Communications students engage with critical perspectives on the history and practice of mass communication and media. Majors develop a comprehensive understanding of the theory and skills necessary for a variety of career paths while becoming proficient in media and information literacy—crucial for citizenship in today’s society.
When you complete a communications major at Blackburn you will have acquired the knowledge, understanding and skills to become a valued asset in non-profit organizations, corporations and beyond. The ability to communicate is one of the most highly sought skills by employers. The 2018 National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) survey of 201 employers found that the knowledge and skills taught in communication courses are essential to being hired.
Points of Distinction
- Work closely with professors in small classroom environments
- Students can tailor some aspects of the program (internship, independent study,) to their specific interests (radio, journalism, social media, etc.)
- Program is a blend of theory and hands-on, skills based, learning
- Program includes a required media and information literacy class – essential to navigate the contemporary digital landscape
- Opportunity to immediately apply communications skills and knowledge learned in the classroom in a work program position
- Opportunity for professional memberships including Alpha Delta Beta, Blackburn’s chapter of Lambda Pi Eta (national communications honors society), and the Illinois College Press Association
Why this Major?
“When responding to a recent National Association of Colleges and Employers Job Outlook Survey, employers identified the ability to verbally communicate with others inside and outside the organization and the ability to create and/or edit written documents as among the top ten skills they seek when hiring new college graduates. Graduates who majored in Communication bring these critical skills to the workplace. They demonstrate strong verbal, nonverbal, and written communication skills and have considerable expertise in speaking well in front of small and large audiences.” –
-National Communication Association
Production based courses including photography, video production, graphic design, production and publication, all have hands-on learning components. In addition, the required media and information literacy class is ‘flipped’ and highly interactive, as is the skills-based public speaking course. The required senior seminar project may include a production component, such as a video, webpage, etc. Optional communications related internships are another opportunity for experiential learning. In addition, many work program positions (see below) provide students with the opportunity to apply what they are simultaneously learning in the classroom.
Activities & Events
Students have the opportunity to participate in various fields trips, conferences, Lambda Pi Eta events, and national media literacy week activities.
Clubs & Organizations
- Alpha Delta Beta, Blackburn chapter of Lambda Pi Eta (National Communications Honor Society)
- Alpha Chi, National College Honor Society
- National Association for Media Literacy Education
- Illinois College Press Association
- Associated Collegiate Press
- Black Student Union
Communications majors in their junior or senior year may choose to complete an optional internship. Blackburn students have interned with Habitat for Humanity, Karmak, Gateway Grizzlies, Springfield Sliders, Macoupin County Enquirer-Democrat, City of Carlinville, and many other regional businesses and organizations.
Work Program Opportunities
- The Burnian (campus newspaper) – writers, editors, graphic designers, social media managers, website managers, and photographers
- Blackburn Internet Radio – station managers, DJs, social media managers
- Sports Information – writers and photographers
- Public Relations Office – writers, photographers, videographers
- Blackburn’s Writing Center – tutors
- Office of Institutional Research – researchers
- Admissions – tour guides, marketing, public relations
Hot Job Outlooks
- Advertising and Marketing
- Public Relations
- Media Production
- Social Media
- Marketing and Sales
- Public Administration
- Human Resources
- Public Affairs / Organizational Communication
Alumni have gone on to pursue careers as communications specialists, reporters, editors, marketing coordinators, graphic designers, in a wide variety of settings including large corporations, and non-profits, as well as graduate school.
Jordyn Smith, Communications Specialist, Graybar, Maryland Heights, Missouri (Class of 2018)
Courtney Egner, Client Development Manager, Seafoam Media, St. Louis, Missouri (Class of 2016)
Amanda Johnston, UI/UX Designer, Carle Foundation Hospital, Austin, Texas (Class of 2013)
Jason Farmer, Sports Editor, Hobbs News Sun, Hobbs, New Mexico (Class of 2013)
As an unsure freshman, I juggled back and forth between majoring in communications and a different discipline. Because of the structure of Blackburn’s Communications program, I felt fully equipped to enter the workforce upon graduation. With the combination of Blackburn’s unique Work Program and my vigorous communications courses, I was able to find employment in the Communications field as soon as I graduated. The uniqueness of Blackburn and it’s small class sizes, along with the relationships I was able to create with my professors is what motivated my hard work throughout my 4 years at Blackburn. By developing such strong connections with my professors, I found it comforting to know that while seeking employment and acceptance into graduate school, I was confident that not only could I ask my professors for letters of recommendation, but that they would encourage me along the way.
Karlee Brimberry, Class of 2018
Graduate School, University of Illinois Springfield
Studying Communications at Blackburn is an insight into how individuals, organizations and societies harness the power of the written word and other media to shape the thoughts and feelings of millions. I came out of the Blackburn Communications program with invaluable experience and knowledge that lets me choose which field or industry I want to apply it to. I've never felt limited by my degree, only
Patrick Benedict, Class of 2017
Support Specialist, Karmak, Carlinville, Illinois
One of the biggest things my degree has really helped with is focusing on how people interact with media. I work for a digital marketing firm, but don’t have a marketing degree, but my job is to build relationships with the people who come to our firm for help. Most of the time, those people have about as much knowledge in digital marketing as myself, but it helps that I have a more broad understanding of how people interact with media, rather than a hyperfocused knowledge in marketing.
Courtney Egner, Class of 2016
Client Development Manager, Seafoam Media, St. Louis, Missouri
I have no regrets about majoring in communications at Blackburn. It was a perfect fit for me as a student, and my time spent in the program has continued to prove its worth after graduation. The most valuable lessons were never on a syllabus, though. What communications studies at Blackburn really taught me was the importance of understanding different perspectives, keeping my mind open, and learning to think critically in the media-saturated world that we live in. Those lessons, along with the connections I formed within the department, are what I’ve carried with me into “the real world.” I am so grateful for those takeaways and am equally grateful for the professors who gave me the tools I needed to leave Blackburn feeling prepared, hopeful, and eager to reach my potential.
Sarah Collman, Class of 2016
Graphic Designer, Karmak, Carlinville, Illinois
My experience in Blackburn's Communications program gave me the confidence to step outside of my comfort zone and realize what I'm capable of achieving. When I began the program my Sophomore year, I was very introverted and uncertain about my future. The courses quickly sparked my interest and fueled my desire to be successful. The department faculty continually helped guide me on that path of success and provided personalized advice. By my senior year I felt confident going into my final seminar project and had the opportunity to work as a Teaching Assistant in the department. The program also created a strong foundation to build my career and provided me with the necessary tools to be successful. I frequently find myself utilizing the skills I learned in the program in my professional life. I am grateful for my time at Blackburn and hope that future students are able to benefit from the Communications program as well.
Rachel Lancey, Class of 2016
CEO Assistant, Convenant House, St. Louis, Missouri
The communications program at Blackburn College taught me how to think critically, write professionally and ultimately prepped me for the career I have today. The small class sizes allow for great group discussions and an intimate learning environment. Between the the communications course work and the Work Program, students can count on building a resume with real-world experience all while in school. This experience, in turn, helps set them up for success as future graduates and professionals.
Haley Welch, Class of 2016
Marketing Community Outreach Coordinator, Riverview Health, Indianapolis, Indiana
A unique combination of communications courses that combine practical experience and work experiences have helped recent graduates succeed in many positions:
- Courtney, Client Development Manager, Seafoam Media (St. Louis, Missouri)
- Haley, Marketing Community Outreach Coordinator, Riverview Health (Indianapolis, Indiana)
- Rachael, CEO Assistant, Covenant House (St. Louis, Missouri)
- Sarah, Graphic Designer, Karmak, (Carlinville, Illinois)
- Amanda, UI/UX Designer, Carle Foundation Hospital (Austin, Texas)
- Samantha, Director of Volunteers and Interns, McClean County Museum of History (Bloomington, Illinois)
- Allie, Web Customer Support Representative, Pohlman (St. Louis, Missouri)
We recently added a sports communication minor and there are plans to continue to enhance the skills-based production aspects of the program, including a new advanced video production course. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employment of media and communication occupations is projected to grow 6 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations, which will result in about 43,200 new jobs. Demand for media and communication occupations is expected to arise from the need to create, edit, translate, and disseminate information through a variety of different platforms.”
We have a audiovisual production studio which includes a podcasting station, video cameras, studio lights, video editing station, and a green screen.
The internet radio station is located in Bothwell.
Natasha and Mark have backgrounds in both the critical study of communications as well as the practical production of various forms of communication media. They value and emphasize experiential, hands-on learning in all of their classes. Both are committed to working with students in and beyond the classroom including helping them prepare for careers or graduate school after their time at Blackburn.