Jul 18, 2019  
2018-2020 Undergraduate Catalog 
2018-2020 Undergraduate Catalog


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222 Eisenberg Building

Communication Department

The fundamental mission of the Communication Department of Slippery Rock University is to provide high-quality undergraduate academic instruction, preparing its undergraduate majors to pursue careers as professional communicators in the areas of Journalism, Multimedia, and Public Relations; or to pursue careers in academia by preparing students for graduate study.

The Communication Department emphasizes “hands-on” project-based learning. We seek to provide the experiences and opportunities required for students to develop intellectually and socially, and to demonstrate professional skills, attitudes, confidence and self-reliance. We seek to promote this development in an open, nurturing, and friendly environment. We believe that our effectiveness in fulfilling this mission will be best measured by the collective excellence of our graduates, and by the successes they demonstrate professionally and in serving their communities.

Amy Walters

Marilyn Garczynski

Brett Barnett, Mark Chase, Thomas Flynn, Jennifer Foster, Joseph Harry, James Laux, Christine Pease-Hernandez, Li Pu, Katrina Quinn, Valerie Swarts, Amy Walters, Mark Zeltner

The Communication Department offers a Bachelor of Science Degree in three tracks: Emerging Technology, Journalism, and Public Relations; as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. The students in each major complete a common core of courses that provide a solid foundation within the discipline, including visual aesthetics, research and analysis, communication law and ethics, and professional and career skills.  Our degree programs are integrated, providing each major with a communication curriculum that combines an immersion in communication principles, development of speaking, writing and design skills, with practical professional application, ensuring that our students have a holistic experience, melding academic and professional communication.  The capstone course for communication majors is Senior Seminar, which is one credit-hour, provides a deeper understanding of professional expectations, and hones students’ career skills as they transition into the working world. 


Our Digital Media Production program is recently updated to address the professional needs of the quickly evolving digital technology fields.  Working with members of the Department’s Advisory Board, composed of active professionals in publications, multimedia production, web design and web analytics, the program curriculum reflects industry expectations for entry-level professionals in graphic design and media production in a digital age.

The Journalism program has evolved as well, providing students not only with traditional journalistic training, but providing more emphasis in a converged New Media Journalism. Our program melds standard print journalism skills with the use of social media and digital video technology, as well as presentation formats (e.g., blogs) to allow student journalists to integrate a range of skills. The program offers Print and Broadcast emphases. 

The BS in Communication-Public Relations program reflects the preparation expectations ges of the public relations profession.  Based on surveys of employers and internship directors, the advice of our Advisory Board, assessment, and industry data, the curriculum was developed to enhance students’ abilities to develop technology-based skills, in addition to core competencies such as research and writing.  Not only will the changes allow students to better address new developments in the professional field, and to provide them new areas of specialization.

Maintaining the tradition of study of communication as a liberal art, and recognizing the often-blurred boundaries among communication specialties, we continue to offer an integrated Bachelor of Arts degree. Because communication underlies all human pursuits, we seek to prepare students with the ethical standards necessary to preserve the ideals of democratic free expression. We also seek to develop their abilities to produce, distribute, analyze and critically consume communication. The Bachelor of Arts program is organized so that a student, working with their advisor, can develop a program of study that best suits their interests. The degree requirements are flexible, allowing transfer students and those who change majors later in their college careers to complete a Communication degree within a four-year time period. 

The department has a vibrant and aggressive internship program available to qualified students.  Internships are required for all students in the three Bachelor of Science programs are an elective option in the Bachelor of Science degree. Our majors have taken internships in advertising, public relations, emerging technology and multimedia, radio and television broadcasting, advocacy and non-profit organizations, social service agencies, newspapers, and magazines. Students have done internships throughout the United States and abroad.

Students who have completed 15-18 hours of communication courses, and have maintained an overall QPA of 2.0, with a 2.5 in the major, are qualified to undertake an internship. Internships are available for the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters.  The number of credit-hours for any given internship is optional, and depends on the number of weeks or hours a student commits to the on-site experience.  Three credit-hours are applicable toward the communication major, with any credit hours in excess designated for free elective credits, still counting toward the 120 credit-hour requirement for graduation.

There are five professionally-oriented student organizations that communication majors are encouraged to participate in; WRSK Radio, Lambda Pi Eta Honorary,  Public Relations Student Society of America, The Rocket newspaper, and WSRU-TV.  Members of these groups engage in service and professional activities, as well as events and functions of a more social nature. These groups attend professional conferences, take field trips, perform service activities, participate in student focus groups, and provide student representation for a host of important department, college and university committees.

Our new all-digital television studio recently opened in Maltby Center, and includes an expanded studio and control room, a 24- seat classroom, an editing lab and a separate office. The studio is equipped with all new digital television production technology in the near future. We also possess a full mobile studio production package for live remote broadcasts.

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