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Northeastern dean says journalism school would not drop in quality if combined with communications school

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  October 18, 2013 10:53 AM

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On Thursday, reported how administrators at Northeastern University's College of Arts, Media and Design are "reassessing" the college's structure, an effort led by Dean Xavier Costa.

That process, said to be in the early stages, includes considering whether to merge the schools of journalism and communications, which has been criticized by faculty and students from both schools.

The following are remarks Costa gave during an interview conducted by media relations officials at Northeastern University. The remarks, preceded below by a short intro, were posted Friday to the university’s news website:


Last year the College of Arts, Media and Design developed a plan reflective of its strategic vision. A faculty committee has taken on assessing options relevant to the college’s administrative structure. One of those options is to combine the administrative and operational duties of smaller depart­ments with larger ones, including joining the School of Journalism with the Department of Communication Studies. Here, the college’s dean, Xavier Costa, addresses some concerns students and faculty in the School of Journalism have expressed about the possible restructuring.

As the College of Arts, Media and Design begins implementing its strategic vision, Dean Xavier Costa answered concerns about the college’s plans and the possibility of joining the School of Journalism with the Department of Communication Studies as part of a reconfiguration of the college’s administrative structure. Photo by Brooks Canaday.

What steps are the faculty committee taking as it looks at the college’s structure?

Dean Costa: The faculty committee I appointed will speak with any stakeholder that has an opinion on the structure of the college. It will produce a report later in the semester and from there we will examine the situation. It is important to note that we are at the beginning of the process and we are currently focusing on gathering information from students, faculty, and staff. We want an informed dialogue by making sure everyone has an opportunity to share ideas. We have sent out letters to students and faculty informing them about the possible configuration and encouraged them to email their thoughts. We have also scheduled several sessions where students can meet with the faculty committee. I am also looking forward to personally meeting with students, faculty, and staff to hear all sides.

What would be the goal of combining smaller and larger departments in the College of Arts, Media and Design?

Dean Costa: This is one of a number of options the committee is looking at. The idea of reassessing the college’s structure is focused on administrative operations.

The goal is simply to find solutions that make the administrative aspect of running the operation more efficient.

How would this option impact students in the School of Journalism?

Dean Costa: We are at the very beginning of this process. Even if we combined these two departments it would make no difference in terms of the school’s curriculum, the courses, the quality of the education or the faculty. The degree programs will also remain intact. Students will still be able to earn a degree in journalism without any changes.

In our college there is the highest respect for the professional disciplines and certainly journalism is one of them. Our School of Journalism is distinguished and enjoys a great reputation due to the academic rigor and the student and alumni success stories. The faculty is composed of outstanding professionals who have been recognized as leaders in the field. We are connected to great institutions of newspaper and media, and we pride ourselves on maintaining a very effective collaboration with those institutions in terms of students going on co-ops and getting jobs. The journalism program is a source of great pride at Northeastern.

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