Objectives and Outcomes
The Bachelor of Arts in Communications major at Penn State Altoona is designed to prepare students for the challenges of a digital mediated world while emphasizing versatility in communication, interdisciplinary, critical thinking and multimedia skills. Unlike the more specialized majors at University Park, the Altoona program is more open-ended and integrative, involving a generalist production emphasis as well as versatility across various media, combined with hands-on experience with new digital technologies. Equally important is our theoretical focus, as one of our central missions is to connect theory and practice, emphasizing the critical thinking skills necessary for engaging constructively with today's rapidly-changing media landscape.
DESIRED CHARACTERISTICS OF COMMUNICATIONS STUDENTS
Knowledge: Students should develop a knowledge and mastery of basic concepts and skills that will foster success as individuals and as communication practitioners. Recognition of linkages between communications theory and real world practices should be made. A respect for the development of communications scholarship and its place in the larger constellation of ideas should be acquired. Students should be able to offer tangible materials that demonstrate they understand linkages between theory and practice.
Life-long learning: create and foster an individual desire for life-long learning and a respect for learning in all its forms, including classroom-based learning, hands-on technical learning, and external learning opportunities. Our students should strive to develop balanced appreciation for theoretical knowledge and its relationship to hands-on technical skills and industry-based practices.
Citizenship: Our students should strive to be responsible and caring citizens, developing critical thinking skills and professional skills that allow them to make a positive impact in the larger society of which they are a part. Programs that link students to the community in a positive and directed manner should be encouraged, whether in the form of direct contact with individuals and organizations, in-class case studies, or some other manner.
Problem Solving and Innovation: Our curriculum should develop critical thinking skills that inspire innovation. Our students should be encouraged to offer responsible challenges to established communication practices in a manner that fosters potential innovation and improvement of communication industry structures and, potentially, the larger society of which these structures are a part.
Ethical Grounding: Our students should develop a respect and understanding for the ethical implications of their actions and decisions and a desire to apply ethical standards to their daily lives.
Ongoing Commitment to Excellence: Our students should be willing to conduct an ongoing assessment of their personal development in a manner that leads to an ongoing pursuit of excellence. Classes should offer a mechanism for self-assessment and respectful assessment of fellow colleagues. Such mechanisms should be aimed at maintenance and development of an ongoing desire to achieve excellence on a consistent basis. Students should be encouraged to look at personal development as a life-long process, not something that is the result of acquisition of a given set of technical skills.
Contact:Dr. Robert C. Trumpbour
Associate Professor of Communications
Arts and Humanities
Office: 102 Cypress Building