Hamilton College Faculty Votes to Remove Communication Major


            Hello, Class of 2017—thinking of declaring a communication as your major?  Well, think again.

            At the Hamilton College faculty meeting on Tuesday, March 4, the members unanimously voted to eliminate the communication major based on perceived insubstantial curricular merit.

            According to the Communication Department faculty, rumors of the major’s removal had been circulating for sometime.

            Communication has been a part of Hamilton’s academic history for years.  Communication, or “Rhetoric,” as it was initially called, was the first academic department established at a college or university in the United States. Overtime, this oral communication-based subject expanded to encompass more aspects of communication, including interpersonal, media-related, and group-process branches in 2000, as Professor and Chair of the Communication Department Catherine Phelan told the Hamilton College Spectator.

            Currently, the small Communication Department that oversees 46 students has two faculty members in addition to Professor Phelan: Visiting Assistant Professor Megan Dowd, Ph.D. Visiting Assistant Professor Christina Ceisel, Ph.D.

            At Tuesday’s faculty meeting, Dean of Faculty Patrick Reynolds made alterations to the faculty makeup of the department ultimately made closing the concentration of Communication inevitable.  Specifically, for the current 2013-2014 academic year, the department was allowed one tenure track faculty member, one term faculty member and one special appointment faculty member, it will only be permitted one tenure track professor and one term professor in the upcoming 2014-2015 academic year. Already, faculty resources seem insufficient for the increasing student interest in the concentration; these changes, therefore, are devastating.

            Students up through the Class of 2016 can keep their Communication concentration, but students in the Class of 2017 and onward can only declare the area of study as a minor.