Inside Rensselaer
Volume 6, No. 9, May 11, 2012

HASS Announces “Department of Communication and Media” Name Change

President Shirley Ann Jackson has announced an important change in the name of a department in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS).

“After extensive review and deliberation by Dean Mary Simoni and the HASS faculty, the Department of Language, Literature, and Communication will change its name, and now be recognized as the Department of Communication and Media,” President Jackson said, in a memo announcing the change. “This change, which is effective immediately, will enable the department to continue its tradition as an internationally recognized department for interdisciplinary education, research, and theory development, while looking to its future through a new perspective.”

“This change reflects the greater integration of emerging 21st-century forms of communication—digital, social media, graphic, visual—in the program.” —Mary Simoni

HASS Dean Mary Simoni said the new name is more representative of the true scope of the department’s work.

“This change reflects the greater integration of emerging 21st-century forms of communication—digital, social media, graphic, visual—in the program,” Simoni said. “Faculty and students within the Department of Communication and Media look to the full range of media, both traditional and technological,
in creating a powerful message through their work.”

For almost 60 years, Rensselaer faculty and students have explored the relationship between communication and technology.  In 1953, Rensselaer established the world’s first Master of Science program in Technical Writing. In 1965, the Institute established the Ph.D. in Communication and Rhetoric.

The new department name encompasses the wide range of disciplinary perspectives within the department, which include writing for new media environments, digital rhetoric, cultural studies, human-computer interaction, multimodal communication, graphic design, media studies,
and computer-mediated communication.

The department offers a B.S. in Communication, and a B.S. in Electronic Media, Arts, and Communication, a program offered jointly with the Department of the Arts. The graduate programs include an M.S. in Technical Communication, M.S. in Human-Computer Interaction, and a Ph.D. in Communication and Rhetoric. The department also offers courses that are part of Rensselaer’s Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences program. The programs in the Department of Communication and Media prepare students to understand traditional and emerging communication technologies from a variety of literary and cultural perspectives.

The new name facilitates promising research partnerships across the Institute in areas such as the visualization and sonification of complex data and multimodal communication, and creates a strategic alliance, under The Rensselaer Plan, with the Institute’s signature research thrusts in computation and information technology, and media, arts, science, and technology.

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 6, Number 9, May 11, 2012
©2012 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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