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by Callie Chaney, Student Contributor 

In fall 2020, Alice Lloyd College will be offering yet another new major: Communication Studies. Recently, Alice Lloyd College began offering a Criminal Justice program, which has quickly grown into its second most popular major. Dean Crum is hoping for the same success with the new Communication Studies major: “Communications would be a great program for students who know they want to major in communications, but it could also be a great ‘Plan B’ for students who start off in another major but change their minds.”

Dr. Charles K. Mullins, Division Head of Humanities & Social Science, says discussions of implementing a Communication Studies program at Alice Lloyd College began prior to his 2016 arrival on campus. The first step to building this project was to introduce an academic minor, Speech Communication and Theatre Arts. The minor launched in 2018 and Dr. Mullins claims, “[it] has proven to be a good fit since ALC has a long and rich tradition of oratory and dramatic performance on campus.” Dean Crum, Academic Dean, added that Communications immediately grew to be one of the College’s most successful minors.

In order to expand the established program to a major, Alice Lloyd College is developing new classes such as COMM 225: Persuasion, COMM 301: Public Relations, COMM 320: Small Group Communication, and COMM 350: Communication Theory. Additionally, a few new theatre classes, including THEA 301: Theatre & Film Studies and THEA 380: Directing, will be offered.

A benefit of the Communication Studies major is that it is versatile. Dr. Mullins elaborates on the perks of the program by saying regardless of the path pursued, “…when the employer reads a resume and sees ‘Communication Studies’ as the incumbent’s major field of study it is quickly realized that this is a potential employee who isn’t afraid to talk to people; and this person is an effective communicator.”  

Additionally, double majoring can widen the horizon of job opportunities. Pairing a Sports & Fitness Programs Management degree with the Communication Studies major would be suitable for someone who is interested in sports broadcasting. Double majoring in Criminal Justice and Communication Studies would be ideal for a student considering law. Pursuing both Business Administration and Communication Studies would refine the skills necessary to work in Public Relations. “I really think it improves any other program a student is interested in pursuing,” said Dean Crum. “You could be the world’s greatest doctor, lawyer, scientist, or whatever else, but if you can’t effectively communicate your ideas, then your skills are useless.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the demand for media and communication occupations is projected to grow 4 percent from 2018 to 2028. Furthermore, the 10th fastest growing occupation reported is a speech-language pathologist with a median income of $77,510 per year.

Alice Lloyd College has a longstanding commitment to producing the leaders for Appalachia and preparing them for a successful career. Dr. Mullins says, “Communication Studies will help ALC produce and prepare those leaders.”