“Major” Changes for Communication Department at SJC

July 10, 2014

Students entering Saint Joseph’s College now have two new degree options to consider. A Communication major with emphasis tracks in Theatre Arts and Communication and a Digital Media & Journalism major with emphasis tracks in Digital Production and Digital Journalism will begin in the 2014-15 fall semester.

“This is a response to the need for strong interpersonal communication skills and to the dynamic changes in the electronic media industries that call for skilled, multimedia professionals able to work in a variety of platforms,” said SJC Associate Professor of Communication and Chairman of the Communication Department Fred Berger. “Our alumni have provided valuable feedback about the value of multiplatform production and reporting skills, and research continues to point to the importance of interpersonal communication skills in the workplace.”

The new Digital Media & Journalism major allows students to emphasize Digital Media Production or Digital Journalism in their studies. The program change coincides with a converged campus newsroom project, where campus student media outlets combine their newsgathering staffs and share media using portable media devices and cloud-based storage.  

Students will learn digital media editing using industry standard software, such as Avid Pro Tools and Avid Media Composer, taught by faculty who include an Avid Certified Instructor. Additionally, social media continues to grow as a means for newsgathering, branding, and connecting with audiences.

SJC alumnus R. Efrain Ayala ’07, an account supervisor for Ogilvy & Mather in Chicago, emphasized the importance of the social media aspect of the program. 

“Today, it is the norm to tweet, post, share, and engage with peers, brands, and organizations online. To set students up to succeed, it is imperative to ensure they understand how the evolving digital and social landscape impacts behaviors of peers and organizations so they can bring value to future employers.”

The Digital Media and Journalism major will emphasize three elements: process, production, and storytelling. The major redesign is the result of three years’ worth of research among colleagues, alumni, and media outlets to determine the best way to prepare SJC students for real world challenges.

In the Communication major, students will have the opportunity to emphasize coursework such as public speaking, group, intercultural, interpersonal communication, and persuasion.

“Communication is always on the list of what people who do the hiring feel are the most important skills to possess,” said SJC Associate Professor of Communication and Theatre Arts John Rahe. “No matter what you do after graduation, communication is going to play a major role in what you do.” 

“A major in Communication offers students the opportunity to learn and practice skills that are endemic to successful personal relationships and professional success,” stated SJC Assistant Professor of Communication Dr. Rochelle Robertson ’93. “Ultimately, students who major in Communication are able to convey a personal and professional identity that is confident, compassionate, and charismatic.”

Named a "character-building college" by the Templeton Foundation, a "Best Midwestern College" by the Princeton Review, and “Best Value” and "Best Midwestern College" by US News & World Report, Saint Joseph's College is a four-year, Catholic college offering 27 majors, 4 group majors, 35 minors, and 9 pre-professional programs, complemented by the nationally acclaimed Core Program. Founded and sponsored by the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, SJC is located in Rensselaer, Indiana, approximately 90 minutes from both Chicago and Indianapolis, on a park-like campus of 180 acres and has an enrollment of nearly 1,200 students.

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Explore the Core
  • SJC Education Students in the field

    Start Your Major Freshman Year

    Like Elementary Education major Brittany Cooper ’12, you start your major as soon as you walk in the door, so you will have four years of knowledge and experience in your field.You can even change your mind about your major and still graduate on time with lots of experience.

    Core and the major work in harmony to develop the cognitive skills requisite for success in a competitive, global society. Students better understand the forces that shape the future by exploring the past. They discuss contemporary events; analyze the impact of science on our understanding of humanity and the universe; and investigate diverse cultures and world civilizations. 

  • Professor Fred and Sally Berger at Graduation


    Small colleges offer you personal attention; SJC professors, such as Communication Professors Fred and Sally Berger, do more for you—they serve as mentors. Studies show that having a mentor leads to success in your field. Alumni often tell us how their professors not only played a major role in their success, but also became lifelong friends.  If you are undecided about what to major in, we help you decide.

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    In the Core Program, you will be inspired to debate, analyze, and solve problems. Discussion of culture and society, the modern world, and Christian Humanism are just a few highlights of the Program. New perspectives will be gained, your worldview will expand, and you will graduate from SJC as a well rounded, highly marketable person.

  • Visiting Chinese Students


    You get more deeply involved at SJC, so you get more meaningful experiences that prepare you for career and life. LaMichelle Sanders ’14, for example, has spent two summers helping Chinese study abroad students adapt to life in the U.S. and at SJC. If you want to start a club or activity that doesn’t exist, we encourage you to start one. At SJC, prepare yourself for what you want to do in life.

  • Hoop House student workers

    Real-life Skills

    Because of the skills you develop by having the Core Program interact with your major for four years in addition to internships, job shadowing, and service learning, you get hands-on experience in preparation for your career or graduate school. Students Hanna Kane ’14, Emily Baird ’15, and Alyssa Guarnaccia ’14 collect food in the SJC hoophouse to be distributed on campus. You will also get four years of analytical, writing, and speaking skills that will serve you well for the rest of your life.

  • Images of Students

    Start Your Major Freshman Year

    Get a jump start on your career and have your resume ready to go at graduation.  

  • Images of Students


    Small colleges offer you personal attention; SJC professors do more for you—they serve as mentors.

  • Images of Students

    High Quality Academics

    The Core Program is all about you and your role in the world.


  • Images of Students


    You get more deeply involved at SJC, so you get more meaningful experiences that prepare you for career and life.

  • Images of Students

    Real-life Skills

    Get real-life experience and become an excellent communicator.