About the Department

In July of 2012, the Communication Studies Program was re-established as the Communication Department, and beginning in Fall 2013 will offer a major and minor in Communication.

Until 1996, the Communication Studies Minor was housed in the Art Department, largely because of the affiliation of its directors with that department. In 1996, it moved to the newly formed Division of Communication and Theatre Arts; at the time, personnel included three College of Management faculty who taught in both the Communication Studies Program and the College of Management.  Upon the retirement of two of the three faculty members and the concurrent reorganization of the Theatre Department, the Communication Studies Program moved to American Studies in the fall of 2002.

In 2008, the Communication Studies Advisory Committee was assembled to evaluate the curriculum and provide recommendations for a revised minor. The committee report recommended a rigorous, interdisciplinary program focusing both on cross cultural communication and on information technologies. The committee also recommended a program grounded in the behavioral sciences, not unlike the undergraduate Communication majors at the University of Michigan, Michigan State, and UC-Santa Barbara.

The report spurred further interest in the development of a Communication major on campus, to be conducted concurrently with a revised minor.  In July 2009, Ken Lachlan was hired to spearhead this effort, alongside a steering committee comprised of faculty representatives from numerous departments within the college. Our second full-time hire, Jessie Quintero Johnson, joined us in the fall of 2011, followed by Gamze Yilmaz and Julie Zhu in the fall of 2012. In May 2012, our new programs received final approval for a Fall 2013 launch.

Of further note is a name change in the program to Communication, as opposed to the former Communication Studies. This change is more than semantic. The National Communication Association has forwarded that the term Communication is the appropriate, modern term for the discipline, as opposed to Communication Studies, Speech Communication, or some other amalgamation of Communication and another term. So for the record: we are the Communication Department.

We have come a long way indeed, but we are just getting started. Feel free to explore our web presence, find out more about our new major and minor, or learn about our cutting edge research. Information on our current and forthcoming programs is also available at our department office, Wheatley 06-037, (617) 287-3900.