Communication in the Gateway City has a new ally with Texas A&M International University's addition of a bachelor's degree in communication.
Dr. Jerry Thompson, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, said that the new degree is in response to surveys indicating there is a need for the program and a variety of career options exist for graduates.
"We found that there is a definite need for communications and public relations professionals on the border and this program can help to address that need. The management of information via mass media or public relations appears to be a career area that will sustain continued employability for many years to come," Dr. Thompson explained.
Thompson said that the communication program was designed so that students will gather a comprehensive knowledge of the communication field. Students may also choose to pursue a minor in communication by taking all the required courses and four of the electives.
"It's clearly an employment-oriented program. We believe that a student who graduates from this program will have no problem securing a position in communication in any market," he said.
Henry Garcia, former president of the Gateway Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, said the group is excited by the University's addition of the communications degree and sees diverse employment possibilities in print, electronic, new media and public relations.
"Local and regional communications professionals are glad to see this new degree become a part of the University's course offerings. The Information Age is clearly a rich source of future employment. Talented communicators will find a growing range of employment possibilities from traditional to new media and public relations. We're especially encouraged by the intercultural component of the program and feel that it is a special strength," Garcia said.
Thompson said a wider array of courses will be available this Spring. Early Registration for the program continues through November 13.
"The required courses for a communication degree include communication and meaning, methods of inquiry, communication ethics, internship and communication theory and practice. The list of electives, from which six must be selected by the student, include teamwork and communication, organizational communication, public relations, mass communication processes, journalistic writing, media production, intercultural communication, persuasion, visual communication, communication law and special issues in communication," he explained.
Communications majors will also be eligible to apply for scholarship assistance from the recently announced James Parish Endowed Scholarship Fund. The Fund, recently launched to honor the late Jim Parish, longtime Laredo Morning Times reporter, is intended to assist students interested in studying communications. It also provides for internships at The Laredo Morning Times.
For additional information on the new Communications degree at Texas A&M International University, please contact the College of Arts and Humanities at 326.2460.
University office hours are from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.