‘Extreme growth’ puts strategic communication major on hold

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    Students who explore different options for the future often change majors at least once during their college careers. But if students are thinking about switching to strategic communication this semester, they might be too late.

    Sophomore sports broadcasting major Tonya Hale said she tried to change her major from sports broadcasting to strategic communication last semester, but was denied permission.
    “Not being able to pursue something I was really interested in doing was kind of a setback mentally for me, here at TCU,” she said.

    Julie O’Neil, division chair of strategic communication, said the program’s extreme growth in the last two years caused the department to close the major temporarily.

    “We are finding that we don’t have enough professors to offer the classes to meet the needs of current students,” she said. “So we are currently developing a proposal to move to an application where it will be a competitive process.”

    In the last two years, the program added approximately 70 students, O’Neil said.

    “Right now we have more students who want to study [strategic communication] than we have the ability to offer the courses and meet those needs,” she said.

    It is not uncommon for students to graduate with a different major than the one they started with. According to CollegeBoard most undergraduates do not declare a major until the end of their sophomore year.

    O’Neil said the current state of the job market may be one reason so many students want to pursue the major.

    ”PR continues to add jobs despite this being kind of a recession in the last few years,” she said. “So there are jobs out there, and that’s a good thing for our students.”

    Michael Butler, associate dean of AddRan College of Liberal Arts, said popular academic programs are unable to promise students a spot, so the sooner students choose, the better.

    “As a rule, if a student is interested in one of those heavily-subscribed majors, whether it’s [strategic communication], communication studies, even business, I would rather not advise them to get into them sooner, but I think that’s probably the best advice for them,” he said.
    Hale said one reason she chose a smaller school like TCU was to have the opportunity to explore different fields.

    “The problem for me was that path could have held my dream position or courses,” she said.

    “I wasn’t able to take them because a department didn’t have enough spaces for a sophomore, who is paying almost full tuition to attend this university, to be that major.”

    Butler said he suggested students who find themselves in such a position to focus on taking core classes until the major opens up, and declare a pre-major in order to get an adviser.
    Students waiting to get into the strategic communication major should look at the university course catalogue for a list of courses to take in the meantime, since a minor or emphasis will be required for the program.