School of Media Arts introduces new Communication & Media Innovation Department


Journalism Department

By Campus Editor

The Journalism, Advertising and Public Relations departments now have a final department name as the Communication & Media Innovation Department following months of planning how to effectively combine the three programs, according to a Dec. 19 emailed announcement from Robin Bargar, dean of the School of Media Arts. 

Plans to merge the three departments were initially announced in February 2014, when the Marketing Communication Department was broken up into the Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations programs. Marketing became a concentration of the Arts, Entertainment & Media Management Department and Advertising and Public Relations merged with the Journalism Department, as reported by The Chronicle on Feb. 17.

“Every department in the School of Media Arts is innovating in media, and in this case the innovation has to deal with the other part of the name: communication and media,” Bargar said. “Innovation related to communication and media—that’s really what the department name means.” 

The name for the new department was decided through a collaborative process involving full-time and adjunct faculty members of Journalism, Advertising and Public Relations, according to Bargar.

The name for the department will not impact students’ expected graduation dates, but will offer opportunities for collaboration among the students within the journalism, advertising and public relations programs, Bargar said.

While the goals of journalism, advertising and public relations vary, all three require similar skillsets that are learned through their individual programs, Bargar said.

“In many ways the journalism mission is sometimes very different from the advertising and public relations mission, but the way they communicate [and] the kinds of things they do to communicate is very much the same,” Bargar said.

According to Bargar, there are currently no plans to relocate the Journalism Department into 624 S. Michigan Ave.—the building that houses the Advertising and Public Relations Departments—or to move the Advertising and Public Relations Departments into 33 E. Congress Parkway—the building that houses the Journalism Department, but moving the departments into the same building has been a topic of discussion. 

According to Bargar, the search for the new Communication & Media Innovation Department chair began during the Fall 2014 semester with the formation of the search committee for the new chair position which consists of full-time and adjunct faculty, co-chaired by Sharon Bloyd-Peshkin, an associate professor in the Journalism Department, and Anne Mitchell, an assistant professor in the Advertising + Public Relations Department. The committee has created a description of the new chair position and will begin advertising the new position throughout the next month, hoping to find a final candidate to begin the Fall 2015 Semester, Bargar said.