The Department of Communication and Social Research (CoRiS) at the Sapienza University opened in 2010, following in the tradition of the Faculty of Communication Sciences of an Italian public University. CoRiS provides specific preparation for careers in the field of communication. Its programmes concentrate on media and technology, but also include all the platforms of expression and interaction that make up the fabric of modern day social relations. The programmes offered by CoRiS are always attentive to the needs and trends of its target job market.
The Department is open to interaction with its economic and cultural surroundings and involves companies and institutions that are interested in the “human capital” of its graduates. In 1997, the Unimonitor.com follow-up agency was set up to monitor the jobs that graduates went into and the findings clearly confirm the professional benefits of communication studies. Taking into account the 2010 surveys jointly with Alma Laurea data, one year after graduation, more than 50 per cent of Sapienza graduates (undergraduate and post-graduate degrees) have found employment.
The areas that new graduates are most attracted to include: marketing, advertising, corporate communication and content management. Nearly half of those working in the communication sector have found employment in the public sectors and almost one-third work in radio, TV and multimedia publishing. In the tradition of communication studies, innovation is fundamental. Our scientific community has shown an exceptional ability to keep ahead, demonstrating the extent to which participation in the global network of knowledge and continuous experimentation are crucial for our day-to-day teaching, cultural and research activities. We continue to believe in the need of cross-fertilization between different branches of knowledge.
An intricate interdisciplinary approach is at the very root of communication studies and brings together awareness and knowledge from a number of academic fields, including: sociology, psychology, economics, law, anthropology, history, linguistics, semiotics, philosophy, statistics and computer science. As such, our communication programmes have always aimed at achieving a fruitful balance between research, scientific knowledge and specific professional specializations. This was the starting point for the old-style university to broaden its horizons and strive to bridge the gap with the world of young people, as the new generations engage with communications on a daily basis. It is also an environment featuring a deeply natural and immersive interaction and one in which the young – more so than adults – are keen to learn and to innovate.
So what can a student who chooses to study communications expect? First, students will have the opportunity to access a rich network of different cultural stimuli. Nonetheless, notwithstanding the iridescent and kaleidoscopic universe of communication and the special attraction it exerts on younger people, we still need to remember that the force of the digital “cloud” – the ferment of energy produced by technological innovation and the web – directs our attention towards the latest practices and buzzwords. The role of the university is, instead, to study and understand these fashions and the true changes under way, to dig beneath the purely ephemeral surface of the phenomena and current trends. Moreover, students who choose to study communication science will find themselves in a place of learning that is keen on tradition and firmly recognizes the value of the history of their discipline, albeit relatively new, and its legacy. They will also find a university department in which the teaching model has undergone a paradigm shift of radical innovation: for the most farsighted lecturers, placing students at the centre of attention is now a reality and not a project for the future.
This is the revolution that has taken place in the lecture halls and laboratories of CoRiS.
Prof. Mario Morcellini
Head of the Department of Communication and Social Research