Comm-Journ institute ‘not in the near future,’ says AB dean

DESPITE TALKS of separating the University’s communication and media studies department from the UST Faculty of Arts and Letters (AB), Artlets Dean Prof. Melanie Turingan said its establishment into an institute may not happen in the near future.

In an interview with The Flame, Turingan said the AB administration is still in the proposal stage of elevating the communication and journalism programs to an institute independent of its present faculty.

“I cannot say that it will be established in the near future since it depends on the requirements for it to be certified as such. That’s why it is still rough around the edges, but I’m not saying that it is impossible,” Turingan said.

The Department of Communications and Media Studies houses the oldest journalism program in Southeast Asia, first offered in 1929, and the communication program which was introduced in 1967 as communication arts.

According to the department’s overview on the UST website, it is envisioned to become a separate institute in the future to expand its offerings of media-oriented programs and gain recognition as the leading communication journalism school in Metro Manila.

The communication and journalism programs are the only AB programs that have obtained international quality seals from the ASEAN University Network-Quality Assurance for their competence in delivering quality education and producing notable research outputs.

In 2021, the department received the Level III accreditation, the second-highest status, from renowned private accrediting agency Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Accreditation.

The department is also deemed the biggest in AB in terms of student population. Of the 3,510 Artlets students enrolled for the second term of the academic year 2023-2024, there are 551 students in the communication program, the highest among AB, and 329 total students in the journalism program.

While some have assumed that classroom shortage was the reason behind the transfer of the communication and journalism students to the Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, O.P. (BGPOP) building from the St. Raymund Peñafort building in 2020, Turingan said it was just meant to “expand” the avenues of students and maximize the broadcast facilities only found in BGPOP.

There have been notions that the transfer of the department was part of its preparation for upcoming programs under the developing media institute.

Some have also claimed that journalism and communication students no longer resonate with the liberal arts tradition of AB as they are now being more trained to undertake media-related pursuits.

Based on the 2014 UST General Statutes, the establishment of institutes in the University may exist as “organically independent bodies thereof or as adjuncts of a particular Faculty, College or School.”

But the dean said that the department would have to undergo elaborate procedures first before considering its eligibility as an independent body.

“I think [the institute] may start once it is thoroughly discussed by the committee, but not in the near future,” Turingan added.

The journalism and communication programs deliver instructions on general communication, journalism, broadcast, integrated marketing communication, communication research, film and multimedia arts. F – with reports from Jade Alecksandra Bagas, Justine Nicole Malonzo and Venerando Pagaduan VII

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