To better represent the diversity of its academic programs and its focus on preparing students for the changing media environment, the West Virginia University Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism will soon be known as the Reed College of Media.
The name change for the 75-year-old school, founded in 1939 by Perley Isaac Reed, a professor, was presented today (Feb. 21) to the WVU Board of Governors. It becomes official July 1.
“The name ‘Reed College of Media’ reflects the current and future direction of our college as we prepare students for careers in modern media communications,” said Dean Maryanne Reed (no relation). “In addition to being skilled in the basics of writing, reporting and content production, today’s graduates must also be able to engage with audiences across both traditional and emerging media platforms.”
In recent years, the school has implemented several significant changes to its academic programs, which include launching a new Strategic Communications major; developing new courses in blogging, interactive journalism and content curation and new minors in areas such as strategic social media and interactive media design; creating the nation’s first online master’s degree program in Integrated Marketing Communications; and launching a new Innovator-in-Residence program to bring to campus high-level media professionals to develop innovative projects and curricula.
The school has also made major upgrades to its facilities, equipment and technology in Martin Hall; the University’s oldest and most historic building – and will be constructing a Media Innovation Center in the new Evansdale Crossing. The 10,000-square facility, scheduled for completion in 2015, will serve as a modern teaching and learning space to facilitate innovative curricula, applied research and project development in emerging media applications.
According to Dean Reed, the new name – Reed College of Media – also better represents the breadth of the school’s offerings, as all of its programs in journalism and strategic communications (advertising, public relations and integrated marketing communications) directly intersect with mass, targeted and social media. The “College” moniker recognizes the increasing size and complexity of the academic environment.
“Dean Reed and her team have approached the naming thoughtfully and strategically,” said Provost Michele Wheatly. “Our individual colleges are the foundations we build on as we aspire to maintain our identity as a truly great Land-Grant university. The Reed College of Media is now positioned to bring in exceptional students and train them well in a dynamic field.”
More than 1,200 students are currently enrolled in the school’s undergraduate and graduate programs.
While the decision to retain a portion of the founder’s name is designed to pay homage to the past, it also serves as a symbol of the school’s forward-thinking approach.
“Many people may not be familiar with the story of Perley Isaac Reed,” Dean Reed said. “He was a journalism professor and pioneer who had the vision to create an independent school of journalism. His spirit and drive are the legacy that will help to propel our new college forward during the next 75 years.”
The renaming of the school is a result of a two-year process designed to help the school redefine its mission, image and recruitment strategies during a time of unprecedented change. As part of that effort, more than 700 students, alumni and media professionals were interviewed or surveyed.
From research and feedback, it was determined that a new name was needed to communicate the school’s continued relevance in today’s modern media landscape and to reiterate the value of a journalism degree from WVU.
The school’s faculty, visiting committee and WVU administration also gave approval.
Read the official release at WVU Today.