School of Public Communication is dissolved

After about two years of being called the School of Public Communication, the Sam Houston State University Board of Regents has decided to dissolve the school and create two new departments.The School of Public Communication was dissolved on Monday to create the departments of speech communication and mass communication with the objective to meet national accreditation standards.The change is a reorganization of the program and will not effect students’ graduation deadlines or degree plans, said Dr. Don Ragsdale, chair of the department of speech communication.SHSU officials decided to reorganize the program after an outside team of reviewers endorsed the plan last fall. The team suggested the department was considerably large and diverse and could benefit from two departments.”It was not just their suggestion,” said Ragsdale. “We voted on it inside the school and found an overwhelming sentiment to divide the school into two departments.”Ragsdale will continue to reside as the chair of the department of speech communication. However, a national search for a chair of the department of mass communication is expected to begin this month.”We expect a chair to be hired and to take up his or her duties next fall,” said Ragsdale. The change in the school is expected to provide new faculty members with PhDs, courses, degrees and improve class size.Other SHSU professors also agree the change will benefit the school.”I think the speech communication department has grown big enough for their own department,” said photography professor Dr. Tom Seifert. “The department is compatible enough to sustain the change, and I think it is a good idea.”However students such as Mike Amabile, a graduating senior advertising major, says he does not care what the school is called as long as he graduates as scheduled with the same degree plan.”It may seem like a name change, but it is a separation of the school into two new units,” said Ragsdale. “I don’t think there will be any negative effects. I think it will greatly enhance and accreditate the communication departments.”

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