LAWRENCE – The Kansas Board of Regents has approved the University of Kansas William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications’ request to begin a doctoral program starting in fall 2012, making it the first mass communications doctoral program in the state of Kansas.
The new program will focus on media and society, combined with strong theory and methodology components. It is designed to be an interdisciplinary program, requiring students to incorporate 12 of its 56 hours of studies in other units at KU. The multidisciplinary approach is reflective of the knowledge needed today to understand the role of media in society.
“The doctoral program presents us with amazing opportunities for research and teaching,” said Dean Ann Brill. “We are pleased that the University and Board of Regents support this initiative.”
Tom Volek, associate dean and journalism associate professor, coordinated the doctoral program development. In September, the school hosted an external review panel. The panel gave strong recommendation of the school’s efforts. Volek said other units at KU also provided support for the school’s proposal, including the School of Education, the Department of Family Medicine at the KU Medical Center, the Department of Communication Studies, the School of Public Affairs and Administration and the Department of Political Science.
“This program fully integrates the School of Journalism into the intellectual community of KU. We are very pleased to work with our colleagues across the disciplines,” Volek said.
The school’s program, with its focus on new technologies and interdisciplinary research, will help students, alumni and media industries understand changes in media. The focus on theoretical and applied research necessary for successful students also helps the standing of the school within the university, the state, nationally and internationally.
The journalism school plans to admit four to six students for the fall 2012 semester and will look to admit three to four more students each year. The school will accept applications for the Ph.D. program for fall admittance until April 1. Application information should be available on the school website early in February.