From the Department Chair Dr. Wanda G. Brockington ...
"Welcome to the Department of Mass Communications and Journalism at Norfolk State University. We believe that the college experience is more than the imparting of knowledge in a particular discipline. Our responsibility is not simply to support students with subject matter pertaining to mass communication, but rather to share this information and help them develop connectivity to the society around them. In an effort to help students become well-rounded, we not only teach content matter, but fill in where social, cultural and historical knowledge gaps exist. We believe in nurturing the total spirit, to make our students more than skilled professionals, to make them solid and productive citizens of the world. We endeavor to create a classroom atmosphere that is exciting, humorous and challenging and where participation is welcome. So that students will be able to contextualize the material being discussed, we weave current, historical and personal events into the lectures. Of course, emphasis is placed on developing and honoring logical/critical thinking and analytical skills, but also on cultivating a tolerance for different customs, traditions, values and global perspectives."
Our Mission Statement
The mission of the Department of Mass Communications and Journalism is to advance the academic, professional and personal development of undergraduate and graduate students, alumni and media practitioners through select programs of teaching, research and public service that combine strong liberal arts and science studies with professional preparation for the media. The goal of the department is to produce graduates who meet high standards of performance in gathering, selecting, interpreting and disseminating information that may determine the agenda of public discussion.
The History of the Department
The Department of Mass Communications and Journalism was “founded” in 1994 as the result of
a merger of the previously stand-alone units of Journalism (1974) and Mass Communications (1975).
The Journalism Department was established in 1974 with Dr. Lawrence Kaggwa serving as the
inaugural department chair. Kaggwa was succeeded by Dr. Ferrell Ervin 1982, Dr. Dianne Cherry as
acting head 1988-90, and Linda Scanlan as coordinator and acting head from 1985-88 and again
from 1990-93. During this period, the department established itself as a national resource for
qualified, well-trained minority Journalism graduates. The collective visions of these leaders helped to
solidify the department’s reputation as one of the best among the nation’s historically black colleges
and universities. The department experienced tremendous success including a partnership with The
Virginian-Pilot to support high school journalism, successful placement of alumni at leading news
organizations, renovation of its writing labs and other facilities, and a $91,000 grant from the
Freedom Forum to establish a professional journalist-in-residence. The department recruited its own
successful alumnus, Leon Carter, then Deputy Sports Editor of the New York Daily News, to fill the
position. Carter later wrote the proposal to establish the Sports Journalism Institute, which originated
at Norfolk State University in 1993.
The Department of Mass Communications was established in May 1975 and was led by three different chairs: Dr. Wilbert Edgerton (inaugural chair) 1975-85, Dr. Lenora Brogdon-Wyatt from 1985-1991 and Dr. Erwin Thomas as acting chair from 1991-1993. Significant achievements during this time include development of a Bachelor of Music/Media degree, a Master’s degree in Mass Communications (established 1979), the founding of WNSB-FM—a National Public Radio, CPB- affiliated station in 1980, a nationally recognized Communications Conference coordinated by Dr. Grady James, chartering of a chapter of the National Broadcasting Society/Alpha Epsilon Rho, and the creation of the highly successful New York Media Field Study Trip to New York (1982). The department also established an excellent working relationship with the local media which provided internships and professional experiences in a mid-major market. The unit is recognized and respected for continuing to be a leading producer of outstanding journalism and mass communication graduates.
In 1993, the two departments were merged as a part of the university’s restructuring efforts to provide instruction in similar disciplines, to recognize the media’s changing technologies, the media’s convergence, and the demand for a more comprehensive and integrated curriculum. Dr. Shirley Staples Carter was recruited to chair the newly merged department. Dr. Carter had several significant achievements under her leadership, including a student exchange program with Clark- Atlanta College that led to NSU students working in professional media positions for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and the 1999 accreditation by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. Dr. Carter left in 2000 and Dr. Erwin K. Thomas was the Interim chair from 2000-2001. In July 2001, Dr. Emmanuel Onyedike was hired as the chair. Dr. Onyedike successfully led the unit to re-accreditation in 2005. Dr. Wanda Brockington became chair in the summer of 2005.