In the Communication Arts department, we mentor our students to appreciate a liberal arts education focusing on communication to enhance their personal and professional interpersonal relationships. Theoretical understandings lead to practical applications as students consider their future careers, ethical leadership and intercultural knowledge. We teach courses in theatre and theatre history, public relations, media studies, gender and women’s studies, communication ethics, play writing and directing.
Alongside a broad education in communication arts we also offer students the ability to focus on a more specific field of study. After completing introductory courses in Communication Arts, our majors may choose an area of emphasis to further enhance their understanding and skills in Media Studies, Public Relations, or Theatre. Because of their exposure to a wide knowledge base, students gain experiences that provide historical insights, theoretical literacy, and practical opportunities in the communication arts, helping them forge their own identities and paths forward.
Beyond the Classroom
Our students gain additional experience through department-sponsored programming and off-campus internships to supplement their coursework. We work one-on-one with our students to develop career and internship applications, critical research methods, interview best practices, presentation skills, portfolio building, and networking strategy.
The W&J Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) is a vibrant campus group of students interested in networking with professionals in the PR industry and learning about future careers. Students become engaged leaders and learn how to delegate, manage and create PR content for local non profit originations.
In the theatre, students perform, design sets, stage manage, or hone their writing skills by participating in Student Theatre Company productions. Student work assistants coordinate events for the department, and gain experience writing copy and managing communication arts social media accounts.
Experiential learning occurs live, each day at 91.7 FM WNJR, the College’s FCC licensed noncommercial educational radio station. WNJR broadcasts 24 hours a day, featuring an eclectic format of music. Student broadcasters have the freedom to produce a diverse range of independent programming, including talk shows on a variety of topics including sports call-in shows, country music live performances, and college student issues. Students learn and apply skills like interviewing and recording, which are applicable to careers in traditional radio as well as the fast-growing, innovative field of podcasting.
Because our electives and emphases are so varied, Communication Arts majors find internships off campus in a wide range of organizations and fields. Students develop skills in fundraising, donor relations, sports analysis, nonprofit event planning, judicial advocacy, digital production, and web writing. Students have interned at Ford Theatre in Washington, D.C.; MTV; CNN; the Pittsburgh Penguins; CASA; UPMC Health Plan; Mylan Pharmaceuticals; and the Washington Wild Things, as well as in local school districts.
With so many opportunities as students, our alumni go on to attend prestigious graduate programs; work in theatres as actors, writers, or managers; become public relations professionals, social media managers, or sports information directors; produce and write for news stations; or go into grant writing or development. Our career preparedness includes hosting networking events with program alumni, scheduling resume and cover letter workshops, , offering reference for employers, and portfolio building mentorship.
Some alumni incorporate skills from all areas to build their dream careers. In his role as Guest Coordinator for CBS This Morning, Cole Grecco ’18 builds on a career sparked by an internship with CBS that he completed while still a student at W&J.