About Dr. Patrick D. Murphy, Ph.D.: Patrick D. Murphy is the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies for the Klein College of Media and Communication at Temple University. As Associate Dean, Dr. Murphy helps oversee the graduate program in Globalization and Development Communication (GDC), as well as the online graduate program in Communication Management. As Associate Professor of Media Studies and Production, Dr. Murphy teaches courses and conducts research in global media, documentary media, ethnography, and the role of media in the environment and social justice. He recently published a book entitled The Media Commons: Globalization and Environmental Discourses, which explores how media systems shape the global community’s understanding of the environment, resource management, and sustainability.

Prior to his current role as Associate Dean, Dr. Murphy served as the Chair of the Department of Media Studies and Production at the Klein College of Media and Communication, where he supported faculty and managed administrative responsibilities across the different programs offered within the College. Before working at Temple University, he was a Professor and Chair of the Department of Mass Communications at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Dr. Murphy earned his Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Cleveland State University. He subsequently received his Master of Arts in International Affairs with a focus in Development Communication and his Ph.D. from Ohio University. He was also a Fulbright-Garcia Robles fellow in Mexico, where he served as a delegate for the University Film and Video Association’s American Documentary Showcase series.

Interview Questions

[MastersinCommunications.com] Could you please provide an overview of Temple University’s Klein College of Media & Communication’s Master of Science in Globalization and Development Communication? How is this program structured, and what key learning outcomes can students expect from the program?

[Dr. Murphy] I think I’ll start by zooming out a little bit and talking about the Klein College of Media and Communication and its different departments. The College is comprised of four different departments: an advertising and public relations department, a media studies and production department, a journalism department, and a communication and social influence department, which prior to that was called strategic communication. The four departments have a shared undergraduate program in Communication Studies and the College has a shared doctoral program. But for a long time, there was no shared master’s program.

So we decided to create a master’s program, and what we wanted specifically was more of a problem-solving focused program, one that trained students to apply the skills and insights they gained directly to solving issues within their local community and beyond. So we developed the one-year Master of Science in Globalization and Development Communication, where students start prior to the first semester in August, and go through an intensive 12-day colloquium course titled Seminar in Media, Communication, and Development prior to the start of their first term. From the very beginning, the colloquium gets students thinking about theory, research, the kinds of projects they are going to do, and prepares them for a very purposeful year. Students then launch into a 13-credit hour semester, which for graduate programs is pretty heavy.

Courses that students take after the colloquium include Development Communication Project Design and Management, in which they learn how communication can catalyze social change, and how to design and evaluate communication projects that target certain audiences. The course Research Approaches in Communication, Development and Social Change gives students the opportunity to learn and apply different research methods to fieldwork with marginalized communities, as well as how to gather and analyze different types of data. Students’ final required core course is their Field Experience, which is a hybrid field study course that actually starts in the classroom. The professor works with students to help them get their project idea and scope finalized. And then students go their separate ways into the field. And for some of them, that means going and working at a community center three blocks away. For other students, that means going somewhere in Latin America or Africa or Southeast Asia or Europe and working on a project, or elsewhere in the U.S. So we’ve had students working on projects both inside the U.S. and beyond. And some of them do internships at NGOs or places like the BBC.

Outside of the seven core classes (21 credits), students have nine credits of electives, and can choose any of the courses from the Klein College of Media & Communication. We also allow students with advisor approval to take classes in other departments. If, say, they want to take a course in anthropology or in public health or geography and urban studies, they can. Those are departments with which we have very good working relationships and our students often take courses from their programs. We designed the program so that students have that flexibility to take courses outside of Klein that will enhance their understanding of the concepts they learn about communication and social change.

[MastersinCommunications.com] May we have more details on the hybrid capstone course that students of Temple University’s Klein College of Media & Communication’s Master of Science in Globalization and Development Communication must complete, as well as the internship, service learning, and special project options they have for their final graduation requirement?

[Dr. Murphy] Students have a great deal of flexibility in terms of what they can do for their field experience. It can take the form of an internship, a research project, or service work. Through their project, students apply both the research methods and the theoretic orientation they have learned about development, which is more commonly referred to now as social change. Within the field of development and social change, there are a lot of participatory frameworks that enable students to engage with underserved populations. So students are working with communities in order to help them solve their problems.

We’ve had students working in after school or summer programs that are meant for children of color who live in disadvantaged neighborhoods. We’ve had students tackle issues of environmental justice, climate justice, and gentrification within their city. And we have also had people who have completed public health work, advocacy for women’s issues, and so forth on other continents. We’ve had people work with UNICEF, BBC Media Action, and the World Bank. So it really runs the gamut between grassroots organizations to official government and non-governmental organizations. This culminating experience is really for the student who wants to make a change. It’s for the student who is interested in issues like poverty reduction, environmental issues, democracy, literacy, public health, and how communications facilitates improvements in these areas.

I also want to note that the Field Experience is something that our students are often thinking about in August, before the start of their first term even. It usually starts off conceptually–for example, a student may be very interested in the way in which social media is used to empower people’s collective and individual voices. And as the term progresses, students consult with faculty and their advisors, connect with organizations in their community, and think about how they can narrow the scope of their interests to focus on a particular community project or service position. Other students may wish to engage in an independent research study, or a creative project using multimedia elements. For example, we had one student who created a series of music videos in Nicaragua that were based on non-violence within the community. We encourage students to explore their passions and to connect them to socially relevant work.

The Director of the GDC program, Professor Tom Jacobson, also has a list of places where students have worked in the past, and so we can help students with placement at certain organizations. Within the College, we also have a career center with a database of internships. So even students who are not quite sure what direction they want to take can consult numerous people and resources within the program.

[MastersinCommunications.com] What makes the Master of Science in Globalization and Development Communication unique, and a particularly strong graduate degree option for students interested in enacting positive change at the local and/or global levels?

[Dr. Murphy] Our GDC program really is an exemplar program. It is small, with just about 10-15 students in a given cohort at one time, and because of its size and the attention we give to the curriculum and to students’ experience, it’s really a feather in our cap here at the College. The GDC program exemplifies one of Temple University’s core values and objectives–the furthering of social justice initiatives, and creating ways for communities to work together to enact positive social change.

It’s to the credit of Professor Jacobson who has worked extremely hard to create a sense of community around that mission in the program. He is a long-time, internationally recognized scholar in the field of development communication, and helped to build an outstanding team of faculty who run the courses in this program. Professor Clemencia Rodriguez is someone who developed the theoretical orientation called “citizens media.” And then we have people who are involved in what is called solutions journalism. All of our faculty are deeply committed to their areas of research, and to getting students engaged in global development and communication.

There are programs that you look at and you think, “You know, I would send my own child to that.” That is how I feel about this one. I just feel like the students are really treated well, and their questions are not only answered, but used as a springboard for further inquiry and growth here at Temple University.

[MastersinCommunications.com] Could you please provide an overview of Temple University’s Klein College of Media & Communication’s Online Master of Science in Communication Management program? How is this program structured, and what key learning outcomes can students expect from the program? Also, how does this program integrate online instruction and interactive learning technologies into its curriculum?

[Dr. Murphy] The online Master of Science in Communication Management is comprised of 31 credits of coursework that focuses on preparing students for roles in strategic communication, public communication, campaign development and management, and crisis management. The degree can be completed in one academic year, and is delivered completely online through webinar and teleseminar courses that facilitate students’ engagement with coursework and their interactions with peers and program faculty. Students can also take the courses in any order they wish. Through their curriculum, students also earn two separate certificates on top of their master’s degree: a certificate in Strategic Communication and Cross-Cultural Leadership, and another in Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution.

The MS in Communication Management just recently migrated online. Until this past August 2017, it was a two-year traditional program where it was designed mainly for professionals based in Philadelphia. Most of the classes were taught at night. And we had also created the aforementioned certificate programs, which were online. And what we noticed was that the certificates started feeding people into the master’s program, and so what we decided to do was formalize the campus program and the certificate programs into one 31-credit online program.

For this program, students take four core classes:

  • Communication Management Research Methods: This course provides students with the fundamentals of communication and social science research methodologies, and teaches them how to form research inquiries and hypotheses, select appropriate research methods, and gather and analyze data.
  • Organizational Communication: In this course, students examine the role of organizational communication in the formation of power dynamics, organizational networks and channels of communication, and the construction of ethical standards within an organization. They also study the different types of communication that occur within an organization at different levels.
  • Social Responsibility in Corporations and Not-for-Profit Organizations: This course poses key questions about the responsibilities that organizations and corporations have to the public, and how leaders can align the interests of companies and their stakeholders. The role of communication in connecting businesses organizations to their stakeholders and educating the public is also discussed.
  • Communication Theory for Professionals: In this class, students learn key theories that will help them understand communication dynamics within the contemporary workplace. Theories of organizational, interpersonal, mass media, and cultural communication are explored, as are the roles of social media and communication technologies in the workplace.

They then take classes in communication and organizational leadership, conflict and crisis management, diversity and cross-cultural leadership, and the design of dispute resolution systems.

  • Communicating Organizational Leadership: This course examines how students can strengthen their leadership abilities though effective communication. Students also explore different leadership styles and how to use power and influence to lead groups and serve the larger community.
  • Leadership in Crises and Conflict Management: In this course, students learn how to handle contentious situations within groups and resolve conflicts using outreach, empathy, and effective communication. This course also covers how to bridge differences in culture, age, personality, and profession to help people connect and work together towards a larger goal.
  • Leading Diverse Teams: Students learn about the different dynamics that are at play within an organization, including social, cultural, professional, and communicative. The goal of this course is to empower students with the theories and methods necessary to facilitate productive collaboration across diverse groups of people.
  • Cross-Cultural Leadership: Through this course, students learn about the role the leadership and communication take in addressing both local and global challenges that organizations and communities face.
  • Conflict Management Processes in the Workplace: In this course, students focus on the discursive processes that third parties use to intervene in a conflict. Facilitated negotiations, mediation, conflict coaching, and other methods of conflict intervention are explored and discussed through the lens of narrative theory.
  • Designing Workplace Dispute Systems: This class covers the theory and research around how to design effective dispute resolution systems for organizations, and how conflict specialists can design, implement, and evaluate these systems over time. Students apply theories and methods of dispute resolution system development and improvement to both private and public organizations.

We incorporate both synchronous and asynchronous courses into our curriculum for this program. For the synchronous courses, students meet at a set time each week to interact with faculty and other students. And on top of the weekly meetings, faculty may also hold optional open-forum sessions where students can log on and bring any questions they have to ask faculty and peers. For the asynchronous classes, students can take their classes and access the course materials and assignments at any time. The core courses tend to be asynchronous, while the certificate program classes tend to have more synchronous options.

[MastersinCommunications.com] Could you please explain the capstone project requirement for Temple University’s Klein College of Media & Communication’s Online Master of Science in Communication Management, and what it entails?

[Dr. Murphy] The capstone for the Master of Science in Communication Management is an analysis of an issue in communication management, which students complete at their current work setting or through their own independent research. The capstone takes the form of a scholarly research project. The vast majority of people who complete this program are professionals. In their projects, students often explore topics in conflict management, dispute resolution, cross-cultural leadership, media management, and other areas.

Some examples of issues that students have investigated include public relations or advertising challenges facing a corporation, issues affecting the public school system in Philadelphia, or how to navigate motivating people to vote for a particular campaign pushing for environmental regulations, public health, or other objective. The projects often have a problem-solving bent, in that students investigate and make recommendations around issues or conflicts they have encountered in their work. Once students have completed their projects, they submit it for review by all the faculty in the program.

The faculty for the MS in Communication Management program come from both our advertising and public relations department and our communication and social influence department, so advisors for students completing their projects can come from either or both of these departments.

[MastersinCommunications.com] What role does faculty mentorship play in Temple University’s Klein College of Media & Communication’s graduate programs, and how can students make the most of these mentorship opportunities and support systems? Additionally, what career development resources and academic services are available to students of the Klein College of Media & Communication?

[Dr. Murphy] Faculty mentorship is a major element of students’ experience in both the GDC program and the Communication Management program. From the very beginning of the program, faculty support students and encourage them to take their research interests further. The faculty who guide students in their development and completion of their culminating projects, internships, and service learning experiences are invaluable resources to students both during their program and afterwards.

In terms of career development support, the Klein College of Media and Communication actually has a career center all of its own, for students taking its graduate or undergraduate courses. This center is also open to students even after they graduate–so say you want to switch paths or hit a stumbling block in your career years after you graduate; you can contact the career center and they will help you. Our GDC students use the career center a lot, but they also receive a great deal of mentorship through their relationships with professors.

For the online Master of Science in Communication Management, students often find opportunities for mentorship by getting to know the faculty who teach courses in areas that resonate with their interests. Faculty are always available via online office hours, email, and phone to students to reach out and discuss course concepts or their research interests. Furthermore, the Program Director for the online program, Dr. Tracey Weiss, can also facilitate connections between faculty and professors.

[MastersinCommunications.com] What advice do you have for prospective students in terms of submitting a competitive application for either the Master of Science in Globalization and Development Communication program or the Online Master of Science in Communication Management program?

[Dr. Murphy] Our GDC program has easily been our most diverse program. We have had students from Africa and Asia. We’ve had Latino and African American students, Caucasian students, students from both rural and metropolitan areas. The diversity within our cohort makes for a really rich and interesting experience. As the name of the program indicates, we are looking for someone who is interested in making a difference in their communities, and who is invested in asking and investigating complicated questions around communication, human behavior, and social change. That kind of passion and mission should come forth in the personal statement. For instance this year, we have a returning Peace Corps volunteer who is one of the people in the program. We have another young man who is from Benin who taught himself how to speak English and is one of our best students.

And we also have students who are from places like older industrial cities that are struggling in today’s economy. Students from these areas tend to be interested in making a difference in their local community, and grappling with issues such as public health and poverty reduction, the opioid epidemic, environmental justice, and more. So applicants to this program should demonstrate that they are asking questions such as, “How do I make a difference? How can I use communication to combat these challenges?” Their letters of recommendation should also illustrate their drive and investment in social service.

In terms of the online program, I think when we made it, we envisioned that we were going to get applicants from all over the world. And interestingly enough, we found that that has not happened, at least for now. Most of our enrolled students are from eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, and Maryland, and are working professionals who want the convenience of an online program when they get home. For the online Master of Science in Communication Management, we are looking for individuals who have a clear idea of what they want to get out of this program–we want to learn about their professional and academic background, what drives them, and whether they can handle the rigorous coursework in the autonomous context that is online learning.

[MastersinCommunications.com] What makes the Klein College of Media & Communication an exceptional place for students to pursue their graduate education in the field of communication?

[Dr. Murphy] Within the College of Media and Communication, we have done a great job of hiring some incredible new faculty–both bright and young faculty, and established faculty who are full professors and have spent a decade or more in the field. We’ve worked hard to provide innovative future-thinking programs, and we’re committed to sustainable programs that stand the test of time. While our GDC program is our flagship in the realm of communication for social change, all of our programs seek to teach students how to make a difference and solve problems, from our professional programs to our doctoral program.

I think the way in which our curriculum has changed over the years also demonstrates that we work to stay current in the field of communication, which is an incredibly dynamic and ever-changing area. I’ve been here since 2009, and the number of things we have been able to achieve in the College is striking. This is a place where you can study communication dynamics at multiple levels, in a sort of laboratory setting, if you will–but in a way that answers questions that are important all over the world. I think this underlying, fundamental objective of our program to always stay relevant and connected to our local, national, and global communities is the reason why our program has continued to grow.

Thank you, Dr. Murphy, for your excellent insight into Temple University’s Master of Science in Globalization and Development Communication and online Master of Science in Communication Management programs!