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Communication Major Now Offered at Frederick Campus

Rebecca McDermott
Graduate Assistant, College of Liberal Arts

mck feature

Assistant Professor Mary Catherine Kennedy, Ph.D., is among the faculty teaching communication courses at the Frederick campus.

The Communication Department has introduced several communication courses and announced the addition of a bachelor’s degree in communication at the Mount’s Frederick campus. This new degree program gives adult learners another way to achieve their academic and career goals. The program also provides a transfer pathway for communication or liberal arts graduates of Frederick Community College. In addition, students who begin the program on the Mount’s Frederick campus may transition to main campus while preserving core credits and financial aid.

comm-in-text.pngSome of the courses offered in Summer 2020 included crisis communication, public speaking and introduction to public relations.  Media writing and social media courses are being offered this fall. Communication majors learn skills such as targeted writing, public speaking and critical thinking.  They learn how to respond to the unexpected, design time-sensitive messages and communicate interpersonally.   

Courses offered at the Frederick campus serve adult learners who are continuing their education  and completing their degrees while they work. They also support recent community college graduates, visiting students and professionals looking to take career development courses.  Traditional undergraduate students can also can take core communication classes offered by the Frederick campus over the summer if they are looking to catch up or get ahead in the major. This is possible because the summer courses are taught on an accelerated timeline of five or eight weeks.

Assistant Professor Mary Catherine Kennedy, Ph.D., who has a loyal following among students on main campus, has been teaching courses in Frederick this semester.  A dedicated communication professor, Kennedy sees the benefits of introducing the major to a new setting.  “Bringing the major to the Frederick campus,” she said, “allows us to offer critical skills to a different student population.”  It also provides career training for students attracted to the liberal arts.

The Mount’s communication major uses a hands-on approach to introduce students to a wide range of transferable skills.  It thus opens doors to a variety of careers in a number of industries.  Some of the positions Mount students have obtained upon graduation include media coordinator, video producer, photographer, event coordinator, social media coordinator, communication specialist and news producer. Mount Communication graduates have gone on to work for companies such as Disney Streaming Services, the Holocaust Museum, Michael Kors, Fox News Radio, the Cardinal Newman Society, the Brooklyn Nets, the Seton Shrine, Catoctin Breeze Vineyard and IHeartRadio.

Because many students who will enroll are already working professionals, the Frederick program is designed to be extremely flexible so students will be able to pick classes that best fit their needs. They will also be able to obtain value-added, on-campus and internship opportunities and apply them to their professional lives.  Kennedy explained, “We teach applied skills like how to write a press release or create social media posts, while developing a better understanding about the audiences we communicate with and the motivations for those groups to respond to the messages we send.”

The program exposes students to a wide range of courses, from crisis communication to public relations to gender communication. In each course, students are taught concepts that they can apply to their professional lives, such as copyediting, blogging and public speaking. They learn to craft effective press releases, social media posts and speeches.  By understanding the audiences they aim to reach, Mount communication majors also know which channels in any situation can set you apart from the crowd. 

Former communication major and editor of the campus newspaper, The Mountain Echo, Cassie Mann, C’19, is fully aware of the opportunities she gained from the major. “I felt completely confident and prepared when it came time to enter the workforce,” she said, “I was taking on experiences that went beyond just the textbook.” She now is able to apply those experiences in her career as a communication specialist at Allegis Global Solutions. From working as an editor, to learning how to lead a team of writers, to presenting events on behalf of the department, to networking with others, Mann was able to apply what she learned in her communication courses to her professional life.

The introduction of the major at the Frederick campus offers a new way for students to immerse themselves in this fast-paced, exciting field.  Communication skills are in high demand, and the messages we send impact the daily lives of others, especially in the professional world. “By understanding audiences, how to carefully craft messages for different audiences, and determining which mediums are the most effective for the message to be understood,” Kennedy explained, “communication students are situated well for careers in a variety of fields.” 

Rebecca McDermott
Graduate Assistant, College of Liberal Arts