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he Middlesex Communications
Program has entered the digital age.
The updated program provides students
a broad introduction to working in mass
communications, including print journalism,
public relations, television, film and radio
production and now digital media.
"For a long time, MCC's Communications Program
was print-journalism focused," said Jennifer
Bauer, Chair of the Communications Department.
"But as journalism intersects with digital media,
the demands of the workplace have changed.
"A journalist is now expected to not only
write news stories, but to also capture and edit
video, take photographs, publish on the Web,
and interact with readers on social media," said
Bauer. "Our students can expect to learn current
industry standards, as we explore the rapidly
evolving world of mass communication."
Before taking over as department chair last
September, Bauer taught communications for
12 years at Lowell High School. In addition to
teaching, Bauer is a photographer, writer and
filmmaker. Her short documentary films have been
shown in festivals all over the country, including
at the Tribeca and Newport Beach
film festivals.
Working with full-time Communications faculty
member Gordon Curry and a team of passionate
adjunct professors, Bauer has used her broad
experience and passion for urban education to
make significant changes to the program.
"The structure of a high-quality program was
already in place," she said. "It's a matter of
reshaping the courses to incorporate more digital
media and the fundamental skills students need
to be successful digital media producers in
today's industry."
The restructured program offers students a
strong core curriculum in communications, while
encouraging them to begin thinking about a
specialization in the field. After taking five core
Communications courses, students may choose
from one of six concentrations, including film pro-
duction, TV production, radio production, public
relations, digital journalism, or social media.
"It's exciting to be working in a place that is
making big changes to provide a better service for
our students," said Curry, who teaches "Speech"
and "Mass Communications." "We are working to
promote academic and creative freedom which
is important in this field without compromising
program outcomes," he added.
In lieu of an "Intro to Journalism" course, Bauer
and her team have developed "Foundations of
Media Production," a course scheduled to run
fall semester as a pilot. The course will teach
students about the history and structure of media
production, as well as provide a broad set of
practical media-production skills, said Bauer.
"Students will learn how to record audio and
video using various types of equipment different
microphones and different types of cameras so
they know what to use to get the outcome they
desire," she said.
Another course being added to the program is
"Social Media & Personal Branding." Students
will learn how to use social media platforms
professionally rather than personally. "Sometimes
working as a digital media producer means you
don't just take a job in the field, you create one.
That means you have to know how to successfully
market not only your work, but also yourself,"
said Bauer.
Additionally, the communications team is working
to establish a strong internship component to the
Communications Program. "We are working on
developing stronger partnerships with local
media outlets to give students the opportunity to
gain real-world experience, but also give local
organizations an opportunity to access the tre-
mendous amount of talent our students have
to offer," said Curry.
Communications student Nancy Ho knows the
value of an internship. Ho landed an internship as
a photographer at Howl Magazine in Lowell.
She photographed local festivals, events and live
performances, including MCC's 2014 Celebrity
Forum featuring Robert Redford.
MCC's Communication's Program
Undergoes a Digital Revolution
"Our students can
expect to learn current
industry standards, as
we explore the rapidly
evolving world of mass
Jennifer Bauer, Communications Chair