Grace College in Winona Lake, Ind., added a degree in professional communication to its course offerings this year. The major is designed to prepare students to communicate effectively in the demanding and complex world of business. The unique, interdisciplinary degree combines principles and practices of three distinct programs: communication, behavioral science, and marketing in order to equip graduates for roles in human resources, corporate management, and related fields.
“There is an ever-increasing need in corporate America for well-rounded, communicative, sensitive, measured, and business-savvy professionals, and it’s our intention to meet it through the new professional communication degree,” said Dr. Pat Loebs, communication program director at Grace.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the fields of human resource management and administrative service management are expected to see a nine percent growth in the next decade alone.
In response to this growth, Grace’s degree takes a multi-faceted approach to professional communication, helping students understand communication theory and management principles, as well as the cognitive processes that pertain to creating and maintaining a positive work environment. The degree will include a broad set of courses spanning from “Business Spreadsheet Applications” to “Motivation and Emotion.”
The behavioral science emphasis is a distinctive of the program.
“Understanding psychology — the way that people think and behave — is absolutely essential to dealing with management issues and conflict resolution successfully,” said Dr. Kelly Arney, associate dean of the Behavioral Science Department. “In order to create a healthier, more effective workplace, the human component cannot be forgotten. It is a disservice that many schools with similar degrees leave out the behavioral science coursework,” she said.
Students in the program are also required to complete an internship which allows them to practice their educational experiences in a real-world setting before they step into the field full-time.
“Upon graduation, students will possess the critical thinking skills of a communicator, the relational acumen of a counselor, and the problem-solving abilities of a businessman,” said Dr. Loebs. “This diverse toolbox of expertise will serve our graduates, their employers, and their employees well.”