Conference to focus on restructuring UA depts

By Ann McBride

Arizona Daily Wildcat

A former president of NBC News and two deans of communications are among the national communication professionals who will visit the UA Friday for the one-day Conference on Information and Communication Sciences.

The conference will be held in conjunction with the University of Arizona's Commission on Communications and Information, which was formed in February by Provost Paul Sypherd to study the future of communications at the university.

This conference is an "interim" step that will provide the commission with its first "cut" of information generated so far, said Ralph Martinez, professor of electrical and computer engineering and one of eight commission members.

Martinez said the purpose of the conference is twofold. On the one hand, it is an opportunity to inform the campus and community of the commission's progress. On the other, it gives members an opportunity to discuss, with national figures in the communications industry, the commission's "general approach" to restructuring six UA departments.

The conference will include talks about preliminary class structure and the type of department which should teach these classes, Martinez said.

Martinez stressed that the commission will not present a "draft," but will simply share ideas and receive feedback from the group.

The morning session will begin at 8 in McLelland Hall's Berger Auditorium and is open to the public. It will feature presentations by each of the visitors and a status report by commission Chairman Jay Nunamaker.

The afternoon session will begin at 1:45 in McClelland Hall Room 214 in which faculty, industry advisors and the speakers will conduct a discussion via computer.

Participating in the conference is Robert Johansen, director of the new technologies program at the Institute for the Future; Pam Johnson, Arizona Republic's managing editor; and Robert Mulholland, retired president and chief operating officer of NBC News and a retired professor at Northwestern University.

Also speaking is Raymond von Dran, dean of the school of information studies at Syracuse University.

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