Texas Wesleyan University’s mass communications department implemented curriculum change in Fall 2014.
Dr. Kay Colley, department chair of the Texas Wesleyan University’s mass communication department since 2012, said the departments curriculum has not changed since they split from the English department, which was over 20 years ago.
The change is designed to prepare students for the fluctuating industry, Colley said.
In 2011, Colley talked to people from all over the world at an International Association of Business Communicators meeting about what skills they are looking for, what kind of students they want, and the skills their having most problems finding in students today. Most professionals said they are looking for someone who knows how social media works and possesses good writing and editing skills.
The new curriculum focuses on these skills by focusing on writing, editing and multimedia use. The change has been well thought out and is based upon the needs of top industries such as The Star Telegram, Dallas Morning News, and the Miami Herald.
“The new courses will help students build skills that are needed in the industry so we can create students that are ready for graduate school and ready for employment,” Colley said.
Colley said her main goal for the department is to have the faculty familiar with the new convergent style of journalism.The new style requires students to have more than one role and know how to shoot video and audio, write a story, and take photos.
“They can teach students skills that are needed,” Colley said. “Students can learn from people who understand where we are right now and where we are going in the field of communication.”
Faculty teaching mass communication were required to complete one-on-one training this spring to keep them updated with industry standard. They were trained in programs such as Adobe InDesign and Premiere, Final cut, Photoshop and WordPress.
All mass communication classes will require students to build a WordPress portfolio to showcase the student’s work.
Jessica Liptak, a junior in mass communication, has been a student at Wesleyan since 2012. She said the incoming freshmen will have an advantage over upper classmen, especially in the use of WordPress.
“The department just started to focus on the use of WordPress this year, and now the incoming freshmen will get to start learning and using WordPress from the start,” Liptak said. “I think this is great.”
Liptak said the change is confusing, but she believes it will improve Wesleyan’s Communication Department.
“I think it’s really great for the new freshmen and it will be easier for them,” Liptak said. “So much more organized.”
New classes and training secessions will be available to current and potential students to help build multimedia skills. The department hopes to open these classes to Alumni by 2016.
Colley said that alumni who completed the previous curriculum missed out on a lot of multimedia training and students weren’t always shown how everything was integrated.
Alexis Belton, a senior in mass communications, started in 2012. She said the change is much needed and the department is headed in the right direction.
“The coolest thing about the change is how organized everything will be and the incorporation of more multimedia,” said Belton. “It makes me want to be a freshmen again because they definitely have an advantage.”