Senate Document Number 4404S

Date of Senate Approval 04/08/04

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Statement of Faculty Senate Action:

APC Document 34:     Changes in Mass Communication Requirements for Major:
Demonstration of Competence.

Effective Date: Fall, 2004

Delete: UNCA Catalog 2003-2004, page 162, under the heading "Mass Communication Major Requirements,"

III. Other departmental requirements -- All students must complete Senior Seminar (MCOM 494) to satisfy the university's demonstration of competency requirement and to complete the requirement of a demonstration of oral competency.

Add: UNCA Catalog 2003-2004, page 162, under the heading "Mass Communication Major Requirements,"

III. Other departmental requirements -- Mass Communication degree candidates demonstrate competence through successful completion of academic and professional projects and activities. Competence is expected in at least one of these areas: (1) Print media, (2) Video and film media, (3) Communication research. Specific requirements and procedures for documenting these should be obtained from the department chair. Computer competence is demonstrated through successful completion of MCOM 201. Oral competence is demonstrated through successful completion of MCOM 494.

Impact Statement
Attached you will find the non-catalog demonstration of competence requirements. Their adoption requires greater participation by students in departmental print, visual media and research projects.

Resources. The first impact seen will be that of more persons volunteering for existing programs and projects. As time goes by, we should see an increase in the number and variety of projects. This may place additional strain on our equipment resources, but that cannot be accurately measured or predicted at this time as the increasing number of majors and other factors also affect resource requirements. Many of the projects are related to existing courses and workshops.

Based on our research it looks as if we can accommodate the current majors via existing projects. Last year, Dr. Diefenbach surveyed the senior seminar to determine what the status of graduating students would have been if the proposed system had been in place for the duration of their time here. The results of this one-shot measure are attached. You will note that participation in print and visual media and research projects varies, with some students having an excess of that needed for graduation, and a few falling short. So a few, by the new system would not have been ready to graduate yet, but most were ready and the opportunities to succeed clearly had been present with existing resources.

No new courses or faculty are required, although more are always welcome.

Possible increased time to graduation for some students. The development of skills takes time. Students entering as freshmen and even sophomores should experience no difficulty fulfilling the requirements for graduation. Some transfer students arrive at UNCA and expect to rush through to degree completion in short order. It is these students who may be delayed as they must slow down a bit in order to actually practice their crafts and show competence in doing so. We believe this is appropriate for any program featuring an extensive craft component. It seems possible that under the current system we are graduating people who are not yet ready by not correctly measuring competencies in the craft areas. We would have to advise such students with particularly great care in order in order for them to understand what is required.

Mass Communication is a field that emphasizes the blending of theory, research and craft. The proposed change will change the demonstration of competence from something the student does at the end of his/her career to an ongoing tracking of skills development. It will enable students to more clearly see their own development, and it will enable the department to better assess its effectiveness in encouraging and educating its students.

These evaluations assess students' ability to apply the theories and practices they are learning to the exercise of their craft. By requiring participation in educational activities, the change will encourage participation from more the reticent students. By offering various levels of activities, the more enthusiastic students gain the opportunity to develop advanced techniques while improving their management and leadership abilities. All students will be encouraged in the new system to monitor their own progress throughout their academic careers in the major. Such an ongoing awareness of personal and career development can only do good things for the abilities and motivation of our students.

Finally, the conceptual dimension of the student's is not forgotten, as the work in the required senior seminar will remain in place.