A. Q. Miller School of Journalism & Mass Communications is one of the oldest journalism and mass communication education programs in the country. Reflecting that tradition, our mission historically has been to provide students the concepts and skills necessary to enter mass communication careers, the tools needed to advance in their careers in a socially responsible way, and the resources to think critically about the role and impact of mass communications in society.
The school's goals in teaching, research and service are focused on the professional but grounded within the liberal arts. We think this is particularly important in journalism and mass communication because our value as practitioners lies in developing the liberal arts (reading and writing, thinking critically, civic participation) in a context of application. What we are about as professional communicators is essential to the success of an open and free society.
Undergraduate Education: In many ways, we in journalism and mass communications are an eclectic interdisciplinary program of study -- a blending of professional training in the media industries, but with a solid grounding in the traditional liberal arts. We are committed to preparing undergraduate students not only for careers, but for life.
- Undergraduate students in separate skills sequences (with emphases in radio/television, journalism, advertising & public relations) share a common curriculum experience in the law, history, research and ethics of mass communication.
- Our nationally accredited program offers students skills in gathering, communicating, and interpreting information for both mass and specialized audiences.
- Students complete 39 hours in the school and must fulfill the general requirements of the College of Arts & Sciences for either the B.A. or the B.S. degree, in addition to a 15-hour outside concentration in another discipline.
- Our program provides hands-on opportunities beyond the classroom through student media such as the Kansas State Collegian newspaper, the Royal Purple yearbook, Orion online web design, and KSDB-FM radio.
Instruction in Graduate Education: The mission of our graduate program is two-fold. One is to prepare students for productive careers in communication and to provide them the intellectual background and training to understand how their media training and the consequences of its practice affect the cultural and civic life of Kansas and the nation. The second is to prepare those students who choose to pursue an academic career for entry into a Ph.D. program in communication or other disciplines of the social sciences.
- Graduate students are trained to master the media of communication, in their different forms, effectively so that the message is clearly conveyed by the medium of choice.
- Graduate students are taught to understand that any message that is mass communicated has unavoidable cultural and economic consequences, oftentimes political consequences as well. Students are taught that they must be as aware of those consequences as they are of the messages they prepare for mass distribution. Such awareness ensures that message makers are not blind to the consequences of their messages on the society in which we all live.
- Graduate students wishing to pursue academic careers are provided the fundamentals of communication theory, methodology, and additional training in the processes and effects of the mass media in society. Where possible, and where faculty and student interests coincide, students are provided access to faculty research projects ranging from apprenticeship on projects to co-authorship.
Research and Creative Aspects
Our faculty and students seek to contribute to a greater understanding of the power and impact of mass communications and work toward their improvement as a mechanism for ensuring the freedoms of a democratic society.
Communication research is not a narrow, or even easily defined endeavor. Our discipline encompasses scholars in law, the medical sciences, as well as all of the social sciences. Publications in our discipline routinely appear not only in mass communication journals but also in law journals, medical journals, history journals, psychology journals, and in other social science and natural scientific venues.
In addition, our discipline has a strong professional orientation with many prominent faculty who do not have research degrees but who do have extensive and distinguished professional backgrounds in journalism, public relations, and advertising. Consequently scholarship in our discipline can also constitute creative work in any of the mass media. Because assessments of quality are important in the academy, we believe all professional and creative work should be externally evaluated, in whatever manner is appropriate to the work, so that colleagues who are not in our discipline can independently determine the quality of professional or creative activity for purposes of annual review, tenure and promotion.
Service to the Community
Ours is a discipline with a strong service obligation. That obligation applies to faculty who work in both traditional scholarly areas as well as faculty in professionally oriented areas. Thus service has several ways it can manifest itself.
- Our school-level service responsibilities include a variety of committees and projects that range from new faculty searches to major curriculum revision to research, scholarship, advising and sequence leadership.
- Service to the university finds our faculty involved in groups like Faculty Senate, Graduate Council, and Arts & Sciences College Committee on Planning, to name a few.
- Traditional scholarship in mass communication also provides a service to those in media professions, offering a perspective on their work that can give them needed information for decision making and change.
- The direct application of professional skills and knowledge in community settings serves a varied constituency of publics. Faculty and students engaged in creative and professional work for community organizations and media industries contribute newspaper articles and columns; produce television news and documentaries; develop, design and manage web sites; and create and direct public information and advertising campaigns for non-profit community organizations.