A new major is now offered at the University of Vermont. Public Communication has recently become an option for undergraduate studies. The new major is part of the Community Development and Applied Economics department (CDAE) and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS). Faculty, as well as other administrative staff have been developing the major for several years now.
Jane Kolodinsky, the chair of CDAE discussed the development process, “The major grew out of a very long history, we had all the pieces for such a major, and we saw an increasing demand from students for such a major- this combined with Fogel’s vision of bringing in more students all lead to the creating the public communication major.”
The major was just approved as of January 1st, 2005 and currently there are seven students officially enrolled in the major, including Junior Chris Arzoomanian who expressed his excitement about the new addition, “When I heard we just got the major I was very happy because it was what I always wanted to study and I had been taking a lot of classes in communications and communication sciences anyway and now that it is offered so I became the first person to sign up for the major.”
The previous demand for some form of communications that Professor Kolodinsky alluded to included a very popular minor in through CDAE. The consumerism and advertising minor has been very well received in the past by students in terms of interest and this new major seeks to expand on that foundation.
The CDAE department is the social science department within a rather scientific college. CDAE encourages leadership, sustainability, social responsibility and business development, which Professor Kolodinsky pointed out, “all leads to a strong background in the communications and fits with our mission.” Other faculty on board for the new major include: Jane Petrillo, Jay Ashman, and Tom Patterson and the department is currently expanding the faculty as they conduct a search for an additional professor.
The addition of this major has certainly brought the University to the same level of academic diversity of many other institutions of higher learning. Professor Kolodinsky did note that, “We are not a school or a major of journalism, our goal is to provide students with the best mix of liberal arts and application in order for students to be prepared to work in the government, non-profit, and business sector.” She added, “More and more organizations need to have trained individuals to communicate complex messages- part of the need of communication these days is to communicate about sciences such as the pharmaceutical industry.”
The major integrates many disciplines to yield a well-rounded curriculum that is inclusive of courses such as a visual communications and design class, a research methods class and even an internship or service learning opportunities. Students who seek to enroll in this major still must complete the CALS distribution requirements which include technology based foundation courses and other related studies. The dynamic course offerings of the new major ensure success for both the college and the university.
For more details about the new public communications major visit the CDAE website http://www.uvm.edu/cdae.