Fairfield University announces new M.A in Communication


Fairfield University is announcing a new Master of Arts degree program in Communication (pending State of Connecticut Board of Higher Education approval.) The new communication graduate program will join the roster of Fairfield's 34 other graduate programs. Applications for admission are now being accepted for classes that will begin in January, 2009. The M.A. in Communication will be offered through the Department of Communication in the College of Arts and Sciences and will be directed by James Shanahan, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the Department of Communication.

"Communication increasingly pervades all aspects of modern life. Our program will seek to create understanding of the possibilities for better communication across various personal, social, organizational and cultural contexts," Dr. Shanahan said. "Our students will be prepared to act as leaders, seeking communication solutions to social problems and creating opportunities for developing human potential through communication." Dr. Shanahan, who taught at Cornell University before joining the Fairfield faculty last year, has conducted research on the social impact of the mass media and public opinion, with special areas of focus on communication in relation to science and the environment.

Surveys from professionals in all fields consistently rank communication skills as the most important factor in hiring and promotion decisions. Today, the study of communication can enhance the leadership skills and organizational abilities for those in any profession, in addition to preparing students for doctoral study in a field with a very healthy academic job market. An M.A. degree in Communication can lead to advancement in careers in many areas of business and industry, in the healthcare sector, at all levels of education, in the media and communication industries, within the non-profit sector, and in public life.

The study of communication has been a component of Jesuit education since its beginning, in which rhetoric was an important part of the curriculum. The new Master of Arts program continues and expands upon that tradition, emphasizing theory, research and application and the ways in which ethical communication values and practices can help guide individuals, groups, organizations and society toward more effective communication.

Each student will work individually with a faculty advisor to tailor a curriculum that supports personal, professional, and academic goals. The program consists of 36 credits: 9 credits in foundational courses; 21 elective credits; and a thesis or capstone project, totaling at least 6 credits. Courses are planned to accommodate the demanding schedules of most graduate students.

In 2005, an M.A. in Organizational Communication for corporate employees was developed by the Communication Department in collaboration with University College at Fairfield University. This program brings graduate classes in communication to students at or near their offices at Cartus (formerly Cendant Mobility), Sikorsky Aircraft, and Prudential.

For more detailed program and admission information, prospective students should go to www.fairfield.edu/gradcomm or call (203) 254-4184 or toll-free (888)488-6840.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on May 21, 2008

Vol. 40, No. 266