The Arkansas State University Board of Trustees has approved a resolution to create the School of Media and Journalism at the Jonesboro campus as an area of excellence in the College of Liberal Arts and Communication.
System President Chuck Welch told members of the ASU Board of Trustees the journalism and radio-television programs always remained intact after departments were combined to create the Department of Media and the College of Media and Communication was folded into the new college in September 2015. The new name, however, resulted in challenges with program identity.
“The school will have a higher profile with this name change,” Welch said. “Our journalism and radio-television programs have long been premier fields of study and many prominent media members around the state are graduates of Arkansas State. We never abandoned journalism in our curriculum. But renaming the department will provide greater focus and let everyone know we’re proud of this marquee program with a long tradition of excellence.
“Arkansas State has been known for producing the highest quality of journalists, nurses and teachers, as well as the largest quantities of them in their respective fields,” Welch said. “The School of Media and Journalism name is consistent with our schools of nursing and education as key focuses of the university.”
The number of students majoring in traditional print journalism was in decline prior to the name change in 2015. However, the fall 2018 total enrollment in the School of Media and Journalism is 328, which is up 53 students (19%) since 2015, according to figures released.
“What we’re seeing is more students pursuing areas such as multimedia journalism, public relations, social media management and digital media management where jobs are more plentiful,” ASU Chancellor Dr. Kelly Damphousse said. “That said, we recognize the importance of core journalism education in all of these fields, and we want to be responsive to the many alumni and media constituencies who have encouraged this naming change. Our journalism and media programs will continue to address the needs of the fast-changing communication landscape.”
For the second straight year, Damphousse conferred a record number of degrees to graduates during the 2018 fall commencement ceremony, Saturday (Dec. 8) in the First National Bank Arena. The record 1,593 diplomas surpassed 1,474 in fall 2017.
“It’s common for events like today to use the word, ‘commencement,’” Damphousse told those in attendance. “Commencement represents the idea of beginning. Perhaps, we should use words that represent finishing like ‘culmination’ or ‘conclusion.’ Today is the celebration of a milestone of accomplishment. All of you had to work hard to get here today while overcoming challenges in balancing your studies and other responsibilities. Congratulations on a job well done.
“Now it’s time for you to move on. There you sit proud of your accomplishments and we are very proud of your efforts. But, there’s also time for looking forward and this is now. We are also looking forward with you.”
Dr. Po-Lin Pan, associate professor of strategic communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Communication, spoke on behalf of the faculty at graduation. Dr. Pan was selected as the recipient of the excellence in scholarship award at the Faculty Honors Convocation ceremony during the spring semester. He was recognized for his extensive research publications.
Fumi Kubota of Koto-ku, Japan, provided remarks on behalf of the graduating class. Kubota graduated summa cum laude and received a Bachelor of Music Education degree in instrumental music. She owns the highest grade point average and graduated with the most hours. She has also been named to the Chancellor’s List each semester she has been at ASU.