By Elizabeth Scalzo
Conducting a semester-long investigation was not in my plans for this spring, it wasn’t in anyone’s plans. However, the threat of losing the FDU communication department hit me and other students, faculty and staff in the heart.
FDU is halting admittance to the Metro communication program for the 2021-2022 school year, Geoffrey Weinman, dean of the Becton College of Arts and Science, emailed students in the communication department at FDU Metro on Feb. 24.
When this announcement came out I had a lot of questions. In the closing days of this semester, many are still unanswered because we can’t predict the future. But, through this investigative work, colleague Jen Malti and I will share ideas to help #savecomm at FDU.This work was guided by the professor of our independent study, Mo Krochmal.
We have conducted interviews with current students, professionals in the field and experts in communication studies. We hope to show the threat to our society if critical programs continue to disappear.
I could go on about the importance of communication, but you will see that throughout the week. Instead, I’d like to take this time to explain the project, the process and tell you all what communication means to me.
When planning to take Advanced News Reporting I was excited, but the original course was cancelled due to the lack of enrollment. Thanks to Professor Krochmal, Jen and I were still able to take the class in an independent-study format.
The cancellation of this class is part of what is plaguing the FDU communication department right now. Students are struggling to meet the requirements in their degree audits, which we will examine Tuesday.
The class started off with us reaching out to journalists for the first few weeks trying to find a mentor in the field and learn as much as possible about what communication students need to be doing to land a job.
However, with the announcement from Weinman, this became about a lot more than just how Jen and I could better ourselves for future jobs. This became a full-on investigative story, one unlike anything I had ever done before or seen in my time at The Equinox.
Jen and I sent hundreds of emails and follow-up emails to try and find people who would talk to us. That was one of the most difficult parts, but we found a number of helpful sources.
We learned what it’s like to set up a research plan. We spent hours looking at statistics, competing programs, other universities that are cutting communication studies and other liberal arts programs, researching valuable skills, and working to understand the financials of FDU.
In the year like no other — this was a project like no other and we are proud to present it to you.
One nice thing the pandemic did teach us is that we could interview anyone from across the country and still make it work, and we did just that.
Six interviews, lots of follow-up questions, social-media content creation, several drafts, lots of editing and endless amounts of caffeine later, the time has finally come to publish the five-part series.
If you told me when I was accepted to FDU that this is what I would be doing now, I probably would’ve laughed and said, “yeah OK, maybe when pigs fly,” but I digress. This program at FDU has done a lot for me and taught me a lot about myself, and I believe that is something a lot of people don’t think about.
When I came to college, I didn’t have a clue of where I was going in life. I just knew I loved writing and talking, and I had a friend who told me he knew I could make a career out of it, so I was going to try.
I remember walking into the newsroom for the first time ever with Jen, and I never thought I would work my way up to Editor-in-Chief or that Jen would still be my colleague in this journey.
The communication department gave me professors who believed in me, something I didn’t really have with my high-school teachers. It taught me the value in caring for others because that’s what journalists do, we comfort those who are facing some of the worst days of their life and we call people out when they are in the wrong. We fight for what is right, and we don’t scare easily.
I wouldn’t be half the person I am today if it wasn’t for the communication program at FDU Metro, that is why I am here to fight for it. One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from Dr.Seuss’s The Lorax, “unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
Here I am, caring a whole awful lot, and turning to you, our readers, to help us with the fight.
Throughout this next week, I hope you all can see why this is not only important for me, but for our society and our future.
Art by Elizabeth Scalzo.
An introduction to the five part investigative series.