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Degree’s return nets positive response

Journalism back after decade-long hiatus

Published: Sunday, January 12, 2014

Updated: Sunday, January 12, 2014 22:01

After removing the degree a decade ago, Texas A&M University will reestablish the journalism major as part of the University Studies program and will be accepting students for the Fall 2014 semester.

In order to foster competitiveness and sustainability, the College of Liberal Arts plans to only accept 25 freshmen into the major per year, but admission will also be open to current students who are still under the hours cap for changing majors and have completed journalism courses, said Dale Rice, head of Texas A&M journalism studies.

Rice said the response has been overwhelmingly positive and he has already been contacted both by incoming students and current freshmen and sophomore journalism minors about the possibility of entering the program.

“I think there has been a very high interest among students,” Rice said. “It’s going to make us very attractive to students who were not considering A&M because they wanted a journalism degree in the liberal arts area and they weren’t able to get the degree [through A&M].”

Rice said the smaller numbers will help ensure that the program does not grow too large to be maintainable, a problem that contributed to the journalism degree program’s elimination nearly a decade ago.

Rice said the curriculum will build on the existing journalism minor and include additional courses. The degree will also require students to have two minors — one from the College of Liberal Arts and one from another college.

Mallory O’Sullivan, sophomore telecommunication media studies major, said she was surprised the University reinstated the journalism major because she thought the journalism minor was already successful.

“On one hand, I feel like it was a smart decision because students may bypass A&M for a journalism school,” O’Sullivan said. “Now they can receive a journalism degree while still attending a large university. On the other hand, the field of journalism is changing so rapidly, I’m concerned about how the course requirements and content will reflect those changes.”

O’Sullivan said even though she is interested in journalism, she does not plan to change her major. She said she believed the telecommunication media studies major offered her more options and has a wider range of skills she can learn.

Incoming freshman biomedical science major, Blake Powell, said the return of the journalism major looks to be a very positive decision and could definitely influence fellow incoming students to apply to and attend A&M.

“The reason that many of my friends did not consider the school was the preconceived idea that A&M is based off the military, engineering, pre-vet and pre-med,” Powell said. “With a competitive aspect of journalism, I think it would open a lot of people up to not only consider a major in the news department, but also show people that A&M has diversified past what people previously thought.”

The proposal to bring back the major was first approved by the College of Liberal Arts then all other colleges before it was approved by the Undergraduate Instruction Committee and Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, sending the degree proposal to the Faculty Senate where it was passed as a resolution Dec. 9.

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