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August 03, 1994 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1994-08-03

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8- The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, August 3, 1994
Committee will attempt to improve
education in communication dept.

By Beth Harris
DAILY STAFF REPORTER
On June 13, LSA Dean Edie N.
Goldenberg commissioned a commit-
tee to decide the fate of the troubled
communication department. But, even
this simple step has brought more criti-
cism.
Goldenberg selected the commit-
tee in hopes of correcting many prob-
lems that have plagued the department
foryears.Although those involved with
the committee expressed optimism
about the changes, some faculty mem-
bers are questioning how well the group
will operate.
Several faculty members said they
feared retaliation by the University
administration for speaking negatively
about the committee, and expressed
concerns such as time restraints on the
group and the under-representation of
thecommunication department faculty
only two out of five members.
But committee chair John
Chamberlin, LSA associate dean for
academic appointments, said he has
confidence in the committee's ability
to reshape the department.
"We will be able to address matters
presented to us in the charge from the
dean. We have appropriate representa-
tion from the department," he said.
Vincent Price, associate professor
of communication and assistant de-
partment chair, is also amember of the
council and agrees with Chamberlin.
"Personally,I'mnotconcerned with
ilding the ability of the committee. Internal
and external people are needed. We
need as much experience as possible.

Most of those members (outside of the
communicationdepartment)havecon-
siderable administrative experience,"
Price said.
The committee plans to improve
the future of the department by formu-
lating a better curriculum to improve
communicationeducation. For thepast
15 years, the department has been try-
ing to find a way to better meet the
needs of communication students.
"We don't have the 'professional'
bent as other schools do. We are not
trying to train students professionally
at the undergraduate level. Rather, we
are hoping to provide students with a
curriculum that focuses around a num-
ber of liberal arts disciplines, such as
history or political science,"
Chamberlin said.
How specialized the department will
become is one question the committee
will wrestle with, Chamberlin said.
"The communication curriculum
still bears the marks of a marriage
between the speech departments and
the journalism department. A problem
we have now is that the faculty are just
not available to teach the classes,"
Chamberlin added.
Some University faculty agree that
this is an issue the committee should
address. "I think that (the group) will
have to try to be innovative, but that's
often hard at such a conservative place.
If they look and see what the possibili-
ties can be, they will benefit the stu-
dents greatly who want to learn what
we have to teach," said Communica-
tion Lecturer Joan Lowenstein.
Committee members and faculty

said student input will be sought, al-
though no definite plans have been
arranged yet.
Chamberlin said the council plans
to contact graduate and undergraduate
students for input, possibly through a
survey of communication students.
"We will find ways and meet wi
students, but the best opinions are pro-
vided by tenured professors of the
University and those with a familiarity
with departmental administration,"
Chamberlin said.
Students, however, believe their
input is just as valuable.
"I hope they gather student input
because thestudentssee first-hand what
is going on in the classroom," said Erin
O'Brien, an LSA senior.
In a memo sent to LSA faculty,
Goldenberg announced that an assis-
tant to the dean will be appointed to
handle some LSA affairs while
Chamberlin is busy with the communi-
cation department.
"The assistant will do some things
I do and some things that just aren't
getting done," Chamberlin said.
Also, some faculty members are
unhappy that Andrea Press, women's
studies and communication lecturer,
will be flown in from Illinois for weekly
meetings, an added expense on the
University budget.
Despite these concerns, Press is
worth the expense, Price said. "(Press)
has been involved in critical studies at
the University. Her membership on the
council will provide us with a lot ('I
insight. It's a sensible arrangement as
far asI can see."

Up, up and away
Children scurry to pop a soap bubble between the Modern Language Bu
and the Michigan League on Monday evening.

I

mSS
Continued from page 1
the pow-wow willgoahead as planned
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backfromthe actualorganizationofthe
event, Dashner hopes to contribute.
Dean of Students Royster Harper
said several factors contributed to the
decision to transfer Dashner and
Robinson. They both will have the
opportunity to connect their talents t
other areas, while they are opening
positionsinMinorityStudentsServices,
Harpersaid. "We also don't want any-
one toget pigeonholedin aposition."
A committee of students, fac-
ulty and staff will begin to search
for replacements for both Robinson
and Dashner in September. Harper
said she feels that it is in the office's
best interest to wait until the fa~l
term so that the students will be
fairly represented.
Harper recognized the situation
as a Catch 22. "If we are going to
maintain integrity to student involve-
ment, then we must be temporarily at
a loss. We'll have to be creative and
scramble a bit," Harper said.
Harper emphasized that these
changes arein personnel only. A com-
mitteeinthefall willmakesuggestion
abouthow Minority Students Services
can betterservethestudents, but there
are no definite changes within the
office planned for the near future.

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