The Department of Communication Studies has launched a new Organizational Communication (ORGC) curriculum forthe academic year of 2021-22 onwards. With a new positioning, the ORGC program emphasizes two new areas: internal communication and data analytics.
Dr. Timothy Fung, ORGC Program Director, the Department of Communication Studies
Why does ORGC need a change?
According to Dr. Timothy Fung, Associate Professor and ORGC Programme Director, the former ORGC curriculum used to emphasize flexibility aiming to train all-around communicators. However, its career goals were not clearly designated and did not reflect the fact that today’s digital era is creating new job opportunities in the communication industry.
There is a great demand for practitioners with digital communication skills and corporate strategic capability in the current job market. Corporates from different sectors are looking for internal communication talents able to help companies enhance employee engagement and bolster organizational performance across regions and countries.
The revamped ORGC curriculum synergizes the other two concentrations offered by the Department, Public Relation (PR), and Advertising and Branding (AB). Each concentration offers a facet of communication. PR concerns external relations; AB aims at corporate branding, and ORGC emphasizes internal relations.
Internal communication: A Digital-Orientated Approach
The Department of Communication Studies offers new courses on digital technology in order to prepare students to be digitally savvy professionals in the field of internal communication. Students will keep abreast of technology and learn how to employ data analytic skills to execute daily communication tasks in the workplace.
Timothy notes the importance of digital technology in the communication industry. The proficient use of digital media is crucial to student success. Data analytics should be regarded as an essential tool.
“Many companies retain data on their internal communication systems. However, they often lack efficient methods to analyse this data for strategic planning and decision making. The ability on the part of students to analyse big data means that once in the workplace, they can fill this gap and help companies find solutions to all manner of problems,” says Timothy.
New brochure of ORGC concentration
Timothy also highlights the fact that there is an increasing number of young digital natives among employees in many companies. “Most enterprises have their own App, social media and websites created by the IT department. These are run by young digital media professionals reflecting a growing demand for talent in this new era.”
He goes on to stress two main advantages for ORGC graduates once they commence their careers. The first advantage is that they will benefit from the inclusion within the course of professional training. “As the new curriculum takes the professional association’s guidelines as its reference, the quality of training students receive is up to date and has industry relevance.” The second advantage is that students will graduate with digital communication skills which fit for working in corporate enterprises and human resources departments.
New Curriculum Design: Four Pillars
The new ORGC curriculum focuses on four pillars of communication: internal communication training, digital communication skills training, multi-platform content production training, and work-related training. “It contains conceptual knowledge and professional skills for internal communication,” says Timothy.
The second pillar aims to train students to be problem solvers, visual communicators, and communication transformers while the third pillar offers students training in advanced media design or how to use texts, images and communication platforms to plan internal communication activities.
The final pillar, work-related training, is included to prepare students to be job-ready candidates through participating in internship, practicum, and co-curricular activities such as study tours, career talks, and seminars.
The Department invited Mr. Jason Hui, Senior Manager in communication from Shangri-La Group, as guest speaker to kick off the first Internal Communication Seminar on 13 September 2021. “Our guest speaker for the next seminar will be the chairperson of The Institute of International Communication (IoIC). We’ll invite internal communication managers from big tech companies to give talks in the future seminars,” announces Timothy. “We welcome our alumni to join the seminars and stay in touch with us for the details of registration for the seminars.”
The 1 st seminar on Internal Communication by Jayson Hui
“Students will continue to take leadership and writing courses as before,” adds Timothy. “We’ll also continue to provide professional skills training courses, such as campaign or event planning, to further enhance students’ practical skills on how to work with corporate goals and use knowledge to formulate and execute internal communication strategies.”
Students will learn how to plan activities systematically through courses such as Internal Communication and Employee Engagement. Other courses such as Social Media@Work can deepen students’ understanding of the relationship between social media and the workplace.
By taking the new courses, students can explore Data Analytics and Visualization for Corporate Communication, Programming for Digital Communication, and learn to use programming languages to analyse data, generate visually appealing graphs and develop communication programs based on data.
Cultivate Job-ready Candidates
The course has been revamped to enhance ORGC’s competitive advantage by providing students with a clear career path and digital skills to fit them for success in a data-driven jobs market.
“We are not going to train our students with great computer science ability,” Timothy asserts. “But we want our students to become communicators and use digital skills to innovate within corporations.”
The School of Communication provides overseas opportunities to broaden students’ horizons. Students are encouraged to participate in exchange programs and visit multinational companies to get a taste of what a future role in Public Relations might look like. The faculty is expanding job roles and internship vacancies for students. One such role is that of Internal Cooperation at the Shangri-La Company.
Tips for ORGC Students
What do students need to know if they plan to study the ORGC concentration? Timothy believes that attitude is key to everything. To succeed, students need to be curious about what is happening both within a company and the society. After four years’ training, students will be ready to assume internal communications roles and make a positive contribution to both corporate and community.
For more details, students can refer to the department’s website and brochure at www.coms.hkbu.edu.hk/orgc or contact Dr. Timothy Fung.
Authors: LUK Man Sin, WONG Cathy Kin Yan (ORGC3046 Writing for Professional Communication Class 2020)
Edited by Dr. Michelle HUANG