Convergent Media Major


Bluffton to offer new communication major

To better prepare students for the ever-changing landscape of careers in the media, Bluffton University’s department of communication and theatre is creating a new convergent media major. The major will prepare communication professionals to produce and manage content across multiple platforms including: print, radio, the internet, television and social media. The goal is to give student the tools to better tell stories in formats that best meet the needs of a 21st century audience. The new major will be offered beginning in the 2016-17 academic year.

“Media professionals are no longer relegated to a single channel of communication, and the convergent media major will prepare students to be successful in today’s converging digital landscape by providing a strong theoretical framework while developing practical skills for communicating across multiple media platforms,” said Marathana Prothro, assistant professor of communication.

Several minors will be created through the change including minors in: media studies, media production, journalism, public relations and church communication. The convergent media major will replace the broadcasting and journalism and public relations majors.  Students currently enrolled in these majors will have the choice to continue with their current major or switch to the convergent media major.

“The addition of the convergent media major will position graduates well to secure employment as content managers, creative managers, reporters, educators, public relations specialists or social media coordinators,” said Prothro.

Along with the new major, new classes have been developed for the communication and theatre department including social media, crisis communication, advanced media writing, influence and compliance gaining, and digital campaigns and analytics.

Along with the typical communication and media classes, the convergent media major will include courses from the English, art and technology departments to allow students to network across the borders within the university. Students will be required to take a convergent media practicum which will allow students to earn professional and realistic media experience.

“The convergent media major, as well as several of the new minors, build on the expertise of our colleagues in the art, technology, English, marketing and religion departments, highlighting the value we place on an interdisciplinary, liberal arts orientation for our students,” said Dr. Melissa Friesen, professor and chair of the communication and theatre department.