Message from Helen Sterk, Department Head

Mark July 1, 2017 on your calendars! On that day, the Advertising, Public Relations majors and Popular Culture majors will merge with Communication.

Dean Larry Snyder announced the merger in November. At simultaneous meetings, Dean Snyder w,ith Advertising and Public Relations faculty members, and Associate Dean McMichael, with Communication faculty members, proposed the new union. Dean Snyder recognized the affinities these areas share with one another and made the decision to unite them under Communication.  Since November, the decision was made to add Popular Culture to the mix, as well.

helen sterk
Dr. Helen Sterk

All the majors promote learning how speakers, messages and audiences combine to make meaning. Communication provides the foundation for understanding and critically thinking about the sources of meaning and Popular Culture highlights criticism of mediated texts. Public Relations and Advertising bring hands-on development of messages tailored to specific audiences. A curriculum committee, led by Dr. Angie Jerome and made up of a blend of faculty members from all three areas, will create a flexible, dynamic structure of majors and certificates that will allow students to learn across programs.

A key part of the new set of programs will be the study and creation of digital communication messages and campaigns. Look for the hiring of a new professor soon!

The planned timeline for merging runs over the next year and a half. By the end of the spring semester, a new set of curricula for Communication, Advertising, and Public Relations programs will be proposed and voted on.  Popular Culture will remain structured as it is. During the 2017-18 academic year, those proposals will make their way through the WKU curriculum approval committees. In 2018-19, the new curricula will be available for students.

Current students in Communication, Advertising and Public Relations may choose to complete their programs under the catalog year in which they began or to switch to the new curricula. No matter when you start, as a student, you choose how you will finish.

Stay tuned for further news on the merger as it becomes public. Meanwhile, this is a cause for celebration!





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