The Department of Communication and Language Arts came into existence on the 1st of July, 1975 as a result of the decision of the academic department within the Faculty of Arts.
The Reading Centre, which gave birth to the new department was first established during the 1964/65 session, with the following objectives:
- To advise first year students on methods of study; to improve their speed of English reading and comprehension; and to continue assistance for students in other years who feel the need for special help in this field.
- To carry out research into ways of improving the teaching of English readings of Nigerian students.
- To train Nigerian personnel as Reading specialists.
- To act as a resource and guidance centre for institutions concerned with improving the teaching of English reading in schools.
During its five years of existence, the centre’s resources were devoted to the achievement of the first and second sets of objectives.
In subsequent years, the centre’s objectives were broadened, and its resources expanded not only to meet the requirements of developmental, remedial and rapid reading, but also to take care of related language skills (listening comprehension, speech and writing) and Communication Arts.
In the 1987/88 session, the department’s name changed to the Department of Communication and Language Arts in order to reflect more properly, the scope of its work in providing training in communication skills for the individual’s social, professional and intellectual growth.
The conversion of the Centre from a teaching support unit to a degree awarding department after ten years of existence was a very significant change in the development and study of the Language Arts as an academic discipline in this University. In addition, its subsequent broadening to encourage communication arts has made it even more relevant to the country’s communication needs and consequently, a very popular course of study.
The Department of Communication and Language Arts is designed to provide training in communication skills needed in a variety of settings – interpersonal, group, organizational, cross-cultural, mass communication and instructional. It offers a sequence of courses that provide the student with firm academic foundation while also ensuring opportunities for skills development and acquisition of practical experience in the various areas of communication.
Students are encouraged to take subsidiary courses in disciplines which relate directly to their career goals such as the social science, education, health, agricultural extension, language studies and so on. Combined honours degree programmes with Classics, Linguistics Yoruba, Theatre Arts, Religious Studies and Modern European Languages are allowed.
In keeping with these objectives, the Department offers Communication and Language Arts courses that serve the following purposes among others:
- Provide instruction to students of various disciplines and faculties, who wish to improve their use of English or their language skills with a view to learning and communicating more effectively in English as a second language.
- Lead to the award of a first degree and/or a higher degree in Communication and Language Arts, which will allow students to choose as their areas of emphasis –
- Receptive and Expressive Communication/Language Arts (Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing)
- Mass Communication (Print Journalism and Broadcast Journalism)
- Applied Communication/Language Arts
- Public Relations
- Indigenous Communication Systems
- Book Development
- Provide the theoretical framework and the practical training that will enable many students to effectively devise and execute language arts programmes, not only in English but also in Nigerian languages which they can speak, read and write.
In addition, the Department of Communication and Language Arts is expected to generate new academic and extra-curricular activities. These include:
- Corrective lecture-tours and demonstration lessons on reading and other language skills.
- Encouragement of various forms of creative writing with a view to producing creative works of appropriate readability level, which will also help in the conservation, transmission and/or the enrichment of our cultural heritage.
- Consultancy work in instructional communication, developmental communication, mass communication, interpersonal, cross cultural and group communication, public relations and advertising, indigenous communication systems.
Students with specialist training in Communication and Language Arts have a wide variety of occupational choices such as being –
- Practitioners in the Media – Print and Broadcast
- Practitioners in Public Relations and Advertising
- Communication Consultants
- School or College teachers of English Language Arts, specialising in remedial or developmental work in reading and learning, in speech communication or in creative writing
- Independent professional writers of popular books, articles or stories, children’s books, novels, plays, poetry (all literary genres)
- Book Publishers, Editors in Publishing Houses and Book Development Centres.