The Daily Gamecock

Journalism school to reset curriculum

Course requirement changes willl make program more unified, says director


The School of Journalism and Mass Communications is rewriting its curriculum in order to give students a better chance of graduating on time and a more flexible, integrated education.

Although not finalized, the school wants to cut the general education hours, stretch the number of electives students can take and blend the core courses among majors.

The current curriculum mandates that students need 126 hours to graduate. But the proposed reforms will enable students to get their degrees with 122 hours, according to journalism school director and professor Carol Pardun..

As of today, broadcast and print journalism students must complete 84 general education hours and 42 journalism hours, while advertisement, public relations and visual communication students must complete 90 general education hours and 36 journalism hours.

The five majors will be standardized to reach 80 general education hours and 42 journalism hours, Pardun said.

“That will have a big impact on you all as well because you have a better shot of graduating in four years, in eight semesters, this way,” Pardun said.

Flexibility comes into play as all journalism students would be able to take three electives. Even though advertisement, public relations and visual communications students can already take three, journalism students are limited to one.

“There are so many areas that you can think, about and the way the curriculum is right now, there just isn’t room,” Pardun said. “You’d say, ‘I’d like that to take that class, but I can’t because I don’t have enough room in the curriculum,’” she said.“We want to open up the curriculum so students can say, ‘Oh, that class looks interesting,’ [and take it].”

The proposed curriculum opens up to students while crafting a uniformed structure for all majors.

All five majors will have the introductory course JOUR 201 as a core course. The current JOUR 201 course is a core class only for the journalism students. It is listed as a general education course for the others.

The writing course JOUR 202 and the media law course JOUR 303 will be also included as core courses. Each of these classes will be modified for uniformity, according to Van Kornegay, associate professor and head of the visual communications sequence.

He added that JOUR 303, which currently had both a journalism variation and a commercial variation, has been boiled down to one version.

“Ethics is one of our larger learning outcomes for the whole journalism school,” Kornegay said. “That, along with diversity, technology, research — those are all things we’re trying to weave into the curriculum.”

The curriculum proposal has not been passed yet. Kornegay said the journalism school is still negotiating with the Office of the Provost and may have to go through the Commission of Higher Education (CHE), which examines major changes and additions to school curriculums. If the proposal goes to the CHE, then it would go into effect no earlier than Fall 2013.

However, if the proposal only goes to the Faculty Senate, it could be implemented as early as Fall 2012.

Whenever the proposal can be passed, Kornegay said the new curriculum will prepare all students for the changing media industry.

“The curriculum change is a responsive and visionary change,” he said.