College of Communications proposes to change to College of Media

By Paul Biasco

The Department of Speech Communication and the College of Communications are nearing the finish of the extensive process to change their titles.

The College of Communications could soon become the College of Media, said Ronald Yates, dean of the College of Communications. The Department of Speech Communication is slated to be titled the Department of Communication.

The idea of a name change for both the college and the department has been in discussion since 2004.

“The process is pretty far along. It has gone through various committees and has been approved by the faculty senate,” said Professor Barbara Wilson, head of the Department of Speech Communication. “We are waiting for approval of the Board of Trustees.”

The reasoning for change in the Department of Speech Communication is that, “The label ‘speech communication’ does not accurately describe the range of scholarly and teaching activities carried out by the department,” according to the proposal to the Senate Committee on Education Policy proposed by the department.

    Sign up for our newsletter!

    “Our name is a dinosaur in our field,” Wilson said.

    The national trend for speech communication departments has been swaying away from the idea of strictly a speech communication discipline since the 1970s, according to the proposal. The University is the only school in the Big Ten which still has a department called speech communication. The name used by the majority of doctoral programs in the United States is simply the department of communications.

    “The title ‘speech communication’ holds the view that you just give speeches,” said Kody Karhliker, a sophomore speech communication major. “(The department) really deals with communication on a larger scale.”

    The College of Communications, which is going through its fifth name change, is proposing the name change to the College of Media for similar reasons.

    “The main reason is, by calling ourselves the College of Media, it more accurately reflects and focuses on what we are all about. We are about the media here,” Yates said.

    The college, which began as the School of Journalism and has slowly evolved into the College of Communications, has held its name since 1968.

    Yates, who has been the college spokesperson for the name change, feels that the proposal to become the College of Media is a perfect fit.

    “What we are about is media, and all different media forms. Not just traditional media such as newspapers and television and radio, we are dealing with blogospheres, writing for (personal digital assistants), writing for iPods, etc.,” Yates said.

    The college sent out around 5,000 letters to alumni asking for their opinions and have received around 1,000 replies which Yates said have influenced the decision. Alumni agreed that the “College of Media” was the best choice for the name change, however, “College of Media Arts and Sciences” followed closely behind as a potential option.

    Both the College of Communications and the Department of Speech Communication are nearing the end of the process and said they are pleased about the probable changes.