Communications, B.A. (COMAL)
In contrast to communications programs at many other colleges and universities, the Penn State Altoona communications major was designed at a time when digital technology has become an important part of the educational experience. This means that you will be working with the very latest equipment and technology rather than learning from outdated equipment. Our program incorporates digital technology as an important part of the educational experience. You will have access to the latest digital equipment, including the Macintosh G4 hardware, 3-chip miniDV cameras, and the latest image editing and nonlinear video editing software.
Our communications major is based on a liberal arts foundation and emphasizes coursework in both theory and practice. For example, courses in theory include media criticism, visual communications and media history. Applied courses include video production, multimedia, newswriting, photojournalism, public relations, and advertising. Hands-on applied classes provide you with the opportunity to create materials appropriate for portfolios. It is a flexible and versatile program, so that you can develop subspecialties in different communication and media forms. Upon graduation, you'll be well-positioned to go right into the media and communications industry or to go on to graduate school for advanced training.
In addition to the gateway courses required for the major, you also will hone your writing and production skills through the newly developed Convergent Media News Service. This distinctive feature of the program will provide you with experience in news writing and production in multiple formats including print, online, and broadcasting. A Convergent Media Seminar brings seniors together to consider larger media issues and provides you with a unique opportunity to connect theory and practice through a capstone project.
Penn State Altoona features small classes, which are taught by professors and experienced communications professionals rather than graduate students.
Internship opportunities abound with this program. Partnerships with our local media outlets, including television and radio stations, the daily newspaper, and advertising agencies, have been established that enable us to place you in a variety of internship settings throughout your college years. Through these internships, you can gain valuable insight into the industry as well as marketable skills. In addition, an internship will help you establish relationships in the communications community that can prove invaluable as you begin your post-graduation job search.
You'll also benefit from the experience of our program's advisory board. The board is made up of communications and media professionals from the area who have agreed to take an active role in the continued development of this program. These knowledgeable people will assist and advise the College on trends in the communications field, as well as periodically serve as guest lecturers in the classroom. Having this input from the individuals who are actively working in the communications field will ensure that this program keeps up with industry trends and will give you the opportunity to learn from the folks who are working in the communications field every day.
The communications program will periodically sponsor public and College presentations and workshops, including our annual State of the Media panel discussion, held each fall term. For example, the 2002 State of the Media panel was held in September and featured local media professionals from radio, television, and newspaper. These professionals, along with Penn State Altoona faculty, discussed how the media has changed since the events of September 11, 2001.
For more information:
Dr. Kevin M. Moist
Associate Professor of Communications
Arts and Humanities
Office: 101D Cypress Building
Dr. Moist teaches courses that focus on culture, technology, journalism, media history, and popular culture, as well as introductory communication courses. He is the Popular Culture Association’s Research Chair for the Collecting and Collectibles area, and has published scholarship in many academic journals including "American Studies," "the Journal of Popular Culture," "Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal," and "Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly." He is currently working to finalize publication of a book that focuses on the nuances, culture, and complexities of artifact collection titled "Collecting and Collections: Objects, Practices and the Fate of Things." He is a member of the Editorial Boards for the "Journal of Popular Culture," and for "Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture," where he is editor of the music area. He has a background in music performance and theory, and has been both a musician and music writer, as well as doing audio engineering and production, and running a small CD label specializing in non-mainstream rock, folk, and experimental music. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Iowa and has taught at the University of Iowa and the Penn State School of Visual Arts before joining the Communication Faculty at Penn State Altoona.