Journalism


Why Major in the Arts of Communication at Park University?

From John Lofflin, department chair / print journalist

A colleague once asked me an interesting question. She was headed out to judge a debate tournament and thought she might be answering questions from college-bound high school students. "Why major in communication arts at Park University?" she asked. I'd like to share my answer with you.

At first I had a lot of high-minded ideas. However, this one extremely practical idea kept barking at me:

Hands-on, hands-on, hands-on!

That seemed right. So I said to my colleague, "Tell them this...

"If you want to do journalism, you'll be knee-deep in the student newspaper a month after you arrive. You may be filling air-shifts on the radio by October. If you want to learn about photography, you'll know where the lab key is hidden by Fall Break. Hands-on!

"Your hands...

"If you're interested in doing public relations or if communication theory and human relations is your cup, you'll be doing all these newspaper, radio and television things if you like, and more. You'll be the human energy behind the "Communication Connection," planning the next Communication Week and working to interest the rest of us in doing good work in the community through your next service project. Hands-on.

"Your hands...

"You'll be learning from people who do what they teach. For example, the guy who teaches feature writing (me) may well be working out the problems of a magazine lede in his head while he talks to you about writing the lede for your own feature story. If he rags you about not missing deadlines, he is probably up against a deadline himself.

"The professor who works with you filming the Northland News may have only recently returned from some far-flung place like Azerbaijan where he taught broadcasting on his second Fulbright Fellowship.

"The teachers who lead you through the fascinating ideas of public information and the nature of human communication and interactions see themselves nurturing the community leaders of tomorrow. They are pioneering new thinking about motivation and leadership in an information-driven global environment.

"See, what makes this place special is simple. The folks who teach the arts of communication at Park University have both feet in the communications community. And, their students have both feet and both hands in Park University.

"We really care about teaching. Teaching isn't just something we do to earn the right to go to conferences and present papers. We really care, one-to-one, about what you learn. We think about teaching, study teaching, agonize over teaching, every day.

"We'll know your name almost before you know ours.

"Make no mistake about it; you'll change while you're at Park. You'll find out about yourself, you'll become more confident, you'll gather and perfect skills, you'll read and write on levels you've never imagined. You'll test your ideas and entertain new ideas, and the environment will be safe to express what you think and feel. Education at Park is an adventure (as is the search for a parking space). Our common delight is watching students—watching you— blossom into learners and thinkers.

"The curriculum is malleable and dynamic. We bend and twist the curriculum to fit your needs, your dreams; we don't bend and twist you to fit the curriculum. You'll be enrolled in a program, not just a list of courses. That means some of your most important learning will happen in the hall between classes or late night on the student newspaper or drinking coffee in Pirate Grounds. You'll be part of something that lives well past the classroom.

"We will, though, ask you to give something back. You'll be part of a learning community and your energy, excitement and hard work will contribute to that community, will be necessary for that community to breathe and grow. You won't be customers, you won't just drop in, you won't be pulling up to the drive-through window. Here, you'll be a hands-on participant. You'll be a vital part of something alive and kicking."