To:       Jenny Nellis, acting chair Humanities Division

From:  Mary Elizabeth Bezanson, coordinator for discipline of Speech Communication

Date:    March 3, 2008


Re: Change of Speech Communication Discipline Name


For the past year and a half, the Speech Communication has been concerned about the current enrollments in our courses and about how to serve UMM better.  We have taken several steps to address the issues we’ve encountered—altered classes, increased advertising, reached beyond the campus community in mailings.


In furtherance of these goals, the discipline would like to change the discipline name to:


            Communication, Media, and Rhetoric [CMR]


This name has been vetted by both Nancy Helsper and Clare Strand.  There is no other entity in the University of Minnesota system with these initials. 


We are also working on a total revision of the major allowing for increased student choice in our offerings, and we hope, an effective rotation of courses that interest both faculty and students. 


Briefly these are the reasons the discipline is taking this action:


This name better reflects the foci of our discipline.  Our focus on communication, media, and rhetoric remains.  While many departments in the U system have moved to the name “Communication,” many of those departments are in systems that offer separate departments in media. Ours is integrated. 


The word “speech” has ceased to mean what it did 40 years ago.  This new discipline label will be easier for students to understand, and easier for admissions to explain.