Mastering the art of communication

Annie Salamone

This fall, the communication department extended its means of communicating communication. For the first time at Villanova, the communication department will now offer a graduate certificate in strategic communication.

The certificate requires the completion of five courses which are created to prepare students and professionals for successful careers in advertising, corporate communication, journalism, public relations and many other concentrated areas in the field of communication.

The graduate certificate is part of the push by program director Dr. Susan Mackey-Kallis to begin a graduate program in the communication field.

While the certificate is not to be confused as a complete masters program, it is a building block to what Mackey-Kallis and her colleagues anticipate: a complete masters program to be in place by the fall of 2005. Currently the certificate program has enrolled three full-time Villanova alumni and several part-time students in the program.

The certificate, “is designed for additional accreditation or specialization for a student or working professional who had communication, or a similar field as an undergraduate degree but didn’t get to specialize as much as he or she wanted to in that specific area,” Mackey-Kallis said.

The demand for a graduate program has stemmed from students’ peaking interest to continue their education in the field of communication, the largest major in the College of Liberal Arts.

“We find that we are sending more of our graduates on to graduate programs than we have in the past and there is a feeling that we wanted to keep some of our good folks here,” Mackey-Kallis said.

The strategic communication certificate focuses on the management of messages and the awareness that, in the realm of communication, both good and bad communication can exist. Good communication is considered strategic when the sender of the message understands not only how to target those audiences specifically but how also how to effectively and ethically use that power of persuasion.

Ethical issues are an important consideration in the art of communication and Villanova’s emphasis on such issues helps students to understand and perfect ethical strategies in their careers.

To earn the certificate, students must complete five courses – one in strategic communication theory and one in either qualitative or quantitative research in communication, along with three other elective credits. “Many courses are focused on the complex understanding of audiences audiences and the situations that impact the communication of being strategic,” Mackey-Kallis said.

When the certificate program is completed, a student will be able to get a master’s degree, either through Villanova or another institution, with only requiringadditional five courses for a total of 30 credits.

One of the greatest advantages of getting a degree in communication, whether on the undergraduate or graduate level, is that “your passion becomes your academic focus,” Dr. Terry Nance, chair of the communication department said. “America really only recognizes two kinds of intelligence, reading and math, when really there are countless other kinds. Communication allows you the flexibility to discover your passion and make a wonderful impact on the world.”

To apply for the certificate program, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in communication or a related field, transcripts from previously related institutions, two letters of recommendation and a writing sample.

To learn more about the program or to apply for the spring semester, contact Maria Distefano in the communication office at (610) 519-7488; send email to [email protected].