Comm. certificate program launched

The Graduate Communication Certificate Program initiated its first workshop this week to provide graduate students an opportunity to enhance their communication skills. The program comprises two main components: a series of core and elective workshops and a capstone experience. These workshops help develop written, oral and visual communication skills and are designed to reach out to a larger student population. The capstone experience helps students apply their skills and receive feedback from communication specialists. With the completion of the program, students are granted signed and dated certificates.

“The idea for the program started about three and a half years ago…I started having conversations with a variety of graduate students and graduate SGA, and they were expressing an interest in having something more formalized where they could get instruction in communication related projects,” said Karen Head, Director of the Communications Center.

According to Head, the idea for the program came about after research was conducted on what was being offered in other institutions. The Library had offered a space for the Graduate Communications Center in Spring 2010.

“Lori Critz, who does faculty development, was absolutely involved when we started getting the notion of how we were going to formalize the program. The last couple of SGA presidents have also been part of the planning process,” Head said.

The Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL), Graduate Career Services and Communications & Marketing have been partners in this project.

“We spent the fall of last year finalizing, scheduling, getting the web site up. Graduate SGA is helping with advertising,” Head said.

There are some required workshops to be taken by students that are part of the program and there are also specialized workshops that can be taken by students depending on their need for it. There is a capstone requirement succeeding these workshops.

Head is confident that graduates will take advantage of this program’s opportunities.

“It’s not hard to get this kind of message out. We’ve let graduate advisors know about the program. There’s never really been a lack of interest in this kind of program,” Head said.

The program may be accredited in the future. According to Head, grad students did not have the time to accommodate these workshops into their schedules in the past. In many cases, students could not get into communication classes offered, and these classes were very specialized, as opposed to the program, which starts from the basics and allows students to obtain a greater experience.

“We’ve been able to schedule more workshops at more times and more days along with getting as many people as possible involved,” Head said.