Rowan University’s College of Communication and Creative Arts is in the process of introducing a new degree. The Whit sat down with Dean Sanford Tweedie for more information on the new degree. The interview has been edited for time and clarity.
So what exactly is the new degree, and what is the relative timetable for its start?
It’s a degree in sports communication and media. It’s going through all the state and university curriculum processes, so [it’s still] basically unofficial in the sense that we can’t advertise it yet. We have conceptual approval from the Board of Trustees subcommittee that does this, we were just approved by the Senate curriculum committee, now it has to go to the state level. We’re looking hopefully at a Sept. 1 official launch. In the meantime, we’re doing everything we need to do to get it up and ready, including some hires [of new professors].
What is the general feeling about this in the college?
We’re all very excited about this because we see it as an area of need within the college where students have this interest. But also [as] an opportunity to possibly bring in students who wouldn’t come here otherwise. So it’s a cross-disciplinary major.
With the potential start of a new major on the horizon, there must be some hires happening. Where does that currently stand?
We’re hiring at least two positions, one in communication studies full time, and we’ve actually made that hire. He’s actually going to work for the NCAA for a year so that one is delayed and he will be here next year. We’re working on the journalism hire and we met with the second of three candidates today. Now that we’re moving from 3/4-timers to lecturers, Radio, TV and Film also would like a lecturer for sports production. We’ve already got many people on staff. We’re already teaching sports and involved in the industry, so we already have a strong background in this area. Now just adding two, possibly three more people will get us up and running really quickly.
This degree could possibly be here as soon as September. What do you see happening in the future with the college?
We’re in a unique situation here, in that we see ourselves as a storytelling college. Whether that means that we are actually telling the stories like you do when you write a newspaper account, or whether someone is writing a piece of fiction or creating a movie. If we’re not telling the stories, we’re helping people tell the stories. So we are the ones who are behind the camera or we are writing the press release for some company. Media is undergoing tremendous change right now, so we need to be at the forefront of that, right? We do that in important ways, now we need to figure out other opportunities for how to best meet the needs of society. So how can we modify [and] expand in ways that meet both the industry needs and the student needs moving forward? And it’s exciting to be able to do it.
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