Seton Hall’s Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Leadership (MASCL) program has stopped admitting students and will be suspended as of September 2017.
At a College of Communication and the Arts faculty meeting on Friday, Sept. 30, a resolution to form a committee to assess all MASCL program reviews in order to make changes to the program was passed by a 6-2 vote, according to Monsignor Dennis Mahon, associate professor of Communication.
Mahon added via email interview that the Master’s program, created 18 years ago, will undergo “re-imagining” in order to revamp the program.
Deirdre Yates, dean of the College of Communication and the Arts, said in an email interview that it was her administrative decision to suspend the program because of “declining enrollments and unmet budgetary expectations for the past seven years.”
Yates said that she had been “investigating and monitoring these issues” during her time as chair of the department for the last three years and that the program’s suspension is not related to the founding of the College of Communication and the Arts.
Dr. Richard Dool, formerly an associate professor of communication and the director of graduate studies for the Department of Communication, was “not interested” in discussing the suspension of the MASCL program with The Setonian when he was contacted by phone. Dool resigned from Seton Hall on June 30, 2016 after 14 years of teaching.
Dr. Renee Robinson, the current director of the Center for Graduate Studies in the College of Communication and the Arts, was unavailable for a comment on the suspension of the MASCL program. Robinson, the wife of Provost Larry Robinson, joined the faculty full time on July 1, 2016.
Yates said that College intends to complete the last two classes it has admitted.
Matt Netter, a student currently in the program, said via an email interview that the college has assured him and his classmates that they will see his class through the program.
“In terms of the curriculum and the primary focus on leadership, I think it’s an amazing program, but once it has been clearly defined going forward, it needs to be marketed on its own for its differentiating factors,” Netter said.
Netter described the program as “an alternative to the by-the-book MBA and to 100 percent online programs.”
Netter said that future students of the program are unlikely to simply happen upon the program in the course catalog; the program will need to be marketed through social media and other digital means.
Mahon did not think that the program needed to be fixed but echoed Netter’s sentiments to improve the marketing of any future programs.
“It does absolutely need bigger and better recruiting, having had resources whittled away for six years by deans of Arts and Sciences who were trying to solve large budget deficits,” Mahon said.
Mahon said that goal of this suspension is ultimately to improve and strengthen the program, which he says needs a great deal of correction at the present time – so much so that the faculty of the College deems it best not to accept new students at this time.
“My perspective is that MASCL is already quite good enough to recruit a new Learning Team as early as spring 2017 and could be ‘course-corrected’ if needed as we go forward,” Mahon said.
Yates said that in the meantime perspective students should consider enrolling in the on-campus Master of Arts in Strategic Communication (MASC) program.
Yates also said the College is compiling an interested students list for a future online graduate program that is currently “under development.” Yates did not specify a release date for the newly-developed program.
Brianna Bernath can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org