A major mix and match

Kristen Russo

New concentration allows for variety of course options

Kenny Peris faced a potentially life-changing dilemma in Fall 2005.

Peris was unhappy in his chosen newspaper journalism major, and wanted to try something new.

His interest was sparked when Stan Wearden, director of the School of Communication Studies, told him about a new concentration the school would be offering: the applied communication concentration.

Peris, now a senior communication studies major, said the concentration has more of what he wants.

“It’s all stuff you kind of need to know to be an effective communicator,” he said. “But you learn your own way. It’s very much focused on what your own strengths are.”

Wearden said applied communication is the first concentration allowing students to take classes in all the College of Communication and Information undergraduate programs, giving them the opportunity to learn oral, written, organizational and visual communication skills.

Wearden said classes students have already taken as Journalism and Mass Communication or Visual Communication Design majors will count toward the requirements for the concentration.

But that’s not the only first for this program.

“The good thing about (this program) is students will be able to take it anywhere,” Wearden said. “It will be the first bachelor’s degree program to be offered at all (Kent State) campuses.”

Greg Blase, director of academic programming for the College of Communication and Information, is in charge of getting the program out to the regional campuses.

While the plan is to offer the concentration at all campuses, Blase said that hasn’t happened yet. There are still some things that need to be worked out, including making provisions for courses and faculty.

“Advising will be a huge part of this,” he said. “Advisers will be trained to help students complete the degree in four years.”

Blase, an award-winning academic adviser, said he will personally train advisers for the program.

The Ashtabula, Stark and Tuscarawas campuses plan to offer the concentration in Fall 2007, Blase said. It is already offered at the Kent campus.

Peris said the concentration is good for students who are interested in communication but aren’t sure what they want to do.

“It allows you to get really spread out instead of just confining yourself to one specific aspect of study,” he said.

Contact College of Communication and Information reporter Kristen Russo at [email protected].