Big changes in the media industries mean a new name for what used to the Department of Communication & Media Studies at Simpson.
The college’s Multimedia Journalism and Public Relations students are now part of the newly named Department of Multimedia Communication.
Macy Koch, a Simpson College alumna in Public Relations, tells Introduction to Public Relations students about her work with Brand Driven Digital.
The need for the name change stemmed from confusion in regards to actual areas of study and what exactly “media studies” entailed.
“We had people wanting to major in media studies, but that isn’t actually a program,” assistant professor Mark Siebert said. “Multimedia Communication better reflects what we do here.”
The fields of study covered in the department are Public Relations and Multimedia Journalism. Neither of the programs seemed to show through the former department name, making it confusing for students looking into either major at Simpson.
The department previously restructured its curriculum by forgoing the Integrated Marketing Communication field for a Public Relations designation instead. The next step came in the form of a name change to finish out the needed adjustments.
The program was originally named the Department of Communication, then became the Department of Communication Studies in 1991, the Department of Communication and Media Studies in 2005 and now the Department of Multimedia Communication.
Multimedia Journalism senior Ben Rodgers interviews New York Times Magazine reporter Emily Bazelon as part of her appearance on campus.
The department went from having a general major and minor in communication to having 3 programs in speech, journalism and corporate communication. Now there are majors in Multimedia Journalism and Public Relations.
Brian Steffen, chair of the department, and fellow professors could see the need for a change and implemented this change in order to target the right crop of students based on interest in multimedia communication practices.
“The change in name is designed to more accurately represent what we teach at Simpson. We want to attract the best students who are interested in studying journalism and public relations in the 21st Century, and we think our new brand will help us reach out to them.”
Brittany Rempe, a senior in Public Relations, said the change helped unify the curriculum with the department itself.
“It fits our hands-on approach here at Simpson,” Rempe said. “We’ve gone from studying communications to a more practical kind of learning.”
The difference between the hands-on learning of Simpson’s Multimedia Communication department and general communications departments of other institutions are apparent when students get into the workforce and have to apply their knowledge to an actual job.
For Simpson students, the hands-on elements make them more prepared and skilled when stepping out of the campus bubble. And these skills can be learned in one place: the Department of Multimedia Communication at Simpson College.