Communications dept. makes changes

Starting in the Fall 2008 semester, the Mass Communications department in the College of Professional Studies will see some changes in the way courses are laid out for students.

Those who are interested can join new programs that St. John’s will offer in Digital Photography, Public Relations and Advertising Communications.

There is also a Master’s program for International Communications that is pending approval by the University and New York State.

Danny Kost, a junior, cannot wait to take the new courses that will be available.

“Personally, I find it exciting since you don’t hear a lot of other colleges offering something like that,” he said. “I think it’s good step in the next direction.”
Another change taking place is the way classes are labeled.

For instance, Advertising Communications will have to adjust to the new course lettering, which is ADV. Television and Film will now be known as TVF and Public Relations will be PRL. General Communication Arts and Journalism courses will not be affected, however.

Antoinette Durso, a communications professor at St. John’s, said that the conversion of the courses is a good thing and that the department is showing that they are concerned for the programs as well as the students who are taking them.

“I’ve been at SJU for over 27 years and I’m going to miss the old CAS course listing, but we’ll shed no tears,” she said.

“It’s time to look forward and hopefully this change will not only help students prepare their courses in a more logical pattern but also help advisors recommend appropriate courses.”

For the past year, department officials have been trying to figure out a way to distinguish the areas of concentration and the intensity of the courses.

Not only will there be changes to the abbreviations, but the course numbers will affect how students will pick classes.

Dr. Judith Cramer, director of the Mass Communication Program at the Queens campus, is certain that the restructuring will benefit both current and incoming students.
“The changes in major prefixes and course numbering bring organization to curricula in a division that has grown by leaps and bounds over a short period of time,” she said.

“While the changes may be inconvenient and somewhat difficult to manage at first, in the long run the process of advisement and registration will be much more student, advisor and faculty friendly.”

The new system involves four levels that go from 1000 to 4000.

Introduction courses will be open to the whole University.

In the 2000’s, students need one prerequisite; for the 3000 series, students will be required to have two and the highest set of classes; 4000 and even beyond are advanced courses in the department. Even the Introduction to Mass Communications class has been switched from COM 1101 to MCC 1000.

Communications Arts is the oldest Bachelor’s degree program in the College of Professional Studies. There has been an increase in the number of students enrolled in the program over the last 35 years.
A Journalism program was introduced in the 1980’s and Television and Film studies followed in the ’90s.

There are currently more than 900 students from both Queens and Staten Island campuses who are registered in the program.

Dante Lopez, a student who majors in Communications, welcomes the change because it makes it less complicated to register for classes.

“It’s easier to understand,” he said.