RIT establishes School of Communication

Name change from ‘department’ to ‘school’ takes effect Oct. 1

A. Sue Weisler

RIT’s College of Liberal Arts

In a letter to the College of Liberal Arts faculty and staff at Rochester Institute of Technology, Dean James Winebrake announced that the Department of Communication will be named the School of Communication effective Oct. 1.

Winebrake stated: “The size and diversity of our communication program portfolio, including three undergraduate degrees, one graduate degree, one graduate certificate, four minors and three immersions, are commensurate with the name ‘school’ as evidenced by an independent external review conducted in 2009 that strongly endorsed the renaming proposal. The current decision to change the name from ‘department’ to ‘school’ was made after careful thought and much discussion dating back to 2011.”

The School of Communication will retain the organizational structure of the current communication department and will continue to offer the same degrees, graduate certificate, minors, immersions and general education electives, according to Winebrake. Patrick Scanlon, professor of communication and current department chairperson, will become the director of the School of Communication.

“Everyone—faculty, staff and students—is excited about the change,” said Scanlon. “Becoming a school presents a number of opportunities we’re eager to pursue.”

Currently, RIT’s Department of Communication is comprised of 18 full-time faculty, two staff assistants and two student workers. Undergraduate degree programs include advertising and public relations, communication and journalism. A graduate degree in communication and media technologies is offered, along with a graduate certificate in communication and digital media.

“I enthusiastically support this name change,” added Winebrake. “I believe the name change will allow our communication programs to remain competitive with other programs across the country, attracting high quality students and faculty, and forging working relationships with external partners and donors.”

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