Wittenberg Departments Of Communication And English Introduce Journalism Minor With Colloquium

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio – The end of the 2005-2006 school year signaled a new beginning for Wittenberg students interested in pursuing writing careers with the creation of a journalism minor.

To welcome the new minor to Wittenberg’s diverse group of disciplines, Richard Campbell, director of the journalism program at Miami University, presented a lecture titled “Why Media Literacy and Journalism Education are Central to Liberal Arts” on Wednesday, Sept. 13, before a large crowd in Bayley Auditorium, Barbara Deer Kuss Science Center. It was the first journalism colloquium in Wittenberg history.

Wittenberg ’s curriculum changes regularly with the needs of its students. With the progression and growth of popular culture studies, Wittenberg faculty and staff are continuously at the drawing boards trying to enhance the liberal arts education, with the result in this case being the creation of the journalism minor.

A writing minor established about 10 years ago served Wittenberg students well, but the course variety didn’t offer specificity where it was needed. Students took writing courses in such topic areas as journalism, business writing and creative writing. D’Arcy Fallon, assistant professor of English, Michael McClelland, associate professor of English, Robin Inboden, professor of English and department chair, and Matthew J. Smith, associate professor of communication, all played active roles in the implementation of the minor.

“Dr. McClelland and Prof. Fallon spearheaded the proposal, and Dr. Inboden championed it,” Smith said. “My role was to consult, to offer communication courses to the mix, and to coordinate the kick-off colloquium.”

English and communication faculty members integrated courses from both departments to create the minor’s core content. Twelve out of the minor’s 20 semester hours needed for graduation are comprised of an introductory journalism course, advanced news or feature writing, and Media Literacy, a communication course that is taught using Campbell’s book, Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication.

The additional eight semester hours will give students the option of taking opinion journalism, media law, introduction to photography or an internship with the Wittenberg Torch, the university’s student-run newspaper.

“It has been somewhat of a struggle to get pop culture courses and journalism courses at universities,” Campbell said. He added that this could stem from academic departments being very “defined and traditional.”

“For years communication majors have taken the old two-course journalism sequence wanting the courses to augment their educational experience,” Smith said. “The minor not only lets them apply a label to that work, but it also opens up the possibility of additional coursework and internship experience.

“This is definitely a boon to all sorts of students at Wittenberg, not just communication and English majors who may be the primary, but not exclusive, majors that the minor serves.”

About a dozen students have already declared journalism as a minor, with interest levels growing everyday.

“We are now providing a definite structure to enhance the education of students interested in news reporting,” Smith said. “It emphasizes writing and encourages students to explore the profession even while still a student.”

Written By: Erica Strauss '08

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