History, Mission and Vision

History

MSU’s College of Communication Arts and Sciences is the first college of communication in the country and has been a pioneer in the industry since opening its doors in 1955. ComArtSci is one of the largest and most respected communication colleges in the nation, with over 56,000 alumni.

Today, more than 3,000 undergraduate, masters and doctoral students are enrolled in the 16 programs within the college’s five departments. With nationally-ranked programs and internationally-renowned faculty members, ComArtSci is well-qualified to prepare students for emerging careers in areas such as health and risk communication, sports journalism, public relations, game design and hearing and language disorders. Students and faculty work together to create feature-length films, produce award-winning news features and become leaders in communication research.

It all began in 1942, when Michigan State University’s nationally-accredited journalism program became the Department of Journalism. When ComArtSci began in 1955, the department’s official title became the School of Journalism. In the most recent report from the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC), the accreditation team noted that ComArtSci's School of Journalism "is in that select group of premier programs today" and that it is doing a "marvelous job of preparing students for the digital age."

After journalism came communication, when in 1957 the Department of General Communication Arts was created. Gordon Sabine, then dean of ComArtSci, served as interim chair of this new unit. The unit changed its name to the Department of Communication in 1962. From its beginning, the department sought to examine symbolic behavior in all its forms - verbal and nonverbal, interpersonal and mass, small groups and large organizations, intra-cultural and cross-cultural.

Not long after, the Department of Advertising was created. Sabine hired D’Arcy advertising executive John Crawford to serve as chairman of the new department. There were no more than one or two other academic departments of advertising to be found anywhere at that time. Crawford built his faculty by hiring professionals with B.A., M.A. or MBA degrees in business, journalism or political science.

What started out as the Department of Speech and Drama would eventually become the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders (CSD). It was in 1967 that the program became the Department of Audiology and Speech Sciences in ComArtSci. With the programmatic shifts that came in the 21st century, the department decided to change its name to Communicative Sciences and Disorders in 2006, and transitioned to a speech-language pathology graduate-only program in 2010.

ComArtSci’s Department of Media and Information has come a long way since its start as the Department of Radio, Television and Film in 1958. In 1975, when technology was changing at lightning speed, it became the Department of Telecommunication. As technology continued to advance at an accelerated pace, the name was once again changed to become the Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media in 2003. Its latest name was adopted in 2014, as it better reflects the new world of internet communication, social media and the emergence of the Internet of Things.

Today, ComArtSci seeks to push the boundaries of discovery for communication art and science and is inspired where they intersect. It understands the potential both have in solving the big problems of the world. It’s here that work is play and storytelling comes in many forms. The collaborative network of alumni, faculty and mentors is built to empower, and students have some of the most meaningful opportunities inside and outside the classroom.

Mission

"The ideal of a civil society is rooted in communication. It is the bedrock upon where everything else is built, from neurons to nations." – Prabu David, Dean, College of Communication Arts and Sciences

At the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, we're a vibrant and eclectic bunch, examining communication from neurons to nations. Our smart, passionate people and vibrant, collaborative culture empower opportunity and create extraordinary impact on the way we communication and connect for a better, more inspired world.

Through innovation, dedication, individual strength and collaboration, our faculty continue to offer world-class training to our students who continue to impress with notable accomplishments. Our faculty and students are agents of change, actively engaged in translational research that influences health, environment, media, technology, business and public affairs across the nation and around the world.

It's in our DNA to shape a better tomorrow. As the first college in the United States dedicated solely to the study of communication sciences, we believe in the fusion of the arts and sciences. In the 60 years since our college was founded, our faculty have been foundational scholars in the field of communication and trailblazers in the teaching of creativity. This trend continues. The numerous recognitions from professional and scientific organizations serve as a testament to the high quality of work by our faculty, students, staff and alumni.