Two MSU departments undergo name changes

Contact: Douglas Noverr, American Thought and Language, (517) 355-2400; Mark Levy, Telecommunication, (517) 355-8372; or Tom Oswald, University Relations, (517) 355-2281,

May 12, 2003

East Lansing, Mich. - Two MSU departments - American thought and language and telecommunication - will soon have new names that reflect changes and expansion of the departments' missions and responsibilities.

At its Friday, May 9, meeting, the MSU Board of Trustees approved American thought and languages' name change to the Department of Writing, Rhetoric and American Cultures. The board also approved telecommunication's new name: the Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media.

Both changes are effective July 1.

"With this change, the university reaffirms its commitment to teaching students how to think critically and communicate clearly - skills that are essential to success in the modern world," said Wendy K. Wilkins, dean of the College of Arts and Letters in which American thought and language is located.

The department, which is responsible for teaching critical reading, writing and cultural analysis skills to undergraduate students, will be offering a new undergraduate degree program: the B.A. in Professional Writing. The department also offers a B.A. in American Studies.

In 1967, MSU was among the first universities in the nation to establish an American studies program.

The Department of Telecommunication's name change comes after two years of discussions and a unanimous vote by department faculty.

"This new name acknowledges our department's leadership as one of the very best programs for teaching and researching new communication media and information technologies," said chairperson Mark Levy.

Housed in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, the department offers degrees at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels.