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Drexel slashes comms department, what comes next? | The Triangle

Drexel slashes comms department, what comes next?

Three professors from the Communications department at Drexel University found out this year that they are being laid off and will not be teaching at Drexel next year.

Compared to Drexel’s big draws like the business and engineering programs, communications is a small department. Still, if even the smallest departments are not valued by the university at large, questions have to be raised about how much a student’s education remains a campus priority.

Despite the low enrollment in the communications department, the classes offered there are often general education requirements for students across Drexel’s majors. Communications students are not the only ones affected by the loss of professors. If fewer sections are offered of required communications classes, students will have to scramble to make their schedules work. Other students may no longer be able to take communications electives, for fun or to enrich their studies. Across the university, the quality of education will suffer without a fully-functioning communications department.

All this is not to mention the effects on the professors that will remain. At an already difficult time, as the switch to semesters forces faculty to rework their classes and rewrite their syllabi, remaining communications professors will be under even more pressure to pick up the slack due to their coworkers being laid off.

While funding continues to go towards marketing projects, like the newly renovated 30th Street SEPTA station, or directly to John Fry’s salary, which surpassed $2.5 million in 2022, the university’s faculty are no longer considered to be a worthy investment. Some of the professors being laid off were planning to retire within the next few years, plans that will now have to change. The decision suggests that Drexel faculty are valued first and foremost financially.

As a student-run media outlet, and the only newspaper on Drexel’s campus, we at the Triangle feel especially concerned about the degree to which journalism is valued at Drexel. Our Triangle staff are almost entirely self-taught, with already limited access to journalism courses. We are saddened to watch the professors teaching those courses be forced to leave the university.

As an organization, we are constantly learning as we go, with the guidance of journalism faculty, who provide their time to support student journalism. As part of the layoffs, we will not only lose academic mentors, but also valued members of the Triangle Advisory Board. We will lose professional education in the field of journalism. We will lose opportunities to network with career journalists and access to community resources.

The Triangle believes that journalism is invaluable – at Drexel, in Philadelphia and around the world. It holds our institutions accountable, educates the public and asks us to constantly reevaluate our beliefs. If we hold these values dear, we must continue to educate the next generation of young journalists.

We sincerely hope that Drexel will fill the vacant positions soon, for the sake of the remaining communications professors, for the sake of Drexel’s students, and for the sake of journalism. The Triangle will continue to promote independent, fair, honest reporting. We hope that the administration’s next steps consider the value of communications education for students and maintain its importance.