The Huffington Post (Jason Schmitt) recently published an article on the growth of Communication Studies Majors in undergraduate institutions. Two excerpts of that article that stood out to me:
“As an academic discipline, Communication Studies is posting strong growth in relation to undergraduate majors, undergraduate degrees awarded, student popularity, and number of institutions offering the degree according to a newly released American Academy of Arts & Sciences assessment.”
“In many ways Communication Studies is the right offering at the right time. The discipline is extremely well positioned as the digital economy, social networking and the move toward media creation rises to prominence. Concepts that may have been more abstract for students fifteen years ago such as relationship networks, group communication, and media theory are becoming vitally relevant knowledge that a wide ranging student body want to obtain.”
It would be low-hanging fruit to say that the discipline of communication is at a crucial point in potential development although…it is. We live in a rapidly advancing relationship-based society. Twitter, Facebook (Bookface for those “The Office” lovers), Google +, etc. etc. etc. etc. have been integral in the development of a true social network. It would make sense that Communication (the ultimate ‘relationship-major’) degrees would increase in popularity. We should also note that there is an increasingly relevant digital-media infrastructure present in corporations across the world. The storm is perfectly suited for communication majors who specialize in, among other sub-disciplines: Interpersonal, Organizational, Health, Instructional, Mass Media, areas of focus. In any advising meeting I have ever had with a student, even if they do not want to major in Communication, I encourage them to at least review the Communication minor as a potential fit for a secondary area of focus. Communication skills, the epitome of broad strokes qualifications, are consistently included in job descriptions and desired employee characteristics. Communication Majors have a place in a globalized 21st century workforce. The Communication discipline should continue to refine expectations, enhance an applied scholarly agenda, and “sell” a Communication degree as an integral and necessary fabric of an organizational structure.
One final statement from the Huff Post:
“It is clear that Communication Studies has more students and fewer faculty positions than many of its humanities peers, many of whom are experiencing significant decline. As universities and colleges retool to best meet the future and create the most informed and relevant future citizens, it seems that Communication Studies is destined to be high on the evolving educational roster.”