Frequently Asked Questions

Below you’ll find answers to the questions we get asked the most. Still have a question, comment, or concern? Contact us.

Communication and information are no longer abstractions. Within and beyond Hawaiʻi, people, organizations, and society have felt the impact when information isn’t delivered, understood, or trusted. The SCI has five units that have related yet distinct approaches to communication and information, allowing students access to a wide range of courses and perspectives. This will prepare students for the jobs and responsibilities of the next phase of the information society. This new school is also positioned to address the imperatives in President Lassner’s Post-Pandemic Hawaiʻi and the University of Hawaiʻi including equipping more Hawaiʻi residents to fill the jobs Hawaiʻi needs, and seeding new economic sectors and developing new approaches to old ones.

The new School of Communication and Information (SCI) is part of the College of Social Sciences and consists of five units: four programs and one institute (with the School structure remaining flexible for future participants). Communication (COM), Communicology (COMG), Journalism (JOUR), and Library & Information Science (LIS) will be programs within the new School. The Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (PACE) will remain an Institute within the new School.

The Program Director (including Director of PACE) of each unit, along with the School Chair (akin to a Department Chair) will serve on the school council to facilitate cross-unit collaborations.  Each unit is free to appoint undergraduate and graduate chairs as they think best. School-level committees will be a resource for all units, identifying collaboration and resource sharing opportunities. The School Chair will be appointed by the Dean, following existing College guidelines.

Faculty initiated the reorganization and the new School structure was designed by faculty.

A team of faculty members with representatives from each unit in the new School met regularly to discuss issues related to the reorganization (e.g., structure, plans for policies and procedures) and drafted the materials. Members of this group engaged in extensive consultation with faculty, students, and staff of their current programs as well as related stakeholders.

No. No degree programs were lost. All degrees that are currently available will continue to be offered in the new School. Over time, there may be changes to programs, as deemed appropriate by the participating faculty.

The new school will benefit students by providing greater access to shared resources, course crossover opportunities, and more faculty in diverse specialties able to contribute to several academic programs.

No. This is an administrative reorganization. There will be no change to the name of your degree or what is printed on your diploma.

No. This was a reorganization and not a merger. The academic programs in the former School of Communications (COM and JOUR), Department of Communicology (COMG), Library and Information Science Program (LIS), and the Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (PACE) are now housed together in the SCI.

CIS governance will not change, but the administrative functions currently performed by the College of Natural Sciences will move to the College of Social Sciences. The CIS Chair will not report directly to any one of the contributing unit chairs, but will continue to direct and work with the CIS program’s governing body, the CIS Executive Committee. The Executive Committee will remain a five-person body led by the CIS Chair and one representative from ICS, ITM, LIS, and COM/COMG. We expect that CIS students will benefit immediately from the inclusion of COMG and Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution faculty as CIS graduate faculty. Other benefits, such as expanded course offerings or GA opportunities, are likely to emerge over time.

A School-level curriculum committee is working with individual programs to identify candidate courses for either cross-listing or program-approved cross-enrollment (i.e., allowing a course from another degree program to officially count toward degree requirements, even if it is not cross-listed).

Yes. There are no immediate changes planned for the current physical locations of any unit in the SCI.