The Cleveland Stater is published online and in print by students enrolled in the School of Communication at Cleveland State University.
The Innerlink: A CLASS Publication
BY EDUARDO OTERO
To contribute to a Center of Excellence in Health at Cleveland State University, one program in the School of Communication is being revised to meet the needs of students and area medical employers.
Adjustments to the bachelor of arts in communication management program will be made in fall 2009 to increase the skills and marketability of graduates in health communication.
The curriculum’s existing five tracks will be condensed into two specialized sequences: a health and mediation track and an organizational communication and leadership track.
“The health and mediation track, for example, combines skills that lend themselves to a broader range of jobs,” said communication management division director Dr. Eileen Berlin Ray. “It brings skills together that, otherwise with the five tracks, [students] wouldn’t be getting,” she added.
According to Berlin Ray, helping students be prepared for the various challenges of the workplace was foremost in re-envisioning the program.
“When we became a school and developed majors,” Berlin Ray said, “the point was to monitor [them] over time and make changes as we saw we needed to. Having five different areas in communication management just seemed kind of unwieldy.”
“Scheduling was definitely an issue,” she continued.
The university declared last year that one of its primary areas of concentration would be health, in accordance with the university system of Ohio, said Dr. George Ray of the Communication Management Division.
“In our area, and in this region, health is one sector of the economy that’s pretty solid,” said Ray. “It’s actually growing … Health is now one of the things Cleveland State wants to be known for,” he continued.
“There are a number of fields within health: in-service, care provision, administration, and research,” Ray said. “An institution like the Cleveland Clinic has a lot of people involved in communication, [but] it’s not always called that.”
Founded in 1921, The Cleveland Clinic is the city’s largest employer, with a workforce of approximately 40,000.
Patient advocates, ombudspersons, and troubleshooters are just some of the many fields in health communication, Ray said. “We’re trying to figure out how to package what we do into something that’s recognized in the job market,” he continued.
The community’s health care industry includes well-known institutions like MetroHealth Medical Center and University Hospitals of Cleveland.
Students who declared communication management as their major before fall 2009 semester will have the choice of remaining under the guidelines of the old curriculum or switching to its replacement. After fall, new majors follow the updated program.
The five track types to be discontinued this fall are Health, Organizational, Intercultural, Relational, and Mediation.
The organizational communication and leadership sequence is designed for students interested in leadership theory and practice in public, private, and nonprofit sectors.
Berlin Ray said that faculty would monitor the new sequences to make sure they effectively serve students.
“If you want to take a systems perspective, it’s kind of dynamic homeostasis,” said Berlin Ray. “It’s changing while trying to maintain a level of structure.”
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