Mount Royal revamps J-school

By Kyle Francis

As a rule, universities don’t offer specific career training, but rather tend to focus on the theory of whichever vocation you have chosen to pursue. Although it’s possible that some people are here for the sole purpose of expanding their minds, new post-degree options are becoming available to those of us with an interest in something like, say journalism.

“A good education, by whatever means it happens, is important,” said Terry Field, the Chair of the Journalism program at Mount Royal College. “I think that the post-degree certificate that we’re offering is an ideal vehicle for people with a BA to get into the industry of journalism, or even for those who are simply interested in understanding better how journalism works”

The post-degree “Bachelors of Applied Communications-Journalism” certification available at MRC is a one year program, aimed at providing those with an academic background an opportunity to get a working knowledge of the journalistic trade, whatever their drive is to attain such knowledge.

“I think that’s an excellent idea,” said Dr. Douglas Brent, Associate Dean of the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Communication and Culture, about MRC’s post-degree certificate. “The person would come away with a university degree which allows them a lot of flexibility, and then a specific specialization in the career that they’re interested in.”

The options presented to students at MRC for journalism, or indeed anything in the communications studies center, are made all the more saccharine but the fact that MRC is quickly becoming one of the top schools for journalism nationally, if not globally.

Last year, the college injected a considerable sum of money into the communications center in order to improve the program.

Basically, MRC decided that it would spend some money to centralize all communications studies programs.

“We added additional labs, a few new studios for radio and things like that, and a few new classrooms,” stated field. “It was mostly just a relocation of our current programs to a more central location, and then augmenting them with some new equipment, classrooms and things like that.”

Dr. Brent was that the U of C will not attempt to position itself in such a way to gain prominence in the communications field.

“The closest thing we have is our Communications Studies program,” he said. “The difference between it and a formal journalism program is that we think of it as a broadly-based liberal arts communications degree. It does have practical applications, people go from it into journalism, public relations, corporate communications, and all sorts of communication-based fields, but they can also take it into administration, management, things that may seem quite unrelated.

“What we’re emphasizing is flexibility rather than specific career training,” he added. “If somebody had a specific end to do journalism as such, I would certainly recommend Mount Royal, but if they wanted something more broadly flexible that could get them into a wider variety of areas, that’s what we can offer.”

With the center for communications studies at MRC steadily becoming more and more of a force to be reckoned with, the recognition the center is receiving across the academic board and the college’s planned move over to university status, it certainly looks as if MRC will become even more of a major player in the communication studies game in the near future. In this light, if you find yourself drawn toward journalism either by active interest in practicing the trade, MRC’s program is certainly a tantalizing option.

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