Moody College must introduce communication studies minor open to all undergrad students

Jennifer Beck

Moody College of Communication boasts seven communications-related majors, with one focused entirely on the concept of communication — communications studies, or CMS. Within this major exists three communication tracks including political, corporate and interpersonal. CMS students dabble in all three during their time in the major, but once students reach upper-division classes, they are able to hone their skills in whichever track they choose.

Students all over the Forty Acres can take advantage of this Moody program by pursuing a CMS minor, but Moody students can’t. Currently, all students majoring within the College of Communication are prohibited from taking on a CMS minor. To best prepare students for the careers they want, Moody College of Communication should introduce a communication studies minor, specifically one that focuses on corporate and interpersonal communication, for Moody students.

“(CMS students) are equipped with problem-solving skills, skills of being themselves (and being) articulate,” said Dr. Barry Brummett, chair of the Department of Communication Studies. “(The students also learn) skills of leadership that would come with an ability to articulate and put into communication different ideas that need to be expressed.”

Brummett said the corporate communication track, which is the most popular, includes courses in interpersonal communication, effective work groups, persuasion and adaptive communication.

The versatility of the communication studies program is why many students want to pursue it as a major or minor. Unfortunately, the college of communication’s prioritization of CMS majors and non-Moody minors guides their policy regarding who can and cannot take certain communication studies courses — courses that are mostly reserved for the major and minor programs.

Wendy Boggs, communication studies adviser, said that when the Moody minors were developed, the hour limit on communication classes was lower than the current limit, so prohibiting Moody students from minoring in CMS was a preventative measure to keep students from running into limit problems.

“We also wanted to make sure that within CMS, we were still going to be able to offer enough seats to accommodate not only all of our majors but anyone who was interested in the minor,” Boggs said.

I understand how this was reasonable at the time of the minor’s introduction, but now, as the media and communication landscape is changing rapidly, many Moody students want the skills necessary to adapt — skills one cultivates in the communication studies program.

“As a communications major, I really value the importance of communication in a professional setting,” advertising freshman Marissa Xiong said. “Especially in our digital age, it’s vital to understand how to accurately communicate something to audiences both inside and outside your business, so it’s a skill I’d appreciate gaining a level of mastery over.”

Brummett said, in addition to the growing focus on technology in courses, there is one course in development that completely focuses on “working virtually” or working with others when you do not see them in person.

Double majoring in CMS would offer Moody students the opportunity to enhance the skills they’re developing in their respective majors. However, many Moody students, like Xiong and myself, would prefer to minor, as working a double major into your schedule can be challenging.

Boggs said that under the 2018-2020 catalogue the CMS minor requires 18 hours of communications coursework, while the major requires 36. 

Moody students wanting to pursue CMS can register for CMS courses without officially declaring a major or minor. However, declaring a CMS minor instead of simply taking those courses allows students to build their resumes and improve their potential employability. There is a difference between learning those skills in a course and demonstrating on paper that you’ve successfully learned those skills.

As a radio-television-film student who wants to work in the TV or film industry as either a producer or media executive, graduating with a minor in communication would carry weight on my resume. 

By creating a CMS minor specifically intended for its students, Moody could further student success beyond the Forty Acres.

Beck is a radio-television-film freshman from Park Ridge, Illinois.