Talk of possibly discontinuing the School of Journalism and Mass Communication has thrown many pre-journalism majors and prospective students in a panic.
A committee has begun the process of reviewing the future of the SJMC. If a transformation in the program is made, it will merge the traditional journalism already being taught with new, cutting-edge digital media education, said SJMC Dean Paul Voakes.
Voakes said he believes the changes will be positive ones.
“[The changes] are an opportunity to get better and more attuned to digital media and culture that exists today,” Voakes said. “We’re building toward the structure of a new academic entity.”
Although the adjustments bring new opportunities, they can also change the plans of current pre-journalism majors.
Lauren Newman, an 18-year-old freshman pre-journalism major, said the program transformations came as a surprise.
“This affects my plans for the future because I am not really interested in the technology side [of journalism],” Newman said. “I came to [CU] because of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s reputation. Now that it is being changed, possibly shut down, my plans are being changed slightly.”
However, other students said they expected the program to transition eventually and said they are embracing the changes.
Jessica Ryan, a 19-year-old sophomore media studies major, said she wishes the switch happened earlier so she could be a part of the new program.
“I think it will be a great change for the school and could potentially make CU a forerunner in the area of media education,” Ryan said.
The most common concern among current journalism students already accepted into the SJMC is the future value of their degree, Voakes said.
Voakes said that students should not worry and that their degrees will not hold less merit in the work force.
“We’re a really good journalism school, easily top 25 in the country,” Voakes said.
Ryan said she believes the way the media has portrayed the SJMC changes is full of inaccuracies.
“I think the way it has been covered has caused a lot of students to panic, which to me is really unfair,” Ryan said.
Public forums for faculty and staff to discuss the transition occurred on Monday and Tuesday. Students will be able to voice their input next Tuesday and Wednesday in UMC Room 235.
Any and all opinions may also be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, where they will go to the committees which will determine the future of the journalism school.
According to the SJMC website, the school will be accepting applications for Spring and Fall 2011 at the undergraduate, graduate and PhD levels. If it is decided that the SJMC is to be discontinued, it will remain in full operation until at least May 2013 to allow its current students to graduate. The decision is set to be made by mid-February.
“This is an opportunity to go from good to great,” Voakes said.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Ashley Ward at Ashley.email@example.com.