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SOC Graduate Program Gets Name Change
By Alexis Goodwin
Starting next fall, the corporate and professional communication graduate program will be assuming a new name and a curriculum facelift.
The carefully crafted program has been redesigned to remain current with the demands of the field and officially renamed Master of Science in Strategic Communication.
According to the academic literature, the program’s focus is defined as any communication that helps an organization achieve its mission.
Dr. John Brummette, an associate professor, who until recently served as the graduate coordinator, and has now taken on the role of associate dean of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies is excited about the name change and the teamwork that went into making it a reality.
“Everyone has really pitched in to help … I couldn’t have asked for better colleagues,” Brummette said.
Alongside Brummette, former director of the School of Communication, Dr. Lynn Zoch, the current director, Dr. Matthew Smith, retired dean of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies, Dr. Dennis Grady, interim dean, Dr. Laura Jacobson, and dean of the College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences, Dr. Katherine Hawkins, all played a role in making this transformation a success.
Research was conducted with members of the program’s alumni advisory board to identify ways in which it could be changed and improved.
“I can remember one alumna mentioning how she felt as though communication graduates are really expected to have multiple skills that span across the communication curriculum, so this resulted in the graduate faculty adopting the strategic communication focus,” Brummette said.
As part of the research process graduate faculty inspected their individual courses with the new framework in mind and submitted their feedback, which included creating new names for the courses and overall curriculum changes.
The curriculum has taken on a broader approach to allow students to learn multiple communication tactics. Students can now take advantage of specialized classes to develop their skills in areas such as video production and social media and analytics.
The 36 credit hour program allows full time students to complete the coursework in two years. However, working professionals can still easily manage to take one to three courses throughout the year while continuing their career as a majority of the classes are offered 6:30-9:30 Monday through Thursday evenings.
“The students who started with the Corporate and Professional Communication program will of course have the ability to finish up with that program of study, [however] students who want to obtain the Strategic Communication degree would have to take some additional courses,” Brummette said.
The graduate faculty wanted to practice what they preach by allowing students the opportunity to communicate their advice for the program to make positive changes. Already several current students have decided to take on the challenge of adopting the new program to even further strengthen their academic experience.
“The main goal of the graduate faculty, and this continues to be the goal, is to ensure that our program really prepares our students with the skills they need to get jobs and begin their careers,” Brummette said.