A&M International to Offer Degree in Communication Starting Spring 1999

Texas A&M International University has added the study of communication to its degree inventory following the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's approval of the program in April.

Dr. Jerry Thompson, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, said that students may start early in the fall 1998 semester by taking courses that will lead to a bachelor of arts degree in communication and then enroll in the new communication courses that will be introduced in the spring 1999 semester.

"We conducted a survey that indicated that a communication degree is needed," said Dr. Thompson, explaining the reason the University chose to offer the new degree. "We also found that there is a definite need for communications and public relations professionals on the border."

Thompson said that the first communication course offered this fall will be intercultural communication. Come Spring 1999, a full array of communication courses will be introduced, he said.

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.

A student may also choose to pursue a minor in communication by taking all the required courses and four of the electives.

Thompson said that the communication program was designed so that students will gather a comprehensive knowledge of the communication field.

"This is a very employable program. I think that a student who graduates from this program will have no problem securing a position in communication in any market," Thompson said.

Henry Garcia, 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 rich 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 upon us. Talented communicators will find a growing range of employment possibilities from traditional to new media and public relations practitioners. We're especially encouraged by the intercultural component of the program and feel that it is a special strength," Garcia said.

University president Dr. Charles Jennett said that the approval of the communication degree and the new masters in Spanish degree raise the number of degrees to 24 undergraduate and 22 graduate thus signaling the University's continued growth and development.

"These degrees were developed in response to needs from our service community. They are important additions to our inventory and we look forward to welcoming students who have selected these undergraduate or graduate majors," Jennett said.

For further information, please contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at 326-2180. University office hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu