OPC major, WLP classes split in two

by Beacon Staff • March 19, 2008

Though the majority of the modifications deal with course codes, OPC is being renamed Communication Studies and splintering into two separate majors.,Three of Emerson's majors are getting a facelift next semester in the form of new course codes, reorganization of classes and, in the case of the Organizational and Political Communication department, a whole new name.

Though the majority of the modifications deal with course codes, OPC is being renamed Communication Studies and splintering into two separate majors.

Marketing Communication, Writing, Literature and Publishing and OPC's course codes are all being rechristened in time for fall 2008 registration, in the hopes of making registration run smoother and finding classes easier for students.

The changes started when the graduate Health Communication program moved from the Marketing department to Communication Sciences and Disorders. To accommodate the switch, Health Communication changed its course code from MH to HC, which left only marketing courses, now under the course code MK, in the department, said Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs Anne Doyle.

"Basically, the code 'MH' no longer made sense," Doyle said. "So we switched the code from MH to MK, course for course."

From there, other departments saw the need for tweaks in their organization and course codes, Doyle said.

The biggest change is the new Communication Studies major, which will replace Organizational and Political Communication under the course code CC.

The new department will integrate two majors: Communication Studies and Leadership, Politics and Social Advocacy.

The program's SGA representative, Monica Casanova, said she feels the changes are necessary to accommodate the evolving OPC student body.

"There are many students who are looking to go into the front lines of politics and government as politicians themselves," the sophomore said.

However, OPC major Nicolette Orlemans isn't so happy about the switch.

The freshman said part of what drew her to Emerson was the specific nature of OPC's program, which she thinks shines through its title.

"It has such a unique name," she said of the major's moniker. "To switch it to something like 'Communication Studies,' which can be taken so generally by employers and that is offered at other schools, is kind of disappointing. I love that it focuses not just on politics, but the organization of domestic and international organizations. I think Communication Studies kind of takes away from that focus."

Doyle said the more general Communication Studies major will survey a larger area of communications including theory, research and increasingly hands-on classes.

"The new Communication Studies major is a terrific addition to our repertoire," said interim Communication Studies Chair Phillip Glenn in an e-mail interview.

"It responds to growing student demand, fits nicely with our other major in Politics, Leadership, and Social Advocacy, and meets real needs in our society."

In contrast, the changes to the WLP department are purely aesthetic. Doyle said the faculty requested some distinction between publishing and writing classes, which were formerly both listed under the course code WP.

The two different aspects of the WLP program will now be distinguished by WR and PB codes. As of now, the two components of the major, which can be taken as minors, will not become separate majors.

WLP major Emily Milinski said the new codes may assuage one difficulty students in the major face-trying to get into specific publishing classes.

"I think it'll be a lot easier to get into publishing classes with the distinctive codes," the sophomore said. "I've tried to register for [publishing classes] so many times and couldn't because there weren't enough of them."

The course code changes are the only alterations in the works for the WLP department at this time, according to graduate program's Acting Chair Pamela Painter.

Painter said she was on board with the reworking because it will better organize the major's requirements and clearly delineate the triumvirate of the WLP major.

Doyle said the student body should be informed of the changes via e-mails sent out this week. She believes the changes will not negatively affect registration for the fall 2008 semester.

"The lists [of major courses] will still come up when students search for them, just with different prefixes," Doyle said. "It's not going to slow registration down, it's just going to look different."