Town hall fields questions, concerns

AddThis

Students aired concerns about curriculum changes and budget cuts in the College of Communication at a town hall meeting on Wednesday.

The Student Issues and Advisory Committee hosted the Third Annual Town Hall Meeting as part of College of Communication Week. About 100 students from within the college came with questions for deans and department chairs. The meeting has proven effective in raising awareness about students’ wants, said Eliana Ramirez, the chair of the advisory committee.

“We are the College of Communication, so good communication is pretty important to us,” Ramirez said.

Previous town halls led to improvements in parking, study abroad and course scheduling.

Topics of student questions ranged from study abroad opportunities to receiving credit for internships. The School of Journalism received particular attention concerning its recent changes in the curriculum, which will take effect in the fall of 2012.

“The aim of overhaul of curriculum is to open it up so students are funneled into one area,” said School of Journalism professor Wanda Cash. “They can take photo courses. They can take media courses. We think this will be a better reflection of the current industry.”

This interdisciplinary approach will maintain a focus on producing accurate and unbiased writing but with a digital twist, Cash said.
Budget concerns ranked high in student interest.

“With budget cuts being so big across the board, we are definitely interested in learning more about how exactly the college is going to be affected,” Ramirez said.

The cuts are real, but their effect is not known, said Mark Bernstein, associate dean of student affairs.

“It’s still too early to answer specifically,” Bernstein said. “There has to be some trade. Every effort is being made to protect our core services, but for now that’s all we can say.”

Projects already in motion, such as the recent hire of 10 new faculty members and the construction of the Belo Center for New Media, will not be affected. The Belo Center, which is set to open in 2012, also attracted a good deal of attention. The building will include new photo and print labs as well as offices.

“We’ve been crying about this for years, that we’re crammed,” he said. “Sometimes when I am giving a tour, I have to point out the storage cabinets in the hallway that the fire marshal hates, but there is no other place for them.”


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------