CCI Core approaches 10-year anniversary

Matthew Rollyson is the assistant dean of CCI.

The CCI Core, a base set of cross-major courses required for students with majors in the College of Communication and Information, has grown in 10 years from three required classes to 10 options.

For the Fall 2011 undergrad students, the curriculum meant taking classes within CCI that exist outside of their majors, which was unlike past years.

These courses are meant to challenge students and allow for them to be given content in the field of media and journalism that they might otherwise not have found in their major alone.

“The original iteration was a requirement where students took three specific courses that were predetermined, so they were prescribed and the purpose was around the understanding that there’s a need to work across areas of communication,” said Matthew Rollyson, the assistant dean of CCI.

The introduction of CCI Core came roughly six months after the Kent Core curriculum was going through size changes in September 2010.

CCI Core is similar to Kent Core in the sense that it was made to give students a core group of classes beyond their majors, but CCI Core classes are streamlined to help them in their career fields specifically.

The content of CCI Core offers classes from other schools in the college and allows students to find new methods and skills for communicating. The curriculum was first offered in Fall 2011.

When the announcement was made, the college consisted of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, School of Visual Communication Design, School of Library Information Science and School of Communication Studies.

The CCI Core curriculum’s first three courses that all students had to take were Introduction to Human Communication from the School of Communication Studies, Media Power and Culture from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and Information Fluency in the Workplace and Beyond from Library and Information Science.

All three of these courses are still part of the curriculum today, Cathy Zingrone, the curriculum services director in CCI, said.

After adjusting to the change, faculty understood that while students benefited from it and became well-rounded, the options might be rigid for students in an ever-changing field of communication.

“We had three courses that were prescribed, but the benefit for students is that they can take a course that interests them and enhances what they are already learning, so we moved to a bank of courses students can choose from to give them some choice,” Zingrone said.  

This bank of courses has been slowly growing and is up to 10 courses from its initial three and now includes classes like My Story on the Web, a course from the School of Emerging Media and Technology, said Marianne Warzinski, the academic program director in CCI.

“There was a faculty group that met a few years ago to talk about what our goals were and what outcomes we wanted for the CCI core,” Zingrone said. “We brainstormed on different options, which is how the list expanded from you have to take these three courses to you can choose from these 10.”

With an umbrella of courses to choose from, it allows students to find courses that will help them succeed in the career field that they might not otherwise have taken.

“The students realize ‘OK I am building these skills and I am ready for these internships, even if it doesn’t exactly match my major, because I have learned these things,’” Warzinski said. “I think that it helps make the students more marketable by taking these classes.”

Future expansion of classes that count toward CCI Core could be in the early stages of conversation, Zingrone said, so CCI Core could change and even grow in the future.

Austin Monigold covers CCI. Contact him at [email protected].