Salisbury University’s communication department is in the process of implementing a new addition.
Like many academic institutions, SU offers various graduate-level programs for students looking to further their education. Some students, however, still lack the opportunity to complete a graduate program specific to their chosen field of study.
The rising demand for specialized skills and career opportunities requires that academic institutions keep up. In response, SU has proposed a new master’s program for communication students.
Dr. David Burns, a SU communications professor involved in the program’s development, said several undergraduate students have expressed interest in such a program. Burns said in the past, they have had to seek this opportunity elsewhere.
“There’s really not a (communication) master’s program on the Eastern Shore,” Burns said. “We would really be able to reach underserved communities here on the Eastern Shore if we have a program like this.”
Burns said that if communication undergraduate students apply junior year, they can take graduate level courses their senior year. This accelerated track may appeal to current SU students.
Tucker Eckert, a sophomore majoring in communication at SU, said his immediate family members all have gotten their master’s degree. Eckert said he has researched programs before.
“I’ve always valued education,” Eckert said. “If [a graduate program] is something the communication department at Salisbury has to offer that’s an awesome opportunity and I would think about doing it for sure.”
The program will not just be for recent SU communication graduates, according to Dr. James Burton, chair of SU’s communication department.
Burton said it will consist of courses focused on communication in health, sports, non-profit, politics and public affairs. This means it will be open to individuals studying outside of the five undergraduate communication tracks SU offers.
“The idea was to think about how we could kind of harness our existing expertise and course offerings to create something that would be of practical value to both current undergraduates but also folks that might want to return to [school],” Burton said.
The department has tailored the program to allow for various course modalities and teach various skills. Burton said they are on track to start in fall 2024.
“It’s been a long road and a lot of hard work,” Burton said. “But we’re really excited about it.”
By GEORGIA FOSTER
Featured image courtesy of Georgia Foster