Filling out an internship application for this summer, I had to put down two professors who were “familiar with my journalistic style.” Right away there was a problem. We have a single journalism professor here at UR – Jim Memmott – which, as was attested to previously, is a talented and likeable professor, but holds the lone post for any students interested in journalism classes.
Efforts have been made by UR, albeit weak ones, to increase the communication programs with the new Writing, Media and Communication major. However, this major covers a broad range of topics, with everything from film to debate included as classes you can take.
Our literature curriculum is strong, there is no complaint with that. Indeed, the Robbins Library filled entirely with Medieval literature on the fourth floor of Rush Rhees is proof of the wealth of material that exists for the interested English literature scholar.
However, UR itself may be stuck in the Medieval period when it comes to accommodating the student with any interest in the modern media.
Looking through the course schedules one finds a couple of marketing classes, a few journalism workshops, and a thousand biology, physics and math classes.
Believe it or not, there are English majors on campus and there are people interested in communication as a career. These students have as much right as anyone to have a choice of classes and pursue their interests.
Those not majoring in English or thinking about a career in the field might want to take courses as well, perhaps sparking a previously unknown curiosity.
Many in my journalism class when I took it were not necessarily interested in the field of journalism, or even English majors. College presents a perfect opportunity to explore and find your true calling, so to speak. If the opportunities are limited, students may not ever know what they are missing, and may be missing out now on what could potentially be a lifelong involvement.
UR boasts of having an open curriculum, and for students to pursue their true desires, in any area. The woeful lack of options in the communication arena seems to contradict this supposedly universal theme. Having no language or math requirement means nothing if we cannot take what we’re interested in, either.
We pride ourselves on being equal in quality to Ivy League schools, but even the surrounding SUNYs and, dare I say, Monroe Community College, have communication majors. Is something vital missing? Seems like it.
Linden can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.