, KY, University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees in more than 40 major fields of study; nine pre-professional programs; nine graduate degrees, including two doctorates, a specialist, and six master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs.

Article Provided by Kristin Gotch, University of the Cumberlands Multimedia & Athletic Services Summer Assistant