Kent State’s School of Digital Sciences Joins College of Communication and Information
On July 1, the Kent State University School of Digital Sciences became the fifth school in the College of Communication and Information, making it the only college in the nation to combine a mix of digital sciences, visual communication design, journalism and mass communication, information sciences and communication studies in its curriculum.
“Over the past decade, digital technologies have transformed the disciplines in our college,” says Amy Reynolds, Ph.D., dean of Kent State’s College of Communication and Information. “This is significant because the growth of colleges of communication and information are on the rise at top-tier, research-intensive universities. The digital sciences integration provides the College of Communication and Information and Kent State the opportunity to immediately emphasize and expand their reputations as national thought leaders in our specialties.”
The School of Digital Sciences was established in fall 2011 at Kent State as an independent, interdisciplinary school using faculty members from colleges across the university to teach its courses, instead of having its own permanent faculty. This model allowed students to take selected classes from other programs as part of their digital sciences major.
“The School of Digital Sciences will continue to function as an interdisciplinary unit across campus, as the College of Communication and Information will work with other colleges to enhance the existing partnerships and programs,” Reynolds says. “This realignment of the School of Digital Sciences within the university’s standard academic administrative structure is really an effort to utilize resources more efficiently to meet the needs of our students.”
The addition of the School of Digital Sciences to the College of Communication and Information allows the college to build across its own existing programs – particularly in the areas of data science, knowledge management, user experience design, health informatics, organizational and global communication, visual communication design, media and journalism – while maintaining the interdisciplinary nature of digital science. The School of Digital Sciences will benefit from the integration by better incorporating the college’s expertise in communication, information, design thinking, the social consequences of technology and its impact on the public good and civil society.
“Having the College of Communication and Information as our school’s administrative home will allow us to further develop both our undergraduate and graduate degree programs,” says Jeff Fruit, the interim director for the School of Digital Sciences. “We will not only be able to enhance some strong existing interdisciplinary collaborations, but also build new ones.”
Reynolds adds, “In other words, the School of Digital Sciences enhances the College of Communication and Information’s pursuit of the interdisciplinary study of digital technologies, while the college enhances digital sciences’ interest in providing context and expertise about the relationship between society, information, communication, technology and people. This move is a win-win for all involved.”