Alumni of the sociology, criminal justice and anthropology, Spanish and radio-TV-film departments may be confused if they search for those department names any time soon, as each underwent a name change during the summer.
Faculty in these departments, however, said they find the changes necessary to better reflect what they teach.
Nowell Donovan, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, said the name change to department of Spanish and Hispanic studies helps people get away from the idea that the department just teaches the language.
“It is important to realize we are involved in the whole experience of the Spanish culture, not just the language,” Donovan said. “The change better reflects the reality of what they do, but the courses will be very similar.”
Richard Allen, department chair of film, television and digital media, formerly radio-TV-film, said the main reason for changing the name was the recent advances in technology and the Internet.
“The field that we teach has grown so much larger than just radio, television, and film,” Allen said. “For a long time we have been looking for a name to reflect what we do. We want students entering the major to feel comfortable that they are getting a degree that is preparing them for the future.”
The changes in these departments have been done for relatively cheap, Allen said.
“The printing cost was the most, but it was nothing we would have not have done anyways,” he said. “At some point everyone runs out of business cards and has to get new ones.”
Miguel Leatham, assistant professor of anthropology and program director, said that although the department of criminal justice has split off from the department of sociology and anthropology because of the rapid growth in these departments, faculty in both departments hope to still remain in close collaboration.
“Our sharing of interests will continue,” Leatham said. “I don’t really anticipate any kind of major shakeup or change in our lifestyle. We are pleased with the outcome.”
These name changes are seen as a positive thing for students in these majors because the names now accurately reflect what the students will be learning, Allen said. It will also give their future employers reassurance that they have been taught the most up-to-date information, he said.
“With the changes, I think when students go for jobs their employers will be confident the students know what they need to know,” Allen said.
Last summer, the advertising/public relations program in the Schieffer School of Journalism also changed its name to strategic communication.
Spanish is now Spanish and Hispanic Studies
Sociology, Criminal Justice and Anthropology split into the Department of Criminal Justice and the Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Radio-TV-Film is now Film, Television and Digital Media