New master’s program could make GW communication ‘destination’

Media Credit: Alyssa Bogosian | Hatchet Photographer

Clay Warren, the chair of the organizational sciences and communication department, said a new master's program in communication management will set GW apart.

GW hopes to become a national leader in communication with a new master’s program.

The Columbian College of Arts and Sciences will launch a new master’s degree program in communication management next academic year. Clay Warren, the chair of the organizational sciences and communication department, said the program will set GW apart by giving students new educational opportunities by combining leadership and communication strategies in a growing field.

The new degree will be an interdisciplinary program – one of GW’s top priorities – between organizational sciences and communication that teaches how to use messaging within and across organizations.

GW is one of the first colleges to offer a communication management master’s program and will be the first institution with the degree on the East Coast, which gives the University the chance to be “on the front end of the wave,” Warren said.

“It has a lot of potential. There aren’t many people doing it, and the people who are doing it have had great success, so we are going to do it at GW,” Warren said.

Warren added he hopes to create a dual undergraduate and graduate degree for communication management within the next few years.

Meina Liu, an associate professor of communication, will be the first director of the program. She declined to comment.

Warren said the department’s decision to bring this program to GW came easily after looking into what other organizational sciences and communication programs were focusing on.

“We did a little research across the country and so forth, and found that communication management is one of the newer things that seems to have a really bright future,“ Warren said.

GW’s new program will be taught primarily by existing communication faculty, but the organizational sciences faculty will also be assisting heavily in the instruction.

Communication professor Kristin Pariera, who will teach in the master’s program, said that after looking at the success of similar degrees at other institutions, the department is hopeful it will elevate its status as leader in communication.

“We’re excited to grow our department in a way that offers more options to our great students, and brings in new thinkers from around the world,” Pariera said.

The program will be a master’s of arts degree that includes courses like communication theory, research methods in communication and persuasion. Students will also have access to other graduate level classes taught at GW.

Many of these courses, like Leadership Communication and Organizational and Communication Networks, will be entirely new to the program while others exist at the undergraduate level, but have been altered to suit the needs of the graduate program.

Jean Miller, a professor of communication who will teach in the master’s program, said she expects that more students will seek out GW for their postgraduate educations because the degree teaches students how to communicate better in their chosen fields.

“The addition of this program will complement existing programs to make GW an even more attractive destination for professionals seeking to enhance their understanding of communication processes within their fields,” Miller said in an email.

A review of the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California found that the number of applicants to their communication management master’s program is the school’s most popular graduate-level communication program.

Director of the Communication Management Master’s Program at the Annenberg School, Rebecca Weintraub, said the program was so popular because it prepares students for a variety of work in “organizations of all kinds like public, private, nonprofit” with experiences in market research and digital strategy.

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