I am a junior at Lesley and I am a Psychology major. Last semester, I decided to take Intro to Communication because I thought it would help enhance my abilities to communicate with people, which is important if you are going to work in the field of Psychology. I fell in love with the class, and decided I wanted to double major in Communication and Media Studies. But I was disappointed to learn that Lesley no longer offers a Communications major; the university decided to eliminate it in 2015. The only option now for students who are interested in Communication and Media Studies is a 15-credit minor.
I work in the Admissions Office as a Student Outreach Ambassador for my Federal Work Study. I call incoming students and one of the things I do is give incoming students information about the programs they’re interested in. Every now and then, we get an incoming student who is interested in majoring in Communication. We no longer have that major, so that may contribute to students who are interested in Communication and Media Studies not applying or coming to our university.
I’m not here to talk to you about things like the salaries of people who major in Communication and Media Studies and go out into communication and media related fields because I feel that isn’t as important as learning something you’re passionate about and trying to pursue a job that makes you feel fulfilled. Even if you don’t pursue a career in communications, you can still do things like free-lance writing or get involved in a political campaign.
There are many things a student can use a Communications and Media Studies major for, including, but not limited to, careers in journalism, marketing, public relations, advertising, television and film production, and education. Communication is important because when studying Communications and Media Studies, you learn about how people interact, how the media works (with classes like Media Analysis and Intro to Journalism as options), and how to add to creative work like film, music, and design. Communication and Media Studies is a major that is not just valuable to students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), but it’s also valuable to students in the Art and Design college (LA+D). I have peers in my Communications classes who are business majors, political science majors, graphic design majors, and education majors, to name a few examples.
I spoke to three Lesley students, two who are taking Intro to Communication this semester, and one who is taking Intro to Journalism, to get their thoughts about the issue. Joanna Lopez is a second year Psychology major with two minors, Brand Design and Communication. Joanna said she is interested in studying Media Studies, and she is leaving Lesley to transfer to a different school because Lesley doesn’t have a Media Studies major; she is seeking out what would benefit her the most.
Next was Lan Huang, who is a second year Business Management major. She said: “I notice that I can take communication as a minor. I am interested in majoring in communication and media study because I think this is a major that can use widely in life. In the future, with the better technology, many jobs that use labors will be replaced by the machines. Jobs such as journalist and social workers that requires communication will not be one of those jobs. On the other hand, this world is connected by communication. Communication has many advantages such as decreasing the conflict between things and made people understand different culture.”
The final student I interviewed was first year student Kelsie Crough. The two reasons she gave for why Lesley needs to bring back the Communication major are: “One [is] a moral one and the other [is] a practical one. Practically, a communications major offering would draw more students into attending Lesley for, according to niche.com, it is ranked #7 of the most popular majors. There are a lot of internship opportunities with this major and a lot of future career options related to it including going into the business or journalism or even law industries. The moral reason is that Lesley is known for being a school that promotes and advocates for social justice. The best way to accomplish social change and advocate for it in the very least, as we learn in journalism class this semester, is through communicating with each other through methods such as journalism.
Communication is a tool that is always useful. In Psychology, as an example, Communication can help you learn to communicate effectively with others and understand the different ways people communicate, not just verbally but also by touch (which is called “haptics”), and other forms of non-verbal communication like body language.
If you are interested in a career working with animals, Intro to Communication is also useful because you learn about “zoosemiotics”, which is the study of how animals communicate. Animal communication is an interesting topic because it gives us clues about how much animals understand of our language and how they learn.
In Lesley’s Communication minor, a student has the option of taking classes like Intro to Journalism, where you are expected to cover news and write for the Lesley Public Post, our campus newspaper; or Public Speaking where you learn to improve your public speaking abilities by giving speeches and breaking down what makes an effective speech. You also have an option in the electives portion of the major (9 credits of the 15 required are courses that you pick from a list of courses related to communication in different disciplines) to take classes that are related to film, photography, and politics, as an example.
If Lesley brought back the Communication and Media Studies major, I think it would open a door for not only students who are looking to work in media-related fields, but also students who are looking to learn more about how people communicate and what that means for us. Communication as a major is important because it teaches you what is arguably the most important thing about being human: the ability to interact with other people, share ideas, and have your needs met. Communication is not just for people interested in the field of Communication and Media Studies, and it can be an important addition to any major offered at Lesley.