Regents approve 12 new media, communication, information programs at CU-Boulder

College of Media, Communication and Information lauded as national model

Editor’s note: This story first appeared as an update to CU Connections on Sept. 11.

The CU Board of Regents on Sept. 11 unanimously and enthusiastically approved 12 new CU-Boulder College of Media, Communication and Information degrees and a name change for another degree. The vote during the meeting at CU-Boulder met with cheers and applause from the audience in the University Memorial Center.

The college, which was approved by the regents in June, is the first new college at CU-Boulder in 50 years and replaces the journalism school, which was discontinued in 2011.

“It’s truly a watershed moment for higher education’s ability to embrace change and take something and to make it relevant to the future for the benefit of the students,” said Chair Kyle Hybl. “The potential that this program has is truly exceptional and I am grateful that you all embraced it and are making a real difference with this.”

Regents praised the new college and degree programs as having the potential to set a standard in communication education.

“I’m excited for the students who are coming to the University of Colorado,” said Regent Sue Sharkey. “I am absolutely confident of the success of this program and I believe it will be a model on a national level.”

The college is projected to open with about 1,750 students and will be funded from existing resources. Departments within the college include advertising, public relations and media design; communication; critical media practices; journalism; information science; media studies; and the graduate program in intermedia art, writing and performance.

“The last two decades, the rapid expansion of communication technologies and information gathering has transformed how we communicate, get our news and engage in local, regional and global commerce and society,” said Provost Russell L. Moore. “At the same time, the job market has rapidly transformed. Students graduating from the College of Media, Communication and Information will leave CU-Boulder with the cutting-edge skills and insights required to thrive in the workplace and the changing communications landscape.”

New degrees approved by the Board of Regents are:

  • Department of Advertising, Public Relations and Media Design -- BS in strategic communication with tracks in advertising, public relations and media design, and a MA in strategic communication design
  • Department of Critical Media Practices -- BA in media production, MFA in interdisciplinary documentary and PhD in emergent technologies and media art practices
  • Department of Information Science -- BS, MS and PhD degrees in information science
  • Department of Media Studies -- BA in media studies and MA in media and public engagement and PhD in Media Research and Practice, including doctoral tracks in strategic communication, journalism and media studies
  • Graduate program in Intermedia Art, Writing and Performance -- PhD

In addition, the bachelor of science degree in journalism was approved to become a bachelor of arts degree. The journalism program will continue to offer its master of arts in journalism and the Department of Communication will continue to offer bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in communication.

Regents asked to be kept apprised of the evolution of the program, stressing the importance of growing and maintaining its relevance and ensuring journalism ethics are stressed throughout the curriculum.

“It’s important as you watch it grow and develop to make sure it is held to really high academic and rigorous standards,” Hybl said.

All undergraduates enrolled in the college will take a common curriculum that builds on their shared interests in communication and digital media while providing a well-rounded education in humanities, the arts and the social and natural sciences. Students will be required to take basic courses in computing and in digital storytelling.

National government and private sector studies show that job markets for many of the industries students graduating from CMCI will enter are strong, and in many cases growing. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 14 percent increase in jobs in the motion picture and video industries over the 10-year period ending in 2018. A recent study by Bankrate puts advertising at the top of the list in terms of a degree that offers the best return on investment, while a recent Forbes survey of the 10 most surprising six-figure jobs includes multimedia artists, art directors, broadcast news analysts, writers and authors.

The vote was the final Board of Regents approval required for the new College of Media, Communication and Information before the degrees are forwarded to the Colorado Commission on Higher Education for approval. The college is now accepting applications and will offer classes for new degrees starting in fall semester 2015.

Christopher Braider, who oversaw the effort to create the new college, is serving as the transitional dean for the 2014-15 academic year. An international search for the dean of the college will be launched this fall.

More information about the new college is available at