What was once the Communication Arts and Sciences (CAS) department has been renamed to the Department of Communication. The focus of the renaming is indicative of “national trends in departmental names, improves branding opportunities, and clarifies our work to prospective students,” according to department co-chair Kathi Groenendyk. The new name is reflective of other colleges’ individual communications departments around the country, who choose to only use the term “communication” to describe their department.
One issue with the name change is that, in conversation, the department is often known by its abbreviation, CAS, but to new or prospective students, this could be confusing. Another issue concerned the department’s social media presence. Because of character limitations, the department’s Facebook page is named “Calvin College CAS Department.”
“Our identity then gets lost with the acronym. Because our Facebook page can have a significant reach, when we cannot effectively link our departmental identity to our stories, we weaken our message,” said Groenendyk.
The initial reasoning for the CAS department name was to be encompassing to the different aspects of communication important to Calvin as a liberal arts school. Although the name has been shortened, the renamed Department of Communication still intends to encompass the same variety of characteristics concerning communication such as film and speech, among others. According to the National Communication Association, this discipline “studies all forms, modes, media and consequences of communication through humanistic, social, scientific and aesthetic inquiry,” which the department continues to embody.