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Majoring in How People Connect

August 6, 2012

“I’m majoring in Communication Studies because I want to go into journalism,” says a BMCC student in a short video about the college’s newest academic offering.

“I’m majoring in Communication Studies because I want to go into public relations,” says another student.

“I might want to go into corporate training, counseling or teaching,” a third student says.

Her point: communication lies at the heart of every area of human activity.  The acquisition of strong communication skills—not just the ability to convey  messages, but to listen, write, speak and think critically—“will give me a great foundation for all these fields and more,” she adds. 

A program that opens many doors

Students who major in Communication Studies “go on to jobs in sales and marketing, event planning, journalism, advertising, law, media planning and corporate communications,” says Kerry Ruff, a Professor in BMCC’s Speech, Communications and Theater Arts Department.  “It’s an incredibly diverse and relevant field.”

Just under five minutes in length, the video offers a high-level view of the Communication Studies curriculum—its focus, content, objective and underlying philosophy.  

Collectively, the courses in the program seek to “look at how people exchange messages and with what effect,” says Sandra Poster, a Professor in the Speech, Communications and Theater Arts Department and Director of the Communications Studies program.  

“We explore how people communicate face-to-face, in small groups and to vast audiences worldwide.  We explore how technology influences communication—and how we influence each other.”

As the video emphasizes, the broad sweep of the curriculum takes in the human as well as technical dimensions of communication.  In Professor Hollis Glaser’s course in small-group communications, for example, students learn “how small groups of people, such as committees, teams, families and friendships, work together to make decisions.” Professor Ben Powell’s course in conflict resolution “teaches you how to solve problems through collaboration and compromise.”

An intellectual buffet

Students who take Introduction to Contemporary Media Applications can choose to go back in time to the origins of film, or focus on present-day social media, teleconferencing and the Internet.  

“Think of the course as a kind of huge salad bar of media from which you can pick and choose what most interests to you,” says Professor Judy Noble.

A course in intercultural communications examines “how styles and values in communication vary across communities and cultures,” according to Professor Eva Kolbusz.  And Professor Naida Zukic’s course in mass media “studies the cultural economic and political factors shaping our media system.”

Available as a major for the first time this fall, the Communications Studies program is transferable to other CUNY schools as well as many other private and public senior colleges.  “The possibilities,” says Professor Susan Schick, “are endless.”

NOTE: For more information on BMCC's new Communication Studies program, call 212-220-8090, or visit the Speech Department on BMCC’s main campus, 199 Chambers Street, Room N665. 

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  • Focus is on communication in a multicultural, multi-media, interpersonal and technological context
  • Program is transferable to other CUNY schools as well as many other colleges and universities
  • Prepares students for careers in a broad array of professions

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