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UNF Board of Trustees Approves School of Communication Designation

The Department of Communication at the University of North Florida has been officially designated a School of Communication in the College of Arts and Sciences. The Board of Trustees approved the name change March 14 during a regularly scheduled meeting.


"The name change reflects the increasing size, importance and scope of the program," said Dr. John Parmelee, director of the School of Communication and professor of journalism.


Now with a new name, the School of Communication hopes to expand its program offerings in the future and increase not only the quantity of students but also the quality of students it attracts to the program.


"Becoming the School of Communication will help in several ways in terms of recruiting top students and faculty, increasing employment opportunities for graduates, and assisting with fundraising," Parmelee said.


The School of Communication, which boasts the second largest major on campus, is one of just four communication programs in the state of Florida to be accredited. The B.S. in Communication is accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.


The School also offers a B.A. in Communication Studies and a master's degree in communication management. The program features state-of-the-art facilities, including a high-definition television studio.


UNF communication students in the bachelor of science degree program, which has over a thousand undergraduates, are able to select one of four professionally oriented concentrations: advertising, multimedia journalism, digital video production and public relations.


Students have the opportunity to put the skills they've learned in the classroom to the test by engaging in community-based learning. For example, multimedia journalism students research and write stories for publications such as The Florida Times-Union, while journalism and production students produce "Inside Jacksonville," a monthly news show that airs on CW-17, as well as other television programming.


Digital video production students recently produced and screened documentaries for the "Uncovering Jax project," which examined the hidden black history of Jacksonville. Additionally, advertising and public relations students create fully planned campaigns for First Coast area non-profit organizations every semester.


The communication program assists students with their career goals through annual events like Media Week and the Internship + Job Fair, allowing students the opportunity to network with media professionals. It also offers student clubs and a mentorship program to help students build relationships and learn more about communication professions.


Over the years, the School of Communication has had success in the placement of its more than 5,000 graduates. Alumni work at CNN, The Washington Post, ESPN and Twitter as well as at advertising agencies, public relations firms, news outlets and production companies around Florida and beyond. Some alums are also teaching in the field at the university level in the U.S. and internationally.


The School of Communication is dedicated to the creation and dissemination of knowledge about human and mass-mediated communication processes through high-quality teaching, scholarship and service to the community.


UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.


History of the Communication Program at UNF

1973 - Literature-Communications major started in the then-Department of Language and Literature.


1983 - Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications is established.


1983 - Communication students win Silver Anvil Award from the Public Relations Society of America, which is the most prestigious national award in public relations.


1988 - Department of Communications and Visual Arts (CVA) is created.


2001 - The Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications is converted to a Bachelor of Science in Communication to align the academic unit with the widely accepted notion that mass communication is a social scientific discipline, and to respond to the growing local need for professional mass communication education.


2004 - CVA separates into two academic departments: The Department of Communication and the Department of Art and Design.


2009-2010 - The Department of Communication moves into its present building, which has state-of-the-art teaching and learning facilities and a HDTV television production center.


2013 - The Department of Communication creates Media Week, an annual event in which students interact with media professionals.


2017 - The B.S. in Communication is accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, making it one of just four communication programs in Florida to be accredited.


2017 - The M.S. in Communication Management and the B.A. in Communication Studies are established.


2019 - The Department of Communication is awarded the School of Communication designation.