The University Record, January 30, 1995

Rackham will continue to admit grad students in communication for 1995–96

By Julie Peterson
News and Information Services

The Executive Board of the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies voted Jan. 25 to continue admitting students to the master’s degree program in journalism pending the findings of a Universitywide committee.

The board met to consider the implications of recommendations issued two weeks ago by an LS&A faculty committee regarding the Department of Communication.

The Rackham board accepted the committee’s recommendation that the graduate program in journalism be continued for 1995–96. Admission will continue for those students who can complete the journalism requirements for their program during the coming academic year.

Provost Gilbert R. Whitaker Jr. has appointed a committee to explore the long-term feasibility of continuing a graduate program in journalism, its intellectual agenda, and an appropriate academic home. The committee also is charged with investigating the steps necessary to implement such a program as well as the costs, “assuming that the full advantage is taken of work already offered at the University.” It has been asked to issue a report by mid-June.

The committee will be chaired by Robert A. Weisbuch, associate vice president for research, Graduate School associate dean and professor of English. Other committee members are: Susan J. Ashford, interim associate dean, School of Business Administration, and associate professor of human resource management and organizational behavior; Daniel E. Atkins, dean, School of Information and Library Studies; Nicholas F. Delbanco, professor of English; Charles R. Eisendrath, associate professor of communication and director, Michigan Journalism Fellows Program; Edward M. Gramlich, professor of economics and public policy and director, Institute for Public Policy Studies; John W. Kingdon, professor of political science; and Terrance Sandalow, the Edson R. Sunderland Professor of Law. In addition, an external group of alumni and others will be formed to serve as a sounding board for the committee.

“The Provost’s charge to the new committee is appropriately broad,” said Graduate School Dean John H. D’Arms. “The Rackham board focused on the much narrower question of admitting students to the M.A. program for the coming year. The board agreed that to continue admissions was appropriate, but newly admitted students will need to complete their journalism requirements for the M.A. within that period.”

However, the Rackham board voted to temporarily suspend admissions to the master’s program in telecommunication arts. The LS&A faculty committee recommended that the master’s program, along with undergraduate courses in film and video, be transferred to LS&A’s Program in Film and Video Studies. The program will be headed by a new director beginning in the fall.

“The faculty of that program and its new director need an opportunity to consider carefully the master’s program in light of its new home, and to develop a plan for its content and focus,” D’Arms said. “We are very positive about its future, and we do not expect the moratorium on admissions to continue longer than one year. But we think it wise that no new students be admitted to a program that is likely to change.”

The board also accepted the LS&A committee’s recommendations regarding the Ph.D. program in communication. Plans call for expanding the program in breadth and depth, and eventually shifting it from an interdepartmental program under the auspices of the Graduate School to a program based in the newly constituted Department of Communication Studies.