Harford Community College trustees approve communications studies degree program

A new degree program through which students can seek an associate of arts in communication studies was approved Tuesday by the Harford Community College Board of Trustees.

One trustee, however, expressed some doubt about the a program, which he said seems to lack any well-defined career track for students who decide to enter it.


Karry Hathaway, dean of humanities, told board members at their monthly meeting Tuesday that he expects the two-year degree program to be available beginning in the fall.

Hathaway said HCC faculty and staff can "work through out kinks" of the new program before Towson University opens advanced communications courses at its building on the HCC campus for the fall 2016 semester. Towson provides third- and fourth-year courses in several bachelor's degree programs at its HCC building.


"The goal is to have our students finish the [first] two years here at HCC and finish the last two years at Towson University," Hathaway said.

Annette Haggray, HCC's vice president for academic affairs, said the new degree program "will allow students who are not only in this major, but students in other disciplines to benefit from courses that could help them with communication skills."

"Students will be able to transfer more easily with this degree into Towson's program," Haggray continued.

The courses offered include introduction to communications, interpersonal communications, communication theory and group communication. Hathaway said administrators hope to eventually establish non-verbal communication as a "capstone course."

In response to a question from Vice Chair Richard Norling, Hathaway said existing faculty will teach the new courses.

Board member John Haggerty asked about employment prospects for graduates.

Hathaway said communications "is a growing field," and graduates can transfer the skills they learn in school to any area of employment.

Board member James McCauley asked if Towson would offer advanced courses in communications, such as public relations or sports broadcasting.

Hathaway noted that "public relations is the number one program that degree-seeking students go after."

"It sounds interesting, but it doesn't have a clear-cut career path, which I find is troublesome for undergrad students," board member Bryan Kelly said.

Kelly asked how administrators will measure success or failure.

Hathaway said the program will be assessed annually.


"Another measure of success would be the number of students who complete a successful year, transfer to Towson and then either go for another degree or into the workplace, and those can be tracked," HCC President Dennis Golladay added.

Grandstand contract

The HCC trustees also unanimously approved a $195,000 contract with Grandstand Design Enterprises, of Annapolis, to build a grandstand and press box for the college's synthetic turf baseball field.

Rick Johnson, vice president of finance and operations, said the grandstand and press box were part of the initial 2013 design of the new field, but not enough money was available to cover the cost at the time.

The college received a quote of $281,610 two years ago, according to bid documents. Johnson said college officials negotiated a lower price, and the cost will be covered by "one-time funds" saved by the athletic department and money available from auxiliary funds.

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