New major at Indiana U. combines study of public affairs with understanding of media

Romenesko Misc.
It’s believed to be one of the first degrees of its kind in the United States. Indiana University says in a release that “this major is not a training course in using new media tools. Rather, it teaches anyone who intends to go into management — whether public, private or nonprofit — or who will work in the policy arena, when and how to deploy traditional and new media tools to achieve their goals.” The release is after the jump.

Press release

New IUPUI major combines public affairs and media

INDIANAPOLIS (June 6, 2011) — The Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) in Indianapolis today announced that it will offer students a new major in Media and Public Affairs starting in fall 2011. It is believed to be one of the first degrees of its kind in the U.S.

“The fast-changing media landscape is posing significant new challenges for people working in the field of public affairs,” said Sheila Suess Kennedy, J.D., Professor and Director of Public Affairs Programs for SPEA at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. “Government agencies and nonprofit organizations are increasingly looking for people who possess both an in-depth understanding of governance and the policy process as well as the new media skills needed to communicate with multiple audiences.”

Required courses for the new major are an interdisciplinary mix of public affairs, journalism, political science, informatics and liberal arts. This major is not a training course in using new media tools; rather, it teaches anyone who intends to go into management — whether public, private or nonprofit — or who will work in the policy arena, when and how to deploy traditional and new media tools to achieve their goals.

“SPEA provides students with ‘go-anywhere’ degrees,” Kennedy said. “By combining the study of public affairs with an understanding of media, SPEA prepares people to work in any number of fields — and even to be more knowledgeable when they step into the voting booth.” Students who graduate with this degree will be prepared for careers as public information officers; government affairs personnel for private or nonprofit organizations; public administrators at the local, state and federal level; lobbyists; representatives of trade organizations; and reporters for various media on the subjects of public affairs, public administration, public policy personnel and decisions.

Indiana University founded SPEA (the School of Public and Environmental Affairs) more than 30 years ago to prepare students to address the issues of modern society in ways that more traditional schools overlooked. At SPEA, people learn how to work in government, nonprofit and business roles to make positive changes in their communities, their states, their countries and the world.

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  • http://mymediainfo.com/ Renee

    While this is not the first media and public affairs degree, it is certainly interesting that they are blending new media and traditional media as part of the curriculum to help graduates be more prepared. It will be interesting to see how many students will graduate with this new major in four years.

  • http://www.facebook.com/carufela Ashley Carufel

    The degree is not the first of it’s kind actually. I graduated from the School of Media and Public Affairs at The George Washington University this year. The Political Communication degree was formed in 1982 and the school was formally given it’s current name in 1996. Congratulations to Indiana though for joining what I have seen first-hand as a excellent degree to hold. I hold they can learn from the great work and faculty SMPA has from over the years!