Students at GU can cross from Beaumont to East College Avenue and touch the block that hosts our campuses many buildings and schools. The School of Education sits within LaDue, our Briner School of Business in Dietzman, the STEM fields within Snyder Hall, and Whitlock Music Center all are centrally located within the “city block” that is Greenville University’s campus.
However, separated by a few houses are the buildings attributed to our Center for Visual and Cultural Media Studies. Inside these buildings are the offices and workspaces of the students who aspire to create content and shape the media landscape that we live in. While some seek to edit digital content and work in corporate landscapes, others seek to influence the world by informing their communities through communications and journalism.
A world that may not have been structurally available to you at Greenville University before the creation of the Journalism minor at GU. With questions in hand, the Papyrus sought answers from the architect of the program, Matt Bernico Ph.D.
Papyrus: How was the decision made to include journalism classes at Greenville?
Bernico: There have been classes in journalism at GU for quite a while, but they were sort of disparate and didn’t have a unified academic program that they were centered around. So, I found those disparate classes that already existed and organized them into something more coherent and with a united sense of purpose (I’ve copied in the mission statement for the minor and class list below). All that being said, the main impetus behind making the minor was just that students seemed interested. There are a handful of English and Media Communication students who have expressed their interest in journalism and following their lead, I made a pretty modest list of classes for them to pursue their career goals. The short of it is that students were interested, so I followed their interests.
P: What do you think will be a positive effect of including a journalism minor at the institution?
B: The student media at GU (Papyrus, Podlab, The Vista, The Scrib) is something I’m really proud of. It’s this wild space where faculty and students work together on a collective expression about what GU is actually about. What’s even more interesting about all of the student media is that, while you can participate for course credit, a lot of students just do it because they like it. I think that a more structured academic program that runs parallel to student media will help improve the quality of the work students produce on these platforms. That’s not a subtle jab at the type of the things student media turns out already, just that I think there’s room to grow. I hope that the minor bolsters student’s talents and proclivities for journalism toward making critical and interesting pieces that continue to tell GU’s story from the people who matter––students.
More generally, at the moment, there are a lot of very negative perceptions of journalists and “the media” (whoever they are). In light of this, I think we need to supply student journalists with the critical tools they’ll need to cover important topics and deal with the extreme ideologically biases present in contemporary journalism.
A Journalism minor at GU will be extremely positive in the sense that investing in journalism is a social good that strengthens our democracy.
P: Do you think that this minor will evolve into a major within the coming years?
B: It’s hard to say. So, the only way to add a new major to the GU offerings is if the administration were to hire a full-time professor for that area. This is, from my perspective at least, very unlikely unless there is some kind of massive student response that skyrockets the popularity of the minor. Though, if it is popular enough, maybe it would be reorganized into an already existing major, but who knows.
Bernico and the rest of CVCMS staff continues to house programs within communications and various arts. For more information about this program, see the posters around campus, or contact Greenville University’s CVCMS – or your academic advisor!
Media by Emily Hogue.