By: Abigail Frye
The University of Findlay will be introducing the new online Master of Arts in Professional Communication Program (MAPC) next semester. The program will be offered year-round, starting with three classes in the fall of 2018.
The planning for this program began around three years ago with Dr. Ron Tulley, dean of College of Liberal Arts and professor of English, Dr. Elkie Burnside, assistant professor of English and director of the Master of Arts in Professional Communication Program, and Dr. Cheri Hampton-Farmer, associate professor of Communication and chair of the Department of Communication. The group focused on how it could fit into UF’s curriculum.
Hampton-Farmer says the first three proposal processes were approved internally with the next two being external approvals. The internal proposals took about two years while the external took up to nine months, leading to a lengthy process of approvals for MAPC. The idea originated from the requests of students and the need for a program for all kinds of people in different places in their lives.
“We wanted an opportunity to help those people, like the nontraditional students, or the ones who are already working and don’t have time to sit in class,” said Hampton-Farmer.
Hampton-Farmer also explains how these classes will be about helping students who are already professionals and want to reach higher positions to find more fulfillment.
“Anybody can do this at any time in their life, with family and work, the accessibility is there,” added Hampton-Farmer.
The program was also not a costly decision for UF, according to Burnside.
“With excellent support from ITS and library, along with adjusting the staff load, we’re not adding a lot to the University as the resources are already there,” said Burnside.
Hampton-Farmer and Burnside both say that this program can help students in the Findlay community along with others all around the country.
“More and more employers need critical thinkers, they want someone who can learn the process that is specific to their company, and the skills they learn here will help them connect with companies and be able to learn through the business,” said Burnside.
“The communications skills they learn are transferable so it’s hard to pinpoint one job,because everyone uses communication in their work, so we’re helping people get better at what they’re already doing,” added Hampton-Farmer.
With this program being brand new to the University, there are many hopes that it will thrive. “Successful programs like the Master of arts in rhetoric and writing in the English department acted as a model for us, and by working with marketing and admissions to have a solid pace, our goal is 12-15 students next fall,” said Burnside.
The Master of Arts in Professional Communication Program will contain different topic courses, including team building in health professions and team building across disciplines. For this program, students are required to a have bachelors degree from an accredited institution, a cumulative GPA of 3.0 on 4.0 scale, two letters of recommendation and a personal statement. For more information, the admissions office contains all standard and conditional requirements for MAPC.
“We wanted to make something unique with thorough research, something no one else is doing in this way, as some programs aren’t fully online,” said Hampton-Farmer. “We’ve aligned learning objectives with the National Communication Association and we plan to get the program approved and endorsed by Quality Matters.”