3 facts: The Communications Program

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I’ve been getting questions on Formspring about the Communications program. I love my program, but it was a long time before I realized I was interested in it! (My major was international studies, but I changed it.)

I thought a blog post would be handy in answering these questions, so I wrote up 3 facts about the communications program at Glendon. 

Fact #1. Communications (a.k.a.  Communications Studies) deals with processes of human communication.

What is communications about? Communications covers topics like:

  • mass media and culture,
  • face-to-face (i.e. interpersonal) communication,
  • the exchange of messages, ideas, and values,
  • technologies that influence communication (e.g. the internet),
  • sometimes: rhetoric, i.e. how to form an argument (think Socrates, Plato, other dead guys)
oprah

Interesting fact: Oprah, Jerry Seinfeld, Spike Lee, and Howard Stern all studied communications.

You might be interested in majoring in communications if…

  • You’d love a job like: public relations consultant, human resources adviser, television broadcaster, journalist, copywriter, or editor (find more career options here)
  • You’re passionate about publishing, mass media (e.g. social media, television, print journalism), international development, policy, or politics.
  • You want to be a character in Ugly Betty or Mad Men. (Don’t get too excited though; working life is not that glamorous.)
I'm reasonably sure most people in communications aren't this grumpy.

I’m reasonably sure most people in communications aren’t this grumpy.

Fact #2. The Communications Program at Glendon is in transition.

Although there is no program right now, there will be a complete program available in 2015. Right now, Glendon already offers communications-related courses like:

  • Introduction to Communication: Theory and Practice (GL/SOSC 2100): This course focuses on interpersonal communication (e.g. How do you handle conflict in your professional or personal life?) and teaches you how to do business consulting.
  • Professional Communications Field Experience (GL/SOSC 4505): This combines in-class study with a 6-week internship.

…and a certificate program in Technical and Professional Communication. This is useful because hard skills like business writing look good on a resume and can be practically applied in a job.

Fact #3. I am studying communications at Glendon (what?!) …in the Individualized Studies Program (oh.).

This is the most confusing part of this post because I am a fossil – one of the last of my kind!

fossil = me.

fossil = me.

Before the official communications program is introduced at Glendon, new students can study communications at Glendon in the Individualized Studies Program.

The Individualized Studies Program allows students to study programs by mixing and matching courses that are related to a single subject that doesn’t already exist as a program (i.e. communications). Be warned, however, that this requires more initiative than other programs.

Well that’s about it. 

If you have other questions about communications, leave them in the comments or on my Formspring.

FAQ at the Ontario University Fair (2012)

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I got the chance to spend this past Sunday at the Ontario University Fair (OUF) as an ambassador for Glendon Campus. It was soooo refreshing to meet high school students. Their energy is inspirational.

Throughout the day, I realized that certain questions came up more than once. Then I thought to myself, “I’ll bet lots of other people are wondering about these questions.”

So here are the 9 frequently asked questions from my time at the OUF – with my answers, of course! If you have more questions, you can ask them by leaving a comment on this post or going to my Formspring page.

Table of Contents:
fyi: this click-menu is a little confusing for WordPress users! WP users, scroll a bit up after clicking!
Concurrent Ed – what is it?
How do scholarships work?
Tell me about the psychology program.
Psychology is offered the Keele Campus and at the Glendon Campus…? I don’t get it.
What are the main differences between the Keele Campus and the Glendon Campus?
Do Glendon students study everything in French?
How does the French requirement work?
Do you offer sciences (e.g. biology)?
How can I see the campus?

Concurrent Ed – what is it?
There are two ways you can get a teacher’s college education.
1. You can obtain your undergraduate degree (BA) and then go to Teacher’s College. This is the consecutive route.
2. You can also do both at the same time. That’s the concurrent route. Applying for this takes more work than applying for a regular BA program.

Yes, Glendon has a concurrent education program. Yes, we teach people how to become French immersion teachers. If you apply for the direct-entry concurrent education program through OUAC, you will receive a supplementary application through email afterwards.

More info about Glendon’s BEd program.

How do scholarships work?
There are two kinds of scholarships at Glendon: the kind you apply for and the kind you don’t apply for (based on your top 6 average). Keep an eye out for those deadlines for the application-based scholarships. Many are already due in February and March.

More info about scholarships.

Tell me about the psychology program.
It’s awesome. The people who I know in this program love it. The classes are dynamic and small, the profs are interesting, and there’s a lot of interesting research going on.

More info about the psychology department at Glendon.

Psychology is offered the Keele Campus and at the Glendon Campus…? I don’t get it.
I know. It’s confusing. I’m not an expert, but here’s what I do know:

  • These are two separate departments run by different people. Think of them as a McDonalds and a Harveys, not two Wendy’s franchises.
  • Classes at Glendon are generally smaller (Glendon’s average class size is in the 20s).
  • Glendon has some pretty cool profs, including Guy Proulx and Timothy Moore.

More info about the psychology department at Glendon.

What are the main differences between the Keele Campus and the Glendon Campus?

In my opinion, the basic differences are:

  1. size – the Glendon Campus population is around 3,000 and the Keele Campus population is about 55,000
  2. location – we’re location at Bayview and Lawrence in midtown Toronto, the Keele Campus is located around Keele and Steeles
  3. atmosphere – the Glendon Campus has a very green, natural, cosy feel. The Keele Campus is a lot larger, so naturally, it feels totally different.

These are just the basics and you’ll get a different answer based on who you ask. The best way to find out more is just to visit. Our open house is November 18th. Register here.

Do Glendon students study everything in French?
Depends. If you want to, yes. If you don’t want to, no. See the next question for more.

How does the French requirement work?
Every student studies French in order to become bilingual. At a bare minimum, that means taking a French as a Second Language course at the second-year level or taking a second-year level discipline course in French (e.g. history, but in French). At maximum, you can take courses in your program in French (e.g. history, but in French), and even pick up other languages! You choose what works for you.

Scroll to page 13 of the student handbook for more info about French options at Glendon.

Do you offer sciences (e.g. biology)?
Sort of. We focus on the liberal arts. But aside from that, we have a BA program in Environmental Science and Health Studies (eAmbassador Michelle is in this program) with courses about science from an arts perspective (e.g. Introduction to Biology, Conservation Biology).

We also have Economics and Business Economics programs.

You can find a list of all of our academic programs in a drop-down menu here.

How can I see the campus?
If you missed meeting us at the Ontario University Fair, you can also
Check out our fall open house (Fall Campus Day)
Come for a tour.
Sit in on a lecture as part of our Shadow Program (stay posted!)
Come for a day during March break (March Break U (stay posted!)

Have more questions? Post them below in the comments section or go to my Formspring!

I love communications.

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I feel like I’ve finally found the degree of my dreams. I don’t want to get into it too much, because we’ve only been together for a week, but seriously. I am telling you, communications is the major for me.

This is my first year as a communications major (side note: the official major and minor program will be established by 2014). For a gal who has studied everything from psychology to international development, and who has felt lost in the midst of it all, this is monumental.

Expectations

When I left high school, I felt that it was expected for me to know what career I wanted, what I was really passionate about, and at the very least – what I wanted to major in.

But I didn’t know! So in the meantime, I did all the things that seemed interesting to me, and began to work through the haze of confusion of career options, degree options, club options, options, options, options . . . And I’m still working it out!

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Fast forward

Last night, I had my first communications class. The class was dynamically taught, the subject matter corresponds to my passions, and I can see the content helping me in a future career. This is a new thing. I finally found the rightly fitting program for me.

When you get to university, you may also feel that you’re not ”getting it.” In that place of uncertainty and doubt, I’d encourage you to keep struggling. For a life of passion. For an academic pursuit with purpose. Even for peace. Who knows, one day you might be surprised with arriving at something you really love.

University exams: what I’ve experienced so far

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I know what intimidated me as I was entering university: exams. I wondered . . . How hard would they be? What kind of formats would be used? What was a bell curve?

I still don’t know what a bell curve is, but I can tell you about what I’ve experienced as a student so far. Here is what I’ve learned in my first two years of university.

In first year, exams are easy, but not that easy. Is that confusing? What I mean to say is that most freshman classes are about foundations: review, skills development, basics. Professors are preparing you for the rest of university, not blowing your mind with Confucian philosophy and obscure political theories.

Don’t be mistaken. You’ll still have to work hard. Your grades will probably drop as well. But you’ll get the hang of it.

International studies and politics courses usually have essay questions & short answers on exams, not just memory work. These essays emphasize concepts.

As a student writing an essay exam, your role is to identify relevant concepts to an exam question and then to make connections between them. Your ability to memorize will be important, but not in the way it might have been important in your high school. Specifics are less important. 

Overarching themes, networks of knowledge, big ideas. That’s where it’s at.

Average exam length is 2 to 3 hours. That may sound like a lot, but it flies! Personally, I get hungry all the time, so I bring snacks to exams to keep my energy level up.

Smoothie photo cred: Stefan G. C.

Full year international studies & politics courses have yearly or bi-yearly exams. However, other courses (e.g. psychology, natural science, modes of reasoning) stress memorization of specific information so  they have several unit tests throughout the year, rather than one or two exams.

You can expect your profs to be merciful! When I came to university, I was expecting my professors to nail me on exams during my first year. Instead, they prepared me for my exams, telling me what to expect, and giving fair evaluations. I got everything I needed to do well.

So there you have it. University exams aren’t so bad! And I still haven’t mentioned the best thing about them. They are the precursor to 4 glorious months of summer vacation.

Questions? Leave them in the comments! I want to know what you think 🙂