The school continues to consider additional courses for GERs. The latest proposals are for courses on media ethics and new communication technologies.
The school has obtained preliminary approval for a PhD in Communication to replace the interdisciplinary PhD. The new degree will be intradisciplinary (speech and mass communication) but will still include cognate areas in the humanities and social sciences.
The major challenge to hybrid programs is in making sure that our definition of the field, curriculum, and research keep up with rapidly developing communication technologies. How should we define communication when the boundaries of human symbolic exchange are being redefined by computer technology? Is mass communication still a viable concept, with interactive technology, increasing choices of information, and more audience freedom to make those choices? What is speech communication, with virtual interaction becoming more common via e-mail and other vehicles? In this new communication environment, what careers are we preparing our students for? Will the traditional subdivisions according to media (for mass communications) still hold? Answers to these questions will determine the substance and structure of communication programs in the future.
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