Communication, media and screen studies merge


Tamonda GriffithsNews Writer

Entering the basement wing of Engleman, past the Veteran’s Office and into the B-wing, returning SCSU communication and media studies majors will notice something different. The two departments have been combined.

The new department title reads as follows. Communication, Media, and Screen Studies.

“We had to consider the option of, we can stay comfortably where we are,” said Micheal Bay, co-chairperson of communications, “or we can really bring these departments together and try to create something new for the benefit of the students.”

Bay and Dr. Wesley O’Brien, co-chairperson of the media studies portion of the newly named department, confirmed that the decision to merge the two majors was a mutual decision as, “a result of a lot of meetings and votes.”

The decision was not made as a result of lack thereof students or financial issues in either department.

“It was just a matter of how much longer of like, how much longer are we going to keep standing up in front of students and keep confusing them,” said Bay.

He and O’Brien said it will benefit students and faculty with better access to resources and choices in both majors.

The Media Studies department had previously been located across the pedestrian bridge on the other side of campus away from the Department of Arts and Sciences. Their offices are now located just one wing down the hall from the Communication, Media, and Screen Studies suite.

“I think now being involved in every aspect of communications studies is good for students who want to break out, branch out,” said Lisa Tedesco, a junior.

She and other media studies students had been hoping for the merger as their professors had told them the majors had been combined once before almost 20 or so years ago.

David Cardona, a sophomore, said he thought the two majors were already one.

Bay said that “further validated” the merger.  As of now, there is no change to the curriculum of either major, just a new name.

“Now the work for us,” said Bay, ” is to find ways to creatively…you know, create those bridges between the two programs. We still want to maintain the two separate degree programs.”

Cardona worries that this would limit what professors can and cannot teach.

Tedesco argues that this will instead “catapult the three areas into a more interested kind of field.”

Media studies is described on The School of Arts and Sciences webpage as a field that, “explores how the media shapes and constructs the world.” And communications, “explores the complexities of human interactions in interpersonal, relational, and organizational contexts.

Students are currently able to earn three different Bachelor of Science in Communication or a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies with minors in offered in communications, film studies, and/or media studies.

In the coming years, the department’s biggest challenge will be streamlining the program to adequately include all relevant aspects of their respective majors.

This could involve the doing away with of certain classes and/or the merger of pre-existing classes.

Photo Credit: Tamonda Griffiths

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