UCSD Communication

About the Department

The Communication Department began as a program of what is now Marshall College at UCSD in the 1970s. It became the first Communication department in the University of California system in 1982 and is now among the best-known communication departments nationwide and worldwide. The Undergraduate Major in Communication is among the most popular at UCSD, the department’s Ph.D. program, with about 50 current students, is known for the innovative scholars it produces.

The following documents offer a glimpse of the institutional issues surrounding the formation of the Communication Program which was central to LCHC’s move from Rockefeller University to UCSD. As the reader will see, the idea of creating a Communication Department was very controversial on campus. The documents here are each fairly tame, perhaps because they were official academic memos.

Thoughts on the Communication Program (1978) (From Committee of Educational Policy): This document was written by the committee that approved the formation of new academic programs. It summarizes views that had accumulated over the prior 6-7 years during which a number of scholars, most prominent among them Herb Schiller, sought to elevate communication from the subject matter of an undergraduate, interdepartmental program to a full fledged department.

Communication Program Description (1981): This document provides a summary of the argument made by Mike Cole and his colleagues three years later. Cole moved to UCSD in 1978 at which time he and the existing program faculty had to re-design the Program’s curriculum or get shut down because the Committee on Educational Policy thought its curriculum insufficient, intellectually, politically, and in terms of its faculty. The document provides the template which eventually led to Departmental Status, and then a graduate program in Communication.

Comm Department Status (1984): This document, issued by the Committee on Educational Policy, describes the approval, rational, and conditions for the establishment of an official Communication Department at UCSD.

Comm Graduate Study Proposal (1984): This document outlines the proposed structure for a PhD graduate program to be established as a part of the Communication Department at UCSD, including its rational, requirements, and student demands for such a program.

30th Anniversary Communication Department Anniversary Celebration

Comm Department 30th Anniversary Banner - 2013

On June 6-8, 2013, during UCSD’s Alumni Weekend, UCSD alumni, faculty, staff, students, and community members joined together for a 3-day conference and celebration of the first 30 years of the Department of Communication at UCSD. This celebration offered a unique opportunity to continue developing the Communication Department by commemorating its accomplishments and bringing together the many people who made such accomplishments possible.

  • More information about the Celebration is online here, including a schedule of activities and a description of the event.
  • There is also a youtube channel with videos documenting the event and the Department of Communication, online here.

UCSD Communication Department Today

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