The faculty of the PCOM (Professional Communication) MA program at East Tennessee State University spent the better part of the last two and a half years considering how we can best serve our students and our region. After a lot of brainstorming, and meetings, and more meetings, and conflicts (the good kind, where passionate people who care are and invested solve things) we’ve hammered out the new program. I won’t get into all the details here, but provide some information.
Our PCOM program is the creation of two departments: The Department of Communication and Performance, and The Department of Mass Communication. Each department has numerous programs, including, Communication Studies (where I work), Storytelling, Theatre, Journalism, Advertising/Public Relations, and RTVF (Radio-TV-Film). We used to be one large undergraduate department, but as you can imagine it was an octopus, so we became two departments. That change, however, hasn’t affected our working relationship for the PCOM program. In fact, it strengthened it.
We made some decisions to become more focused on the “Professional” in Professional Communication. We changed courses around. We split some X7 courses (that had both undergrads and grad students in them) into separate courses. We redesigned the curriculum. We dropped some courses, and we added new courses. We experimented with courses during the summer as test runs. All of this led to an amazing new program.
Now, everyone coming into the ETSU program has to take three core courses: Foundations, Theory, and Ethics. From there we offer three different concentrations: Communication Studies, Strategic Communication, Storytelling & Theatre. I won’t bore you with all the details.
However, the way I see it, these three concentrations do not stand alone. For example, one of the reasons I created the Organizational Communication & Consulting Class was to connect it with Digital Strategic Communication course. I believe that students should be able to analyze and study communication to both internal and external publics in effective and productive ways.
So while on “the books” there are different concentrations, in my head there are fluid connections between them all. (That's what electives are for, right?) And in this era where you have to be communicatively competent and have cognitive complexity – and able to do social media, write press releases, do organizational consulting, and tell stories to make sales and motivate employees – our MA program is top notch.
So I want to thank my colleagues and peers. I am really looking forward to working together on the new PCOM program starting in the fall. It's going to be grand.
Oh. I am always looking for Graduate Assistants too. Free tuition!
You can apply here.
(And yes. Website updates are coming!)