4.9. The copy of the accreditation page issued by the commission of the acreditation of higher education programs about the rights to implement the accreditated academic master program „Communication” (Nr./030-1880) 213
4.10. The copy of the accreditation page issued by the commission of the acreditation of higher education programs about the rights to implement the accreditated academic master program „Communication and media studies” (Nr./030-1881) and the excerpt from the protocol nr. 263 of the session of accreditation commission of june 16, 2010 about the change of the title of the study program. 214
4.9. List of the study subjects in the study plan of the academic master study programme „Communication and Media Studies“ 1st and 2nd study year (form d-1, copy) 218
The Academic Master‘s study programme „Communication and media studies“1 has been developped in concordance with the Higher Education Law of the Latvian Republic, The Accreditation Regulations of the Higher Schools, Colleges and Higher Education Study Programmes no. 821, issued by the Cabinet of Ministers on the and the State Higher Education Standard Requirements Nr.2 issued by Cabinet of Ministers.
The Academic Master‘s study programme „Communication and Media Studies” has been developped at the Faculty of Communication (further CF) of the Riga Stradins University (further RSU) with regard to the topical problems of public communication, strategic tasks connected with the development of the state and the prospects of the labour market in the context of the changing media field. The development of new media – digitalization, internet and mobile technologies – and the convergence of media are the basis of the structural change in all areas of the social life. The field of communication rapidly changes, it predicts changes in the specifics of the work of communication specialists, new working places and professions, therefore there is a need of new, well educated, creative professionals that are competent in modern media. A stress is put on the creativity and creative industries, which include also the biggest part of media and communication industries – radio, television, e-publications, advertisment, photography etc. – in the context of development of knowledge society in Latvian2 and EU3 documents on the strategic development proves that media competence and professionals skills connected to media industries will be no only needed in the work market in future, but even will have a new, important role. Thus, the importance of the programme for today can be discribed as determined by many factors connected to the developmentof the social, political and economic environment in the EU and Latvia, such as:
the decisive role of various levels and kinds of communication processes in the formation of civic and democratic society in Latvia;
the convergence of media, the development of multimedial communication and structural changes, that this process iniciated in the variety of different fields of communication;
the challenges of information society in the context of the social problems and education;
the specifically outstanding role of mass communication in modern society and culture;
the significance and role of creative industries and communication in the boosting of the local market and entrepreneurship;
and several other aspects of the modern social life.
Thus, the Academic Master‘s study programme „Communication and Media Studies” at RSU has been created:
with the awareness of the changing communication processes being behind the changes in all the realms of contemporary society;
awareness that the lack of education, knowledge and information about communication deepens social, political and economic problems in Latvia;
with the aim to offer an integrated, innovative, flexible and profound study package responding to the challenges of the changing modern world in need of the education of skillful and able, highly qualified, competent and competitive communication specialists ready to work in the fields of public relations, journalism, communiation research, analysis and prognosticating in Latvia and the other European Union countries.
As Latvia has undergone transformation in social, economic and political life within last 20 years, communication processes, especially the field of mass communication have also been changing cardinally. The introduction of private property and the principles of market economics in the media system together with the changes in the basic principles of journalism and the expansion of public relations and advertising, the development of civil society and civic consciousness as well as the corrections caused by globalisation and the development of the new technologies have absolutely changed both the functioning, peculiarities and etiology of the public sphere. The personal lives, daily habits, traditions and culture of the civil population have also been modified beyond recognition.
Even if some of the realms of life have started stabilising recently, the dynamics of various domains of communications and culture are still very prominent, so it attracts special interest. This interest is evident every academic year in the growing numbers of applicants for communications studies in different higher schools of Latvia .
The interest is supported by continuous emergence of new communications study programmes. For all that, media and communications research work is not sufficiently developed. There is not enough longitudional research and such as there is lacks systematic approach. Thus, the short-term campaign-type approach that is evident in many other realms of social life has been applied to communications research as well. Communications field practitioners, media managers and professionals, public relations specialists, members of state administration and non-governmental organisations have often discussed this problem with media research specialists, including the lecturers and students of the Department of Communication Studies of the RSU. They praise the scientific research work that has been done as well as that which is going on at the RSU and follow it with interest.
We still do not have enough of flexible communications research specialists, neither analysts, nor prognosticists that would be able to specificate the fast changing environment. Such specialists should have both fundamentally profound theoretical knowledge and vision. Besides that they should be interested and willing to work in the field of communications and formulate and present their ideas clearly and convincingly. The Academic Master‘s study programme „Communication and Media Studies” at the RSU envisages training of just such specialists. It being the priority, education of the new generation of brilliant research scientists and lecturers is not forgotten either, to ensure the sustainability and development of the environment of academic research and discourse in the field of communications sciences.
In the present polical and economics situation in Latvia along with Latvia joining the European Union strategic development, globalization, digitalization, still existing two information areas, not to be avoided in the context of the formation of new social communities and networks, the practitioners of the media and communications fields are facing the following new challenges:
to have a good knowledge of the specifics of inercultural and global communications;
to be aware of the social processes and innovations following and learning flexibly the evolving communications areas, forms and means;
to boost the cooperation between practitioners and theoretitians (so that the cooperation benefits both sides) for reciprocal benefit;
to enhance longitudinal development and sustainable renewal of the teaching staff and the traditions of scientific research;
to enchance the development of media competencies in the wider society.
The contents, structure and specific character of the learning process of the Academic Master‘s study programme „Communication and Media Studies” have been planned to train specialists that are enabled to achieve the above qualification and work in various fields of communications both nationally and internationally. They should also be aware of the significance of the field as well as their responsibility and accountability to the society.
The field of communications needs academically educated specialists, well skilled in the state of the art/cutting edge techniques, because most of the present-day practitioners working in journalism, public relations and communications analysis have either received dated knowledge or do not have any specialised education whatever. The specialists graduating from universities should improve the situation by using the knowledge acquired during studies.
The above considerations indicate the need for academically educated communications practitioners and theoreticians who could work for further development of communications as an academic science and enhance academic education of communications specialists in Latvia. The RSU Academic Master‘s study programme „Communication and Media Studies” which has been developped for this purpose and is in its second year of being implemented is training such specialists along with a similar master’s programme at the Communications Department of the Social Science Faculty of the Latvian University. However, there are distinctions between those programmes both in the contents and structure, as well as in the forms of implementation.
In comparison with the full-time Academic Master‘s Study Programme „Communication and Media Studies” which is taught at the Communications Study Department of the Social Science Faculty of the Latvian University, the Academic Master‘s study programme „Communication and Media Studies” which is being implemented at the Communications Study Department of the CF of the RSU is more flexible and dynamic.
The Latvian University programme envisages more specific lengthy face-to face courses about communications with less ratio of students independent work than the RSU Academic Master‘s study programme „Communication“ which tries to balance the theoretical survey with practical analysis of situations. The module system ensures faster completition of separate study courses and more independent work of students with public analysis of the results of studies in the form of presentations and discussions at the conclusion of each course.
It should be observed that there are master’s programmes for training specialists in particular fields of communications at several other higher educational institutions, such as Vidzeme Higher School and Business School ‚‘ Turiba‘.
In the academic year 2008/2009, the Communications Study Department of the RSU also started implementing a new master’s study programme „Strategic Management and Public Relations“.
Master study programs in which students obtain knowledges and skills connected to media industries are developed also in other universities at art and humanities departments – in Latvian Art Academy, Cultural Academy of Latvia, Liepāja University, International School of Economics and Business Administration etc. In comparision with those programmes the master study program „Communication and Media Studies“ of Riga Stradiņs university combine deeper study of media, by stressing not solely journalism, public relations, elements of artistic expression of management in media work and communication, but developing compex view on the specifics of different media and communicative aspects of the contemporary social problems, including described content in the studies with flexible plan of courses and inovative learning methods. The unicality of the program is connected to one of its main priorities – by ensuring the synthesis of academic and profesional knowledges while improving the academic capacity of the personell working at the program and involving high level lecturers into the implementation of the teaching process.
On May, 20, 2009, our study program was acreditated until the December, 31, 2011 with the certificate issued by the Acreditation Commission of Higher Education Programs (see in Appendix). In the period of two years the administration of the programme have worked on the improvements of the content and implementation of the program, by including several changes according to the conclusion of the expert analysis:
The aims and tasks of the program have been concretized in concordance with the interests of the Latvian state, higher education development strategies and the formulations of the European and Latvian Qualitification Frameworks.
The content of the program has been revisited and balanced, including the new profile of the programe in the context of similar programmes and changing of the title of program (with the certificate of Accreditation Commision from June, 16, 2010, see in Appendix), as well as including new courses in the curriculum of the program („Media theories“, „New media and network theories“, „Information and copy rights“, „Subcultural communication“, „Photography“).
The cooperation with other higher schools, including from foreign countries. Students as well as academic staff members participate in the international exchange in the framework of ERASMUS. Solid contacts have been created to the Aristoteles University in Thessaloniki, Greece and to the Akureyri university in Iceland.
An intensive attention is given to cooperation with a future work providers in media industries.
The stress is put on the development of research in the study process, by enchancing also the presentation of the work of students in the wider society – each year concludes in the „Postgraduate readings“. That allow the access to the research results of the students for broader public of media professionals and lay people.