Lasell updates curriculum by changing majors

By Kait BedellNews Editor

 Administrators at Lasell have updated their curriculum in various different majors. One department primarily affected most by these changes is the School of Communication and the Arts (SoCA).

SoCA will be making each area of concentration its own major with the exception of creative advertising which is being discontinued by the fall. Students who are already enrolled in creative advertising will still be able to graduate with that degree, but it will not be offered to the incoming class.

“We spent a long time just reviewing various factors about curriculum and we made the decision that it would be beneficial to make concentrations majors,” Interim Dean and Program Chair Meryl Perlson said.  

In addition to the new majors that are being created, Perlson said there will be required digital skills and portfolios in every communication focus.

“The main things that I think we are really proud of in the new curriculum are that it uses digital skills from year one,” Perlson said.

Every new or incoming communication student will be required to take COM102: Visual Communication Toolkit and COM327: Digital Storytelling. These courses will expose them to software such as Photoshop and InDesign which Perlson said will better prepare them for real world experiences.

Students already enrolled in the affected concentrations will be allowed to graduate with that degree, however the majors that have been discontinued will no longer be offered to new students. 

“We still believe very strongly in our foundations to the speed understanding media,” Perlson said. “But we wanted to add in those infused as digital skills because we know that no matter what area of communication you’re going in, it’s very likely that you’re going to be asked to produce effective communications across multiple media.”

While the new curriculum is meant to expand the various existing majors, some students are disappointed with the discontinuation of old majors.

One big change is the discontinuation of the creative advertising concentration. SoCA decided to get rid of it because they thought that creative advertising should be infused throughout all communication majors with the inclusion of digital skills.

“As we were looking at the intent of that major, we were feeling like we could deliver it in a better way,” Perlson said. “We didn’t feel like it was holding together as we wanted.”

First-year Maeve Willerup said she is disappointed about the fading out of creative advertising. Willerup is a communication major looking to find her concentration. She had expressed interest in creative advertising but then found out it would no longer be available.

“I understand and appreciate that our school is working hard to expand, but I was really disappointed when I found out about that concentration being faded out,” Willerup said.

Junior Sophia Gadsden is also disappointed with the fading out of the creative advertising focus. Gadsden is a creative advertising major with a minor in marketing and she said she is frustrated with the changes that are being made in her education.

“It is now starting to affect me and my graduation plan,” Gadsden said. “I’m taking other classes in place of the ones on my academic plan….I feel like I’m not gaining skills that I’ll need in the industry.”

While Gadsden will still be able to graduate with the major that she declared in her first two years of college, she feels that she is forced to take classes she is not interested in and wishes the classes she needs to take were more accessible.

Although Perlson understands the frustrations that any curriculum changes may cause some students, she said that this is not an “obstacle” and that they do not need to be concerned about their graduation plan.

Perlson said she is excited about the changes being made and that she thinks it will be a positive adjustment to Lasell’s curriculum.

“I think we have a really robust process where these changes are vetted at multiple levels,” Perlson said. “I feel really confident about bringing them out and that they’re going to benefit our students.”

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