Our New Curriculum

Nothing is harder for a faculty than revising a curriculum. Because self-identity gets wrapped up in what we teach, each faculty member tends to believe that what they teach is what is most important for students to learn.

As a result, many communication schools have a stagnant curriculum that hasn’t substantially changed in a decade or more. Elon is the opposite. We just went through our second substantive curriculum revision this decade.

We expanded our two majors to four this year to reflect the four broad purposes of communication in society: to inform (Journalism), to persuade (Strategic Communications), to entertain (Media Arts & Entertainment) and to discover (Communication Science).

Journalism informs us about the world we live in. Our substantive change was pulling all of journalism under one umbrella – print, broadcast and online. Previously, broadcast news had resided with broadcast production outside the Journalism major.

Strategic Communications uses public relations and advertising to connect organizations to their publics. We previously called this Corporate Communications, but the corporate world is just one of four possible settings for the practice of strategic communications – the others being nonprofit organizations, government and PR/advertising agencies.

The Media Arts & Entertainment major ranges from radio, television and cable to documentary production houses and the film industry in Hollywood. We thought carefully about placing “entertainment” in the name of a major, since it may not sound academic to some. But the reality is, many of our students go into entertainment-related careers today.

Communication Science is a new major, created fresh with new courses. Some students tell us they want to major in the School of Communications but don’t intend to go into any of the professional areas. Instead, they want to work in media research roles (think Nielsen ratings), focus on organizational development, or go straight to graduate school or law school. This is for them.

Our new curriculum also requires a public speaking course of future students, and we have greatly expanded our electives with courses in sports and media, environmental communications, audio recording, and media management and sales.

It’s a dynamic curriculum for the 21st century, and I’m proud that our faculty is staying on the cutting edge.

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One Comment on “Our New Curriculum”

  1. Colleen Callahan Says:

    This new curriculum sounds great. It really covers everything that Elon has been teaching us, but hadn’t been specifically written out. The expansion really considers all of our (students’) interests. The mandatory public speaking class is also a great expansion. Thanks to the faculty for pushing us forward!


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