Semester Switch: Q & A with Dr. Millsap

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Dr. Susan Millsap is a professor & the Chairperson of Otterbein’s Communications Department

Q: How is the communication department preparing for the semester change?

A: The faculty has met a couple of times to discuss the switch. Last year we were getting the curriculum ready. Once that was done we have now spent most of the time looking at transition plans and how they will work for students. We want to provide pathways for them [students] to take and successfully graduate beyond Otterbein. We are beginning to have students meet with their advisors for scheduled sessions.

Q: What are some changes that will be made in the department?

A: There will be revised majors that will reflect the reality of today. There has been such an increase in social media and how media is accessed has drastically changed. Broadcasting and Journalism will now combine and be called Journalism Media Communications. We have seen these two merge. A journalist needs to learn broadcasting skills and a broadcaster needs a better understanding of journalistic aspects such as web design.

Q: Why is switching to semesters going to be a good change for communication students?

A: The switch is definitely occurring in perfect time for our department. It is rapidly changing and the change will give us the opportunity to do updates. Students will take classes within 14 weeks which will give them more time to develop and come up with better projects and presentations. Advisors can give more feedback….there will be a lot more one-on-one attention because everyone will get to know each other even more. No content will be lost during the switch. The students will be able to gain even more information within their courses.

Q: What should current students be doing now to prepare for the switch?

A: Advisors are currently meeting with students one-on-one with the Individual Advisor Plan. Students are encouraged to schedule times to meet with their advisors. They will be able to sit with their advisor and look at a list to determine what they need to take and when in order to graduate on time. They can look at what they have taken as well and see how many more credits they need.

Q: What are your thoughts on the semester change?

A: It’s a lot of work! I am interested to see how everything will go. Coordinating with other courses presented challenges but the courses will provide stronger curriculum which is better for the students.

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