The Rhetoric and Sound Department will add a minor in Media Studies this fall

Brita Stoneman, adjunct professor of rhetoric and public speaking, joined the Hillsdale faculty spring semester.
Stefan Kleinhenz | college student

Students will have the option of minoring in media studies starting this fall. The new minor will replace the Mass Communication minor in the Department of Rhetoric and Public Address, offering a broader study of media. Media studies will be included in the 2022 – 2023 course catalog.

“I want students to think critically about their media environment, learn the analytical tools to make sense of an increasingly complex and mediated world,” Stoneman said. “I also hope that they will be inspired to find ways – with or against or alongside technology – to fortify and maintain the integrity of the human being and to extend the power of the individual in harmony with an equally strengthened community.”

The minor’s courses cover media history, theory and criticism. Academic courses include courses such as media ecology, propaganda, social control, and conservative critiques of technology. Media criticism courses study narrative film, documentary and television. Although most courses contain a historical component, specific history courses like broadcasting history will be offered, Stoneman said.

“When I joined the faculty, we had a few media courses in the books,” said Ethan Stoneman, assistant professor of rhetoric and public address. “I wanted to expand those offerings into something that would be more widely usable by Hillsdale students.”

Stoneman suggested the idea of ​​the miner. The provost and promotion and tenure committee asked Stoneman to submit a plan to address his “dream department” as part of his tenure application.

After producing a plan, the RPA department proposed the changes to the faculty, which were well received and adopted, according to department chair Kirstin Kiledal.

Stoneman said he received input from Kiledal, RPA Lecturer Brita Stoneman, Dean of Humanities Stephen Smith and Senior Provost Advisor Mark Maier.

Kiledal said that since the minor is not in the 2021 – 2022 course catalog, an estimate of the number of media studies minors is not yet available. However, the specialized media studies courses this semester included approximately 25 students.

Kiledal explained the need to rebrand the former mass communications miner.

“Changes to the minor reflect developmental changes in the field, growth in academic rigor, reduction in credit hours for the minor, and important areas of faculty knowledge and interest,” she said.

Students could minor in media studies for many reasons, according to Kiledal.

“Some are interested in careers in the media or in media in general, or in journalism and some seek contemporary studies and opportunities in critical methods and analytical skills across the spectrum of communication,” said she declared.

In the Fall 2022 semester, the Media Studies minor will offer courses in Media and Culture, Propaganda and Social Control, Media Theory and Critique, and Film: History and Form. No prerequisites are required for any of the classes.

“The miner is really something special,” Stoneman said. “There is no other study program anywhere else quite like it. That’s because we developed it with the Hillsdale student body in mind.

Junior Carson Brown said he took his first media studies course, Media Ecology, early in his second year.

“I found it to be one of my first courses that really connected all of the humanities in a holistic way,” he said. “I decided to choose the minor in media studies because I felt like it was one of the few courses I had taken that gave me a practical insight into my way of life from the liberal arts perspective that I came to Hillsdale for.”