URI offers master’s degree in communications

KINGSTON, R. I. — December 3, 1998 — There’s a common thread running through most job requirements nowadays and it is this: the ability to communicate effectively. Yet no graduate degree in communications has been offered in the state. That is, until now.

The University of Rhode Island’s master of arts program in communications studies recently got a green light by the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education. The program will offer two courses this spring: “Seminar in Media Studies” and “Research Methods in Communications”.

Designed with the working student in mind, generally courses will be offered in the late afternoon, early evening, on weekends, or as intensive week-long seminars. Most courses will be offered at the Feinstein College of Continuing Education in Providence, some will be held on the Kingston Campus; others will be presented via multimedia technologies.

“We’re very excited at the opportunity to be offering the first master’s of this kind in the state of Rhode Island. We think it will fill a definite need for graduate students in this area,” says Dr. Stephen Wood, chair of the URI’s Department of Communications.

Wood says that approximately 4,000 masters degrees in communication are awarded annually in the U.S. Furthermore, close to 200 undergraduate students graduate annually from URI’s Communication Studies program, URI’s Feinstein College of Continuing Education’s Bachelor of General Studies degree in Applied Communications and Rhode Island College’s Communication program. The new degree program fills the vacuum for both in-state and out-of-state graduates who haven’t had a place to further their communication education in the state.

The 30-credit program maximizes the cooperation and resources among URI’s College of Arts and Sciences and Feinstein College of Continuing Education and is being offered in conjunction with Rhode Island College. No additional faculty will have to be hired.

Dr. Sandra Ketrow, director of the new program, expects the program will have broad appeal whether the student is focusing on political communication, organizational communication, training, personnel, conflict management, public relations, media, advertising, or digital and electronic communication.

“The program offers a flexible approach as we suspect a number of those people interested will be employed older-students looking to better their position in a current organization or expand the possibilities to move to other organizations that demand or reward graduate work in communications,” says Ketrow.

To test the waters of interest, an inaugural course, “Communication, Change and Chaos in Contemporary Organizations,” is being conducted this semester by Dr. Agnes Doody, founder of URI’s Department of Communications Studies in 1967.

Ketrow says a study by the University of Michigan’s School of Business points to the importance of effective communication. Some 1,100 newly-promoted chairmen, presidents and vice presidents in a variety of businesses were asked:

“Which courses best prepare one for business leadership?” Those surveyed cited business communication courses most often-even over courses in finance, accounting, business, and accounting.

“There’s clearly a need for this program. People are looking for additional knowledge and skill,” says Ketrow.

Deadline for application for admission to URI’s M.A. program in Communication Studies is January 29 to qualify for financial aid for 1999. For more information, call Ketrow at 874-4733 or e-mail her at ketrow@uriacc.uri.edu.

For More Information: Sandra Ketrow, 401-874-4733

Jan Sawyer, 401-874-2116