New communications track to be available fall semester

Ben Breier

Kent State students can study communications a little differently next semester.

A new concentration, applied communication, will give students an opportunity to try out many different things said Stan Wearden, director of the School of Communication Studies.

Wearden said the new concentration stems back to his first job at a mental hospital in West Virginia. While there, he performed several tasks including coordinating media and public relations, writing newsletters, designing the company’s logo and letterhead and acting as the staff photographer.

“People going into nonprofit organizations or small businesses could benefit from this type of track,” Wearden said.

In addition to providing more options for students, Wearden hopes the concentration will help improve student retention.

“There are students who come into JMC (Journalism and Mass Communication), VCD (Visual Communication Design) and Communications and don’t find what they’re looking for,” Wearden said.

He also said it will allow the university to stay competitive with other area colleges that offer similar programs.

Bowling Green State University offers a program called Visual Communication Technology. The program was founded in 1970 by Gene Poor, a Kent State graduate.

According to the university’s Web site, VCT graduates “use print, photography, video and interactive multimedia as problem-solving tools in a variety of work settings.”

Wayne Schneider, senior institutional research information officer for Research, Planning and Institutional Effectiveness, also believes the applied communication concentration will improve student retention.

“It gives students another pathway to look at, which helps increase retention,” Schneider said.

The effect of applied communications on student retention will be visible among upperclassmen as early as next semester, Schneider said.

James Gaudino, dean of the College of Communication and Information, also thinks that the new track will improve student retention.

“Some students find as they progress in existing majors within CCI, that their initial (career) goals have changed or that new career or educational opportunities are available to them,” Gaudino said. “For these students, the applied communications sequence will offer them an alternative that allows them to pursue their new discovered goals and graduate on schedule.”

Contact College of Communication and Information reporter Ben Breier at [email protected]