Thursday , May 26 2022

10 Simple Steps for Unbundling Your Mass Communication Department in Nigeria

The unbundling of Mass Communication degree in Nigerian universities into seven new degree programmes is the top priority of most institutions at this moment. Recall that professors, professionals and practitioners of communication in Nigeria had presented new communication curricula to National Universities Commission (NUC) seeking the unbundling of mass communication into seven departments. The NUC had approved the Curriculum which resulted in the emergence of seven degree-awarding programmes and the phasing out of the single BSc/BA Degree Programme in Mass Communication currently offered in different Faculties in different universities.

The seven new Programmes/Departments, to be domiciled in a Faculty/School/College of Communication and Media Studies are: Journalism & Media Studies, Public Relations, Advertising, Broadcasting, Film & Multi-Media Studies, Development Communication Studies, Information & Media Studies.

While departments of Mass Communication in some universities have already commenced board meetings on how to gradually transform into a school of communication with the seven new programmes, some others are wondering how to commence the process of transition into a faculty of communication. A number of departments already have committees set up to work out the process of unbundling while a few others are still thinking this is not feasible. Some claim they do not have the resources to split their programme into new ones.

Well, it is not out of place to wonder how to begin the process of splitting a department into new programmes. It is really no child’s play. But if you have an idea of how to go about it you will see it is really no big deal. All you need do is take it one step at a time, gradually you will transit into a school of communication. Here is how you can begin a step-by-step process of splitting mass communication department into seven new programmes approved by the NUC. We know it is not an easy task, especially for departments that have relatively young scholars who need every assistance they could get to make this transition process smooth and fruitful. That is why we have put together this simple guide to take you by step by step through how you can start the process of unbundling your department into seven new degree programmes. You might not follow the steps exactly as we have put them here but you could find a number of them very useful as you plan to split your department. The process may vary according to policies for establishing new programmes in different universities in Nigeria so you might not need to do some of the things listed here. However, a look at these 10 tips will be of great assistance to you.


10 Important Steps to Unbundling Mass Communication Department in Nigeria


1. Have a meeting

This is the very first move to make. The Head of Department should call a departmental board meeting to discuss the new plan with staff. Different lecturers could have ideas on how best to go about the unbundling process. The Head of department should be open to suggestions on this issue.

2. Notify the Senate about the new development

You could decide to let the University Senate know about the new NUC directive while you wait to formalize the process of unbundling. The notification should be through a formal letter explaining the plan to unbundle mass communication department. This is just like an advance notice especially where the department is not ready to unbundle immediately. Some others may choose not to write a notification letter but to send a proposal to the Senate on the new programmes. The use of notification letter depends on individual schools.

3. Decide on how many programmes to begin with

Remember you must not start with all the seven programmes. You have to decide on how many programmes to begin with out of the seven new ones. But note that you have to propose the seven new programmes to the Senate and get approval for all of them after which you begin with the number your departmental board agreed to commence with. Decide on whether to start with more programmes, less departments or equal number of programmes and departments. Remember you can have one department giving two degrees in two different programmes. So if you don’t have the resources to create four new departments you can actually have two departments each housing two programmes. That way you would have four programmes. But don’t forget that you still need the manpower to run four programmes. To establish a faculty of communication you need a minimum of three programmes and each one should have a minimum of six lecturers. Think along these lines to get the best out of the gradual process of unbundling.

4. Set up a committee

A committee that will work out plans on how to unbundle the department will make the process faster and smoother. The terms of reference of the committee should be targeted at getting approval from the University Management for commencement of the programmes, writing a proposal for the unbundling, spelling out the facilities available for the programmes and why a specific number (or even all seven) could be commenced with, listing the requirements for the new programmes to commence, among others. The committee is certainly not set up to claim the department lacks the resources to unbundle. No! It should be a positive committee. Tell us how we can unbundle. Should we begin with a minimum of three programmes so we can operate a faculty of communication or should be simply transform the department into one of the new programmes and exist under social sciences or any other faculty in the institution? Positive-minded staff should be made members of this Unbundling Committee.


READ ALSO: 10 Terrible Things That Will Happen to Mass Comm Departments in Nigeria that Don’t Unbundle

READ ALSO: 20 Disturbing Questions About Unbundling of Mass Communication Degree in Nigeria

READ ALSO: See Seven Powerful Courses To Replace Mass Communication Degree In Nigeria


5. Classify the lecturers into various degree programmes

This means placing the lecturers into the new programmes based on their areas of specialization. It could be done by the committee or at the general board level. But it is good to give the lecturers options to decide on where to settle, not really using their publications or courses they’ve been teaching to determine their new departments. You know they’ve been teaching broad areas which may have been affecting their specific areas of interest. Someone who has been writing articles on Journalism for instance might have interest in development communication or Information & Media Studies. He or she might want to refocus and develop further in the new area. So give people option to decide for themselves before finalizing on where to settle.

6. Select Heads for each of the new programmes

The new programmes you are to begin with should have Heads of department/programme. While deciding on which programmes to commence with you also select those that will head each one. These various heads could be made members of the departmental committee working on the unbundling plan.

7. Make the new curriculum available to every lecturer

Every lecturer in the department should see the new curriculum for the seven new programmes. Provide electronic of hard copies to each one of them. This will give them an idea of what is required in each course, specific courses to be taught and expectations at the end of each programme. It could even spur them into self development programmes so as to fit into the new department they will be moving into.

8. Study and follow your University’s Senate curriculum standard for setting up a new department

In almost every school there is a standard for setting up new programmes. Since unbundling requires setting up new programmes, ask for Senate Curriculum for setting up new programmes. It will be given to you. Then study it closely to make sure you don’t write a faulty proposal that won’t be approved by the Senate. Remember your university has to approve the new programmes before you split mass communication department. Make sure the curriculum you’re writing covers the seven new programmes so that all of them will get Senate approval. Even if you begin now with just three programmes if you decide to introduce additional one tomorrow you wouldn’t need to go back to the Senate for approval.

9. Write a proposal for the seven new programmes

The proposal should be based on the guidelines provided in the Senate Curriculum for establishing a new programme. Make sure you also consult the curriculum approved by the NUC for the seven new programmes so you don’t seek approval of a programme that won’t be recognized by the NUC.

10. Begin the new programmes

Once you get approval from University Senate for commencement of the new programmes you can kick off at a date agreed by the department. Remember this is a gradual process. It might not be smooth at the beginning. You are likely to encounter teething problems but that shouldn’t make anyone think it won’t work out. Unbundling is one of the next best things that happened to Communication studies in Nigeria. So you have to strive to make it work in your school.





About Chinenye Nwabueze

Nwabueze is a communication researcher with several years of lecturing experience in Nigerian universities.

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