EDITORIAL | Eng-Com split leaves majors with sour taste

By Amanda Finnegan
March 8, 2007

As college students, we are constantly being bombarded by family and friends with the same age-old questions. It’s the old, “Where do you go to school again?” followed by, “What are you majoring in?”

All we editors on the Loquitur can proudly respond, “English and communication,” which usually triggers a “Wow. You’re a double major?” from the other end. No, it’s no double major but leading people to believe it is, is just one of the many perks of being an English and communication major. The English and communication department is the only major on campus which lets majors have the best of both worlds; literature and writing with a professional twist.

But as the fall 2007-2008 academic year rolls around, incoming students will no longer be able to reap the benefits of the English and communication major due to the split of the English and communication department. Along with the split came the retirement of the studio art major and the merging of the fine arts and graphic design departments. These decisions were made solely based on the recommendations by the college administration.

As current English and communication majors, we see things internally. To us, why fix something that isn’t broken?

The English and communication majors are exposed to all aspects in the field. Communications is not just public relations and advertising. It’s journalism, editing, publishing, teaching and so much more. Writing is a part of a communication major’s everyday life, regardless of the career.

The Loquitur is a direct product and prime example of how well English and communication work together. We are not only well-prepared in writing to go out into the work world, but we have acquired the necessary professional skills as well. No one department could achieve such a feat on its own.

One point that has been brought up is that having communication majors with little literary knowledge in high-level English courses doesn’t allow the class to reach a potential that English majors might expect. Yet, isn’t the point of college for it to be a learning experience and aren’t the point of classes for everyone to flourish and to contribute? Should students be banned from taking any course that is outside of their major because they will bring down the intelligence level of the class?

Students were asked “If I were to choose a college again, I would major in a department that offered English only, communication only, a combined English and communication department, or some other major entirely.” Of the 164 students who answered this question, about two-thirds would choose the combined English and communication department again. The major has graduated the largest number of students in the past three years and is the third largest major among incoming students. Dr. Jerry Zurek, chair of the combined department, was named Pennsylvania professor of the year in 2005.

The statistics stand alone. The administration should have asked faculty and students how they felt about splitting the department. There is more than one opinion at Cabrini.

The English and communication major is what distinguishes us from other colleges. With a school so concerned about their image, you think they would have thought twice about the split.

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Amanda Finnegan

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