This news release describes past events and should be used for historical purposes only. Please note date of release.
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield Hall 218
Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004
UW-Eau Claire to Offer Mass Communication Major
phone (715) 836-4741
fax (715) 836-2900

MAILED: April 11, 2000

EAU CLAIRE — Students at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will be able to major in mass communication beginning in the 2001-2002 academic year.
"The new major will allow the department to better use existing resources by grouping similar areas of emphasis together," said Dr. Ronald Satz, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. "Graduating students will be better prepared through a more integrated program."
The program is being developed by restructuring the existing communication and journalism majors to create a new major in mass communication, said Dr. A. David Gordon, chair of the department. Existing areas of emphasis in advertising, electronic media and public relations will be moved into mass communication, he said, adding that the new major will require no additional faculty or other resources.
"Clearly there is overlap among the advertising, public relations and electronic media areas," Gordon said. "It makes sense to put together the three accredited sequences that are not journalism under one mass communication major. This format will allow students to draw more easily from each of these communication areas."
Public communication and organizational communication will remain separate areas of emphasis under the communication major, and journalism (print and broadcast) will be the third major offered by the department.
The mass communication major will offer a diversified curriculum in which students will develop oral, written and visual skills; research and information-gathering skills; critical and analytical thinking skills; awareness and knowledge of communication processes in diverse cultural, social, legal and ethical contexts; professional training and development; and the skills needed to compete in their chosen fields, according to faculty-established department goals shared with the UW System Board of Regents. The regents approved the change during their March meeting.
"This integrated and holistic approach to the communication degree will make graduates more prepared for the emerging business market," said Jason Voiovich, a 1997 UW-Eau Claire communication graduate and co-owner of Ecra Design, a Twin Cities multi-service public relations/advertising agency specializing in business-to-business communication. "UW-Eau Claire couldn't be doing this at a better time. With less time, fewer resources and fast-paced opportunities, today's mid-sized company needs a communications professional trained to look at all aspects of their field."
"The mass communication major will educate students in the professions served by the major, at a time when there is increasing demand for employers in those areas," Gordon said.
The restructuring is just one of many efforts by the department to build on its already thriving programs, Gordon said. Other efforts to keep pace with the always changing media and communication fields include hiring a faculty member with an expertise in new media and making a digitized broadcast newsroom available to students, he said, noting that the department also hopes to create an integrated media center for all students in the department.
"There is a need for all our students — whether they plan careers in print journalism, public relations or public communication — to know the basics of things like video production and how to prepare a message for the Internet," Gordon said. "The emphasis of the integrated media center, as with all of our programs, would be on effective communication."
The communication and journalism department continues to attract more than 550 majors and more than 80 minors each year, and its graduates continue to be snapped up by top businesses and media outlets, Gordon said.
"We continue to get more requests for our print graduates than we can fill, and our alumni are recognized in huge numbers each year by the Wisconsin Newspaper Association. Many of our communication students are regularly hired by Andersen Consulting and other major companies," he said.

UWEC [Administrative Offices] [News Bureau]

Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 218
(715) 836-4741

Updated: April 11, 2000