Ad, PR still to move to Department of Communication

Monica Kast

The merger of the advertising, public relations and pop culture departments with the communication department will still occur this year, despite being removed from a recent Board of Regents meeting agenda, according to university administrators.

At the most recent Board of Regents committee meetings, “approval to create the School of Communication through merger of programs in Department of Communication with Advertising, Public Relations and Popular Culture” was listed as an action item.

A revised agenda was posted days before the committee meetings, removing the item from the academic affairs committee’s agenda.

At the meeting, David Lee, provost and vice president, briefly discussed the reason for the change to the agenda.

“We are withdrawing this for now,” Lee said. “We’ll have some further discussions, but are not bringing it to the Board at this time.”

According to Larry Snyder, dean of Potter College, this does not affect the timeline of the merger. Snyder said questions were raised about the proposal, and it was decided to revise the proposal.

“Talking with the Provost ahead of the Board meeting, we decided that we probably needed a little more conversation … and perhaps needed to revise our proposal in such a way as to give a little bit more detail about how not only this was going to affect the proposed School of Communication, but how it might affect the School of Journalism and Broadcasting,” Snyder said.

However, Snyder said the removal of the action item “doesn’t affect the proposed marriage of the programs.”

“The only thing that was pulled was the establishment of the new school,” Snyder said. “The programs moving are still moving.”

Snyder said as of now, a new school has not been created, and the advertising, public relations and pop culture departments will move into the department of communication. According to Snyder, creating a new school is a “different way of labeling,” and determines things like fundraising and marketing for the school.

According to Helen Sterk, department head of communication, curriculum for the new school and merged departments will be written and revised this summer, then enter the university approval process. Sterk said if approved, the new curriculum would be implemented for the fall 2018 semester.

Sterk also said students “finish under the catalog of the calendar year in which they begin,” but incoming students can choose to follow the new curriculum.

“I think that this is going to be a great opportunity for WKU students,” Sterk said.

Sterk said the new school would have reduced hours and prerequisites for the majors.

“The intent was so that students could double major across the new college,” Sterk said.

According to Snyder, on July 1, 2017, faculty members from the advertising, public relations and pop culture departments will become faculty in the department of communication. Snyder said that a new proposal for approval of the school would go before the Board of Regents at one of its next two meetings.

Snyder said he does not see the removal from the agenda or the revision of the proposal as “crisis,” and the timeline for the merger is not affected.

“We continue to feel very excited,” Snyder said of the merger. 

Reporter Monica Kast can be reached at 270-745-0655 or [email protected]