URI has formed a School of Communication, uniting a unique combination of programs within the College of Arts and Sciences: Department of Communication Studies, Department of Journalism, Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, the Program in Film Media, and the College Writing Program. The goal is to create national distinction, attract investment, enroll and retain gifted students, help recruit and retain talented faculty, and enhance the visibility and quality of the school’s programs.
“The whole will be greater than the sum of its parts,” said Winifred Brownell, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “The school will allow us to offer students an expanding number of opportunities, preparing them for future workforce needs and enhancing the value of the degrees they earn,” says the dean. “The school will unite faculty and disciplinary strengths in the study of communication and new technologies that transform the rapidly changing ways we receive, process, mediate, archive, and transmit information.”
For now, the units will remain in their current locations until a new or newly renovated building can be provided. A national search will be conducted for a director.
“A School of Communication provides URI with a platform to become distinctive and recruit top educators and students to build a niche in the marketplace,” says Robert Beagle, vice president for University Advancement, citing the Annenberg Schools for Communication and Syracuse University as examples.
“URI is bringing together print and broadcast journalism, film, public relations, writing, and communications in new and exciting ways. The cross pollination of disciplines, coupled with the University’s entrepreneurial spirit, will bring innovation and recognition,” adds Beagle, whose division is responsible for marketing and communication.
The school will enhance areas where there is already strong student demand. URI anticipates that the school will generate the University’s largest number of students. Currently there are about 1,200 undergraduate and about 300 graduate students majoring in the programs.