Interview with Jennifer Vardeman, Ph.D. - Director of the Master of Arts in Communication Program at the University of Houston
[Dr. Vardeman] One of our primary strengths is that we are located in the fourth largest city in the United States, and we have a very strong media market, while also housing major companies in nearly every industry that students can work for. We have energy, arts and culture, sports, healthcare, manufacturing and construction, and so much more. With this diversity and strength of industry is the ability for students to engage in internships or work while they are earning their degree. The multitude of organizations in our region also provide students with so many opportunities for their final project or research. We have faculty who are very supportive of lots of different student backgrounds and interests.
Aside from our location in Houston, our faculty are what really makes our program stand out. Our faculty are conducting advanced research in topics that are highly relevant to our society, and where it is headed. We have faculty who are researching the aging population and how it makes health decisions. We have faculty conducting research in fake news, as well as professors who are investigating how female journalists are being treated in other parts of the world. We have faculty who are conducting research on how people communicate about race, class, and gender. All of our faculty members’ work has some kind of application to the real world, and to where the field is going. The application of theory is something that is increasingly being viewed as important at universities, and that is something that has been a central tenet for our program since its beginning.