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A Communication Teaching Hospital

In 2012, the leaders of six foundations that make grants to support communication education wrote an open letter to university presidents. In that letter, the funders urged communication schools to “recreate themselves” by providing more hands-on experiences for students.

While aimed primarily at schools of journalism, the funders’ open letter reflects what we have heard from professionals in strategic communication, integrated marketing communication, electronic media and other areas of interest to the Elliott School.

With the funders’ charge in mind, we believe our school must transform itself into the equivalent of a teaching hospital for communicators where students learn by working on real-life projects that benefit our community. A teaching hospital model of communication education requires a dramatic transformation emphasizing active learning through creation, collaboration and critique.

The Elliott School is already a leader in providing students with education based in real-world, hands-on experiences. From the Flint Hills Media Project to the WSU Hunger Awareness initiative to the non-profit work of our Integrated Marketing Communication Campaigns students, the school’s curriculum already provides students with substantive, hands-on experiences led by passionate and engaged faculty members.

The Elliott School of Communication is unique in the region because of its integrated approach to communication education. The school’s founders wisely broke down barriers between traditional speech communication and mass communication programs, creating a hybrid that has only become more and more relevant with the march of time and the convergence of communication technologies. The school boasts an enormously talented faculty committed to the success of our students and graduates. Our home, Elliott Hall, stands alone among programs our size as a state-of-the-art teaching and learning facility with plenty of room to grow.

We would like to invite prospective students to consider joining us at the Elliott School. And we also invite our friends and potential partners in industry to help us as we transform communication education at Wichita State University.

Matthew Cecil, Ph.D. 
Director and Associate Professor