Department of Communication Studies (University of Michigan) records, 1926-1995
Using These Materials
- The record group is open to research without restriction.
- University of Michigan. Department of Communications.
- Formerly called the Department of Journalism; includes administrative files, records of sponsored workshops, conferences, and lectures; faculty personnel files; and records of internship programs, including reports from students interning at local Michigan newspapers.
- 9.3 linear feet (in 10 boxes)
- Call Number:
- 87124 Bimu C26 2
- Finding aid created by: Fred Bassett, December 1982; Kathleen Koehler, May 1985; Frank Boles, December 1986; Sondra Smith, 1996
- Scope and Content:
The Department of Communication record group consists of ten linear feet of records dating from 1926 to 1995 and processed in four accessions. The pre-1984 accessions document the Department of Journalism. The 1984 accession includes materials accumulated by professor Marion Marzolf. The 1986 accession represents records created through the merger of Journalism with Speech and the records of the new department's chairman after the merger was accomplished. The 1996 accession contains material similar to the earlier accessions with the exception of material relating to the graduate Master in Journalism degree program and the decision to suspend the program.
The original accession (Boxes 1-5) documents Department of Journalism activity from 1928 to 1981 (primarily 1950-1970). The accession has been divided into three series: Administrative Files; Faculty Personnel Records; and Internships, Fellowships and Scholarships.
The 1984 accession consists of three series of records: those from a 1977 conference, "Kerner Plus 10: Minorities and the Media," those from the University of Michigan student chapter of Kappa Tau Alpha, and those from the student chapter of Women in Communications, Inc. (WICI). Both the Kerner conference records and the WICI records reflect the involvement of Professor Marion T. Marzolf in the Department of Communication.
The 1986 accession dates from 1964 to 1986 (primarily 1975-1984). It represents the records kept by Peter Clarke, last chairman of the Department of Journalism and first chairman of the Department of Communication, the files of William E. Porter, who served as chair after Clarke's resignation in 1981, and a few documents of John D. Stevens, who succeeded Porter in 1984. The accession has been divided into two series, Chairman's Correspondence (1964-1985) and a Topical File (1949-1986).
- Biographical / Historical:
The Department of Communication came into existence on July 1, 1979 as a result of a merger between the Department of Journalism and the speech component of the Department of Speech Communication and Theatre. This merger represented the culmination of almost a decade of discussion.
In the early 1970s some members of both predecessor departments noted significant overlaps within the two unit's missions, prompting discussions regarding the possibility of a departmental merger. These discussions received considerable impetus in 1974 when the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LS&A) Performance Evaluation Committee took official notice of the two departments' similarities and recommended the possibility of a merger be seriously explored. In 1975 the LS&A College Priorities Committee noted the Performance Evaluation Committee's suggestions, and reaffirmed the importance of serious merger discussions. The Department of Journalism moved quickly to implement the committee's recommendations, and by the Spring of 1977 had put forward a formal merger proposal. The Department of Speech Communication and Theatre was, however, unconvinced that a sufficient rationale existed to justify a merger and, while open to discussion, put forward no merger plan of its own. Finally, in early 1978, as LS&A dean Billy Frye announced his plans to establish a special faculty committee to examine the situation, the Department of Speech Communication and Theater offered for discussion its own merger plan.
A major concern of the Speech Communication and Theater departmental leadership was the possible dismemberment of the department in any merger. The department as constituted had three major components: speech and hearing sciences, theatre, and speech communication. Sentiment for an independent theater department was strong. As early as 1974 individuals involved in theatre work had suggested the formation of an independent department. LS&A's College Priorities Committee, while acknowledging that the speech and hearing sciences component of the department was first rate, had concluded that it was an area of study that did not really belong among the humanities. The clear implication was that in any major departmental restructuring this element of the program would likely be spun off into a new "scientific" home. Journalism's primary interest was in merging only with the speech communication component of the department. Thus Speech Communication and Theater, as an existing entity, could foresee little gain but much loss in any department merger.
In October 1978 the special committee appointed by Dean Frye submitted a terse report in which it generally recommended the division of the existing speech department along the lines feared by Speech. The committee concluded that sentiment for a separate theatre department had grown so strong that its establishment seemed certain. The committee recommended that the remaining two components of the department be located in other departments through a process of mutual negotiation, with the speech communication element to be merged with an expanded and renamed Journalism Department. In January 1979 Dean Frye informed the faculties of the Speech Communication and Theater Department and the journalism department of his intention to recommend to the Regents formal action along the lines outlined by the special committee. In March 1979 the Regents heard and accepted the dean's report, authorizing the establishment of two new departments within LS&A, the Department of Communication and the Department of Theater and Drama.
While the Regent's action formally resolved the structural issues, there was still at issue a question of the centrality of the new Department of Communication to the basic mission of LS&A. While the excellence of the program offered through the department was generally acknowledged, the LS&A College Priorities Committee, in 1975, had stated that, "[The CPC] does not regard Journalism as of central importance in a liberal arts education." The fundamental question facing the new department, then, was not a matter of demonstrating its excellence, but rather in demonstrating its importance to the humanities. The arena for the continuing discussion of this issue was the budgetary reduction process of the early 1980s. Communication had lost several tenure track positions as a result of the merger, and in the next few years three more tenure track positions were lost as a result of budgetary considerations. While the department survived, it did so in a somewhat reduced form.
In 1995, a review committee evaluated the future of the graduate-level journalism degree program and recommended that a Certificate in Journalism be explored. The committee also recommended that the Masters in Journalism degree program within LS&A not be relocated and that a moratorium be placed on admissions to the program in the Fall of 1996. The recommendations followed an earlier faculty committee which advised that the Department of Communication be restructured for undergraduate and doctoral study of mass communication. The resulting Department of Communication Studies was intended to focus on the study of the process of mass communication, rather than the preparation of journalists.
Chairs of the Department of Communication Studies Date Event 1979-1981 Peter Clarke 1981-1984 William E. Porter 1984-1987 John D. Stevens 1987-1991 Frank E. Beaver 1991-1993 Neil M. Malamuth 1993 L. Rowell Huesmann (Interim) 1994-1995 John R. Chamberlain (Interim) 1995-1996 Vincent E. Price 1996-1998 Charles E. Apple 1998-2004 Michael W. Traugott 2004-2015 Susan J. Douglas 2015-2016 Robin Means-Coleman 2016- Nojin Kwak Name Changes Date Event 1979-1995 Department of Communication 1995- Department of Communication Studies
- Acquisition Information:
- The record group (Donor No. 1674 ) has come to the library in periodic accessions since the early 1970s. Some of the files were accessioned through Professor John Stevens (Donor No. 4666 ).
Periodic additions to the records expected.
- Rules or Conventions:
- Finding aid prepared using Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)
- Additional Descriptive Data:
Index to Student Internship Files, by Newspaper
Note: As part of their studies in the department of communication, students had the opportunity to work on various Michigan newspapers. Their reports and other papers to the department of communication often include information of interests to researchers of specific newspapers. The materials will be found in the students' internship file (foreign or American). The following is an index by name of newspaper to these files:
Name of Newspaper Name of Intern Adrian Daily Telegram Rojnik, Albert Ann Arbor News Bergqvist, Jaakko; Kim, Yong Hyun; Lee, Wono; Patrick, June C.; Soucek, Rudolf H. Battle Creek Enquirer and News Abdou, Saad EI-Dine; Besselink, Herman Bay City Times Barison, Alvise Benton Harbor News- Palladium Rojnik, Albert Clinton County Republican News (St. Johns) Padel, Gerd Detroit Free Press Adam, Lefteri Detroit News Padel, Gerd H.; Rodriquez, Manuel Eduardo Detroit Times Hanninen, Oliver; Holmes, George; Kim, Yong Hyun; Lee, Wono; Sasaki, Ken-Ichi Flint Journal Abdou, Saad El-Dine; Azhar, Ali Khan; Besselink, Herman; Gapper, S. Gordon; Greiss, Louis; Holmes, George; Lee, Wono; Neal, Jack C.; Padel, Gerd H.; Rojnik, Albert; Sasaki, Ken-Ichi Grand Haven Daily Tribune. Bailyn, Inez Persson; Cain, Stephen; Reynolds, Richard Grand Rapids Herald Besselink, Herman; Chakravorti, Robindra Grand Rapids Press Azhar Ali Kahn; Kaul, Donald Holland Evening Sentinel Azhar, Ali Khan; Besselink, Herman; Chakravorti, Robindra; Elliot, Eleanor; Lee, Wono; Rojnik, Albert Ionia Sentinel Standard Gapper, S. Gordon Kalamazoo Gazette Gapper, S. Gordon Lansing State Journal Griess, Louis; Holmes, George; Kim, Yong Hyun; Rodriquez, Manuel Eduardo Niles Daily Star Gongwer, Sharon Owosso Argus Press Bergqvist, Jaakko; Bow, James; Elly, Edward; Reynolds, Roy; Stumpf, Hanns Pontiac Press Padel, Gerd H. Port Huron Times Herald Peterson, Kenneth L.; Sasaki, Ken Ichi Royal Oak Daily Tribune. Chakravorti, Robindra; Rodriquez, Manuel Eduardo Saginaw News Chapin, Darlene; Griess, Louis; Kim, Yong Hyun Sault Ste. Marie Evening News. Yacoub, George
Click on terms below to find any related finding aids on this site.
Adrian daily telegram.
Ann Arbor news.
Battle Creek enquirer and news.
Bay City times.
Benton Harbor news-palladium.
Clinton County republican news.
Detroit Free Press.
Grand Haven daily tribune.
Grand Rapids herald (1892)
Grand Rapids press.
Holland evening sentinel.
Lansing state journal.
Niles daily star.
Owosso argus press.
Port Huron times herald.
Royal Oak daily tribune.
Evening news (Sault Sainte Marie, Mich.)
Journalists -- Michigan.
American newspapers -- Michigan.
Kerner Plus 10 Conference (1977: University of Michigan)
Kappa Tau Alpha.
Women in Communications, Inc.
University of Michigan -- Congresses.
University of Michigan. Dept. of Communication.
University of Michigan. Dept. of Journalism.
Haven Hall (University of Michigan : 1863-1950)
University of Michigan -- Faculty.
Hersey, John, 1914-1993.
Porter, William Earl.
Ann Arbor (Mich.)
Using These Materials
The record group is open to research without restriction.
- USE & PERMISSIONS:
Copyright is held by the Regents of the University of Michigan but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright is not held. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.
- PREFERRED CITATION:
[item], folder, box, Department of Communication Studies (University of Michigan) records, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan