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School of Communication & Journalism
About Us

Through exploring the School of Communication and Journalism website, you will find that we offer a wide variety of courses in our four programs.

In the 1920s, the Department of English was home to the first journalism courses offered on Auburn’s campus. Journalism became an official major in 1934, and in 1974 became its own department. Professor Emeritus Jack Simms, an Auburn alumnus, founded the Department of Journalism. He served as a professor and the first head of the Department of Journalism from 1974-1992. The groundwork created by Simms shaped today’s School.

The Department of Communication made its entrance onto Auburn’s campus as the Division of Speech in the Department of English in 1948, chaired by Dr. Frank B. Davis. Dr. Davis lead the Department of Speech out of English in 1956 and served as head of the department from 1956 to 1973. The Frank B. Davis Fund for Excellence in Communication was endowed in 2016 to honor Dr. Davis and his service to the Department. The Award helps fund graduate and undergraduate Communication Program awards. The department became the Department of Speech Communication in 1970 before finally evolving into the Department of Communication in 1985. This name better represented the various programs within the department.

Professor Emeritus Bert E. Bradley played a significant role in the establishment of the Department of Speech Communication. He was head of the department and a professor from 1973-1989. His legacy lives on in the minds of the many people that knew him well. The prestigious Bert E. Bradley Award has been awarded since 1990. This award recognizes students at the graduate and undergraduate level who excel in the areas of scholarship, service, research, and teaching.

The Department of Communication began offering courses in the area of mass communication in 1952. These courses evolved into the Radio/Television/Film major. Professor Emeritus Jay Sanders introduced media courses when it was known as Alabama Polytechnic Institute. In 1985, after more than thirty years dedicated to teaching film and media courses, he retired from the university system. The department recognized his contributions to the field through the annual Jay Sanders Film Festival.

In 2000, the Auburn Board of Trustees combined the Department of Communication and Journalism. The two departments, both significant in their own right, joined forces to provide students with an education deeply rooted in the foundations of the past and the visions of the future.

In June 2013, the Board of Trustees approved School designation for the Department of Communication and Journalism.

Provost Timothy Boosinger, in his presentation to the board, said the department met the university's criteria to achieve school status, such as the number of students, degrees, majors and faculty. The new designation will increase the potential for the School of Communication and Journalism’s programs to grow through increased visibility, extramural funding and enhanced recruitment of prospective students and faculty.

“Becoming a School puts in line with our peer institutions and helps us become more competitive when applying for funding for communication and mass communication research projects and grants,” said Dr. Jennifer Wood Adams, the School's director.

The Radio-Television-Film program changed its name to Media Studies in 2014 to better communicate the scholarly and creative work the program conducts. In 2016, the Media Studies – Visual track was established.  Media Studies was renamed Film and Media Studies in 2023. Reflecting this change, the Media Studies – Visual track was renamed Media Studies – Film.

In July 2019, the AU Board of Trustees approved the Journalism-Sports Production Option, the first of its kind in the SEC.

The School offers four areas of study: Communication, Journalism, Media Studies and Public Relations.