Beginning with the Spring 2015 semester, the Department of Communication Studies has a new home at Texas Tech University.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held today (Jan. 12) at Jones AT&T Stadium marking the department's move from the College of Arts and Sciences to the College of Media & Communication. The move became official as of Jan. 1.
David Perlmutter, dean of the College of Media & Communication, said the move will benefit students by combining efforts and focus in communication in all areas of teaching and research.
“I think it will be better for teaching, for securing research grants and for the vision for the future to have all the scholars, practitioners and educators together in one building but with a joint focus that will help us meet that future with a clear vision,” Perlmutter said. “In our workplace, students need to have the whole repertoire of oral, visual and written communication skills.”
The Department of Communication Studies now joins the departments of Advertising, Journalism & Electronic Media and Public Relations as the degrees offered within the College of Media & Communication. Provost and senior vice president Lawrence Schovanec echoed the sentiments of many in Media & Communication that it will help increase the college's diversity, inclusiveness and expansiveness.
“Communication studies is one of the original departments at Texas Tech and it is rooted in arts and sciences and the liberal arts,” Schovanec said. “But I think the leadership here has been wonderful and it will be for the better. Graduate students now are in a college where they will have access to a doctoral program. (Students) will have the benefit of faculty with a much broader range of research and scholarly expertise.”
Perlmutter said the decision to move the Department of Communication Studies has been about three or four years in the making, since a committee began studying the move. He did indicate having communication studies be part of a communications college is a trend, citing Texas State, the University of Texas and UT-Arlington.
As part of the move, adjustments in curriculum are also being made, most notably that a course in interpersonal communication will now be a required class for all Media & Communication students.
The move to Media & Communication also means eight faculty and two staff members will become part of the department, though they are already housed on the 10th floor of the Media & Communication building.
Associate professor Narissra Punyanunt-Carter serves as the department's interim chair, and Perlmutter said a national search is currently underway for a full-time chair for the department, which he hopes to have in place by this summer or the beginning of the Fall 2015 semester. He also said plans are to add three to four professors, including at least two assistant professors.
“The reality today is that students graduating into the workforce are facing changes that occur very rapidly,” Perlmutter said. “They have to be versatile and adaptive. The greater the menu ideas and theories they are exposed to, the more prepared they will be for the work environment of the future. As far as research, this will allow for much easier collaboration. We already see a lot of joint research in health communications, grant proposals and community engagement. This is a win-win for all students and for Texas Tech.”