CBHE approves new degree option

Becky Husky

Communication majors will be offered more variety in the fall semester.

The Coordinating Board of Higher Education approved a proposal for a bachelor of science degree in communication at its April 10 meeting.

Previously, the department of communication offered only two options, a bachelor of arts in communication and a Bachelor of Science in Education. Unlike the B.A. degree, however, the B.S. will not require 12 hours of foreign language.

“I think there’s a group of students that started the communication degree, realized they had to take two years of foreign language and some of them drifted to other places on campus,” said Dr. Kelly Larson, associate professor of communication and director of forensics. “Some of them drifted off campus entirely and some of them drifted back over to university services where they were general studies majors.”

To replace the foreign language requirement, students will take upper-division elective courses within their major. Dr. Jay Moorman, department head of communication, said the degree will be more “hands-on” oriented.

“What we realized was through the convergence of the media, we needed to have an new way to meet the needs of the students,” he said. “So, we decided to create a B.S. degree which emphasized hands-on training more than anything else.”

According to Moorman, feedback from the foreign language department has been mixed. However, avoiding the foreign language requirement wasn’t necessarily the goal of the degree, Larson said.

“The hope was to recapture some of those general studies people back to the communication major. It wasn’t necessarily used to cut foreign language off,” he said. “We just wanted to recapture what we thought was leaving out the door.”

Both Moorman and Larson think foreign language is an important aspect of education. For students who plan on staying in this area, Larson said he advises that they have knowledge in languages such as Spanish.

“Personally, I think learning a foreign language is very important,” Moorman said. “I, myself, speak a second language.

“The idea is we needed to somehow serve our other students.”

Though the degree won’t appear in the catalog until the fall, knowledge of it has already spread. Response from students has been “tremendous,” Moorman said.

“Every couple of days, somebody comes in,” he said. “I actually had an e-mail yesterday from a student who said ‘can you tell me more about the bachelor of science degree?'”

Larson expects the number of communication majors to increase due to the new degree.

“We can recapture some of those [students] that may have went down the road,” he said. “I think that’s going to happen.

“Our numbers are probably going to be pretty big in the fall.”THIS QUOTE SAVED FOR SIDE ED

“If something terrible happens, we’ll have to find the money,” said vice chairwoman Jane Wyman.