Communication becomes gated major to increase degree distinction

By TABITHA HODGE

As of August 2014, the communication major at Kennesaw State University is now a gated program.

This achievement has increased the value of a communication degree from Kennesaw State University, as well has given a competitive edge to graduates in their chosen careers. This was a necessary change that encourages students to do their best, while acting as an enrollment management program.

With there being 1,800 communication students and counting, it only made sense to gate the program to ensure the department is fulfilling its mission.

The mission is to prepare “its graduates to be effective, life-long communicators, pro-active leaders, and scholarly practitioners who create, design, deliver, and interpret the meaning of messages in interpersonal, organizational, and societal contexts. Our graduates will be prepared to actively contribute to the continuously evolving local and global communities while adapting to the constantly changing technological environment.”

Barbara Gainey, the department chair, said no one person can affect the change they wanted to see in the program, so together, the entire faculty discussed and voted on what the GPA requirement would be, which classes would be considered an “Area F course” and which are the lower division classes students have to pass before applying to the program.

The faculty also discussed some students’ hatred to write, while discussing the most failed class, Writing for Public Communication. This discussion led them to require all interested students to take a writing test before declaring communication as their major. After that was determined, the faculty received permission to implement the gate, and did just that.

Now in order to declare communication as a major, an interested student must declare communication as their interest, pass all six Area F classes in two or fewer attempts, have a GPA of 2.5 or higher, pass the required writing test, submit an application, pay application fees and if accepted, declare it as their official major.

“This process is explained during orientation, so serious students can take the necessary steps sooner and weed out anyone who is not serious,” said Dr. Erin Ryan, the assistant chair of the department. “This way, we know we are admitting the best of the best, and graduating the best of the best.”

The gate does not only affect potential students, but alum and graduating students as well. Everyone with a degree in communication, or expecting to graduate with one in the near future, now has a more valuable degree because the program is more distinct. This makes graduates more competitive in their chosen fields. For potential communication majors, the gate forces them to hold themselves to a higher standard, sooner.

This will not be the last improvement the communication department will make. Gainey and Ryan aspire to raise the GPA requirement, just like the Coles College of Business program did, but this will take at least a year to go into effect.

Another improvement they plan on implementing is transferring the department into a school. To do so, they have to go through the dean, the provost and then the president.

This is merely just the first of many achievements that will be made by Kennesaw’s communication department.

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