After requests from students and faculty, a new minor is being introduced in the communication department.
Communication has not had a minor in years, and once the final phases of governance are complete, it will now offer this six-course program.
“We are a department that has not had a minor in any recent past, and we really wanted to offer a minor," said Marlene Preston, Assistant Department Head for Communication. "We worked really hard to try to find the right combination of courses where we would have capacity."
The new minor option is planned to open in Spring 2013, and will cover a wide spectrum of communication studies, media studies, public relations and public speaking. All majors, besides previously declared communication majors, are open to declare the minor.
“We spent a lot of time coming up with a minor that would give students a broad sense of the department and have experience with all of those areas,” Preston said. “We also wanted to be sure that we're offering some skill building in oral communication.”
There will be many options within the minor, including a study abroad program in Switzerland or a set of online classes.
“Communication is a neat discipline that compliments almost every other major well," Preston said. "Employers are all saying they want students who want good oral communication skills, and this will give that to students. There is a lot of attention to writing on campus, and not much to oral communication."
The core classes of the communication department, including commskills, public speaking and the Comm Lab in the library, are some of the classes that will now be more readily available to students in other departments who choose to minor.
This is why Tech Communications was recently declared a 2012 Program of Excellence at the National Communication Association Conference. According to the department, this means that it is recognized as a program that can serve as a good practice model for other programs across the country.
“It’s exciting because it really acknowledged the fact that our classes are innovative and interesting and successful,” Preston said.
After submitting a 15-20 page proposal to the NCA, Preston attended the conference in Orlando to be presented with the award. The Virginia Tech Communication Department was ranked above other competitive schools such as Purdue.
“We feel like we’re in a position now where we can offer a quality minor,” Preston said. “I think the students know that a communication minor is attractive to employers. They recognize that it's relevant and they know that no matter what they’re studying, communications is going to enable them to do that major with added expertise.”