Stetson University

College of Arts and Sciences

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Communications Technology Initiative

Beginning in 2008, the Communication and Media Studies program at Stetson University has actively embraced a Communication and Technology Initiative. Thus far, we have achieved the following goals:

  1. Sponsor an annual public lecture by a guest scholar with expertise related to communication and technology. Lecturers have included:
    • Roy Joseph; Ph.D., Texas A&M; faculty at Wheaton College; "Communicating in Virtual Worlds"; September 2009
    • Christine Tracy; Ph.D., Rensselaer Polytechnic; faculty at Eastern Michigan University; "The World Beyond Your Mini-Feed: A Media Ecologist's Perspective on the News Sphere"; October 2010
  2. Add an upper-level course focused on communication and technology to our curriculum. The course (COMM 333) is offered annually.
  3. Create a Communication and Media Studies technology studio. In the summer of 2010, Elizabeth Hall room 202 was equipped with 15 student stations and one teacher station featuring the latest Apple computing technology. In addition, both Elizabeth Hall rooms 202 and 204 have been outfitted with high-definition projection systems. Finally, Elizabeth Hall room 204 now features digital recording technology for student presentations.

Rationale and Justification

Central to the mission of the Communication and Media Studies program at Stetson University is the goal of encouraging students to better to understand culture, meaning and symbolic activity. Such a goal is pursued not merely as an end in itself, but rather for the broader and more important purpose of producing enlightened citizens who are adept students of society and their place therein.

Living as we do in an increasingly technological and globalized world, we recognize that the realization of this mission creates a growing need to focus upon the proliferation and impact of ever-changing communication technologies. To this end, the Communication and Media Studies program at Stetson University seeks to re-envision its relationship to existing and emerging technologies.

The goal of such an undertaking is to re-articulate historic emphases of communication scholarship in a manner that is increasingly consonant with emerging modes of human communication.

Such self-reflection is guided and motivated by the desire to develop increasingly rich and relevant answers to the following questions:

  1. As technology changes both the form and content of human communication, how do such changes impact the ways we understand the human condition and its role in the creation and sustenance of community?
  2. As technology changes both the form and content of human communication, what resources from within the tradition of communication scholarship remain as vital and constant tools for explaining the means and consequences of human communicative action?
  3. As technology changes both the form and content of human communication, what resources from within the tradition of communication scholarship need to be adapted and augmented in order to make increasing sense of the means and consequences of human communicative action?
  4. As technology changes both the form and content of human communication, what knowledge, skills, and abilities must our students develop in order better to function as producers, consumers, and critiques of human symbolic action?
  5. As technology changes both the form and content of human communication, what sort of interpretative and evaluative grid must one come to possess in order to function as an enlightened, productive, and responsibly-engaged citizen in such a shifting environment?
  6. As technology changes both the form and content of human communication, what technological hardware and software adoptions are necessary (both among students and faculty) for the production of proficient, innovative, and desirable students of human communication?
  7. As technology changes both the form and content of human communication, what unique resources are latent within Stetson's theoretical and practical identification with the liberal arts tradition that provide insight into the questions outlined here?

Although the need to examine how technological changes impact the study of human communication is in many ways an emergent and contemporary need, the Communication and Media Studies faculty remain convinced that one can adequately address such a need only by relying upon contemporary applications of historic emphases of the liberal arts tradition. This tradition is itself central to the vision and mission of the broader Stetson University community and likewise is a tradition that has long shaped the teaching and scholarship of each faculty member in Communication and Media Studies.

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