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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    What’s in a name?

    The UA Department of Journalism has officially changed its name to the UA School of Journalism after about an eight-month appeal process.

    “”All of our peer institutions are either schools or colleges of journalism,”” said Jacqueline Sharkey, director of the School of Journalism. “”The scope of our program, the depth of our program both in teaching, research and service is deep enough and broad enough that we really felt that we had to have the designation of a school rather than simply a department.””

    The name change will have a direct impact on journalism students, because it should assist them when it comes to applying for internships and jobs, Sharkey said.

    “”Because we offer an education and research and service activities that are on a par with the top schools and colleges of journalism around the country, having the designation of a school would enable our students to be more competitive for national internships and jobs,”” Sharkey said. “”(It would also) help in our ongoing effort to recruit the best graduate and undergraduate students and faculty in the country.””

    Kate Harrison, UA School of Journalism program coordinator, said the overall size of the department necessitated the name change.

    “”We have over 630 majors and pre-majors, and almost all of the schools whom we consider our peers in journalism are either schools or colleges,”” Harrison said.

    Besides the simple aesthetics of the name change, Sharkey said the new name will make the school of journalism eligible for national grants that it has been excluded from in the past.

    “”We have found that there are certain types of major grants that only schools and colleges can apply for – that is, departments are not eligible to apply for,”” Sharkey said.

    Jocelyn Bresnick, a journalism junior, said she thinks the name change could make a difference in how the journalism program is viewed by the rest of the country.

    “”Indiana University – their school is pretty much just like ours (in) the way that it is structured. They have a school of journalism,”” Bresnick said. “”I feel like that is a little more prestigious, actually.””

    Sharkey said that while the name change will not increase university funding, it should help to increase outside donations.

    “”It may make a difference in our ability to do fundraising,”” Sharkey said. “”Schools of journalism have the kind of wide-ranging programs that employers and donors recognize as being cutting edge – very much professionally focused with a great deal of multimedia focus.””

    In the end, the name change is simply that – a name change, Sharkey said.

    “”The only physical changes will be that we will change the identification plaque from department head to school director and our business cards will have to be changed,”” Sharkey said. “”In terms of will there be any cost to this change? No.””

    Bresnick said she thinks that the change could help to attract more high-end prospective students.

    “”I know that if I were applying and I heard, ‘Oh, you know it is a separate school. It’s the school of journalism,’ I probably would have been more attracted to it,”” Bresnick said.

    Sharkey agreed that the increased prestige of being called a school should make the program more attractive to both students and faculty.

    “”To be a school is definitely going to be an advantage, because again, the perception of what schools and colleges do in journalism education is different than what a department does in many cases,”” Sharkey said. “”Our work is the work done by a major unit like a school or a college. Having the designation that reflects what we do is very important and is going to be meaningful in our recruiting efforts.””

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