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Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies records

 Record Group
Identifier: 002-006-003-010

Scope and Contents

The collection is composed of correspondence, minutes, reports, programs, announcements, and other material related to the governance and events created by the Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies.

Dates

  • 1964 - 2005

Biographical / Historical

Course catalogs dating back to the very first session of the Maryland State Normal School, first iteration of Towson University, list “Rhetoric” as a subject. Students who would be teachers were instructed on how to speak clearly and project their voices. The name of the subject would change from rhetoric to elocution to speech arts, and the focus of the classes changed as well, from learning how to speak before a class to understanding the physical science behind what made it all possible. These classes were taught by teachers in the English department for almost the first 100 years of the school’s existence. All students were required to pass a speech class in order to graduate from the school.

By the 1940s, when the school was now the State Teacher’s College at Towson, drama was introduced as a facet of speech, and attempts to understand and correct “defective speech” also came into play. Drama was used as a way to engage school children, and stagecraft was also introduced at this time, and students also learned how to identify speech problems in children.

In 1962, just before the Towson became Towson State College [TSC] and a liberal arts school, the department of Speech and Drama was formalized. A student could now major or minor in Speech and Drama and focus on public speaking, theater, or speech science. These programs continued to develop at a rapid rate as the enrollment and course offerings at TSC rapidly grew through the 1960s and 1970s. Additional classes included those that focused on journalism, film studies, audiology, and radio and television directing.

In 1971, the school started a closed-circuit radio station that broadcast only to campus buildings on weekdays from about 8am until 6pm. Its call letters were “WVTS” and stood for the “Voice of Towson State”. By the fall of 1976, another station was broadcasting on an FM signal with the call letters “WCVT” – the “Community Voice of Towson”. This station became the center of progressive and alternative music in the area. Finally, in 1991, the station call letters were changed to “WTMD”, originally meaning “Where Towson Makes a Difference” and the format became more education focused. The format changed again in 2002, reverting back to the alternative music and focuses more on live performances and local events. Meanwhile, the original closed-circuit radio station is now an internet radio station known by the call letters XTSR.

Television, with its more expensive equipment, proved a little trickier for the school. Agreements were made with other local stations to use their resources to try and develop programs for the airwaves. A campus television station did not begin until 1992 whenTowson started TSTV – a student-run station. That station became WMJF-TV.

In 1972, the department’s name changed to Communication Arts and Sciences after Theatre broke off and established its own department. The name would change again in 1979 to Speech and Mass Communication after the department of Communication and Science Disorders was established. In 1998 the department officially became Mass Communication and Communication Studies. One last department change came in 2000 when Electronic Media and Film splintered off and became its own department.

By 2004 the Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies offered programs in Communication Studies, Mass Communication, and Political Science.

Extent

.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials

English

Overview

In 1962, just before the Towson became Towson State College [TSC] and a liberal arts school, the department of Speech and Drama was formalized. A student could now major or minor in Speech and Drama and focus on public speaking, theater, or speech science. These programs continued to develop at a rapid rate as the enrollment and course offerings at TSC rapidly grew through the 1960s and 1970s. Additional classes included those that focused on journalism, film studies, audiology, and radio and television directing. In 1972, the department’s name changed to Communication Arts and Sciences after Theatre broke off and established its own department. The name would change again in 1979 to Speech and Mass Communication after the department of Communication and Science Disorders was established. In 1998 the department officially became Mass Communication and Communication Studies. One last department change came in 2000 when Electronic Media and Film splintered off and became its own department. This collection holds correspondence, department meeting minutes, newsletters, and program proposals.

Related Materials

UA23000 – Records of the College of Fine Arts and Communication UA23030 – Records of the Department of Electronic Media and Film
Title
Guide to the Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies records
Author
Felicity Knox (updated by John Esh, 2020)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Towson University Special Collections and University Archives Repository

Contact:
Albert S. Cook Library
8000 York Rd
Towson MD 21252 United States