The IWU Division of Communication starts the 2011-12 school year with its largest enrollment of students ever in communication-related majors. 162 majors have been declared in one of the five areas of study represented by the division.
This also makes Communication the fastest-growing division within the IWU College of Arts and Science, on a percentage basis. The number of Communication-related majors has doubled in the last five years. Dr. Randall E. King, Interim Division Chair says, “It’s gratifying more and more students see IWU as a place to study this dynamic field that’s so central to human experience. We’re not concerned with numbers for the sake of numbers, but we want more students to find out about our excellent programs.”
One of the brightest of the bright spots is the record enrollment of Theatre majors. 29 students are now majoring in Theatre, nearly doubling last year’s total, and many more participate throughout the year as Theatre minors and cast and crew in IWU’s four live stage productions. Dr. Katie Wampler, new Artistic Director of the IWU Theatre Guild says, “The influx of students for our theatre program is really exciting. Their passion for their art and their faith matches what we as a program are trying to accomplish by telling redemptive stories. ”
There has also been a significant increase in the number of students in Convergent Journalism, which is the new title of the major, emphasizing internet-based multimedia and broadcast storytelling along with traditional journalistic principles. Dr. Kyle Huckins, Assistant Professor of Communication, is starting his third year supervising the major. He says, “The growing regional and national reputation of The Sojourn (student newspaper) and the adding of online and other cutting-edge components to the Convergent Journalism major are major factors in this positive report.”
The other Communication majors also showed growth. 52 students are majoring in Media Communication, focused on radio, television and online storytelling. 36 students are majoring in Public Relations, learning strategic communication for corporations and non-profit groups and 22 students are enrolled in Communication Studies, a generalist degree covering all areas of communication and giving more focused preparation for graduate study.
King says, “We know God gives communication gifts to young people but they don’t always know where to develop them. When they meet our faculty, talk to our students and check out our great facilities, they often decide this is the place.”