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Coronavirus: Get complete details about the university's response to COVID-19.


    School of Journalism and Mass Communications

    Important Announcements

    Check back regularly as we will update this.

    The SJMC graduate student services office will operate virtually from March 13 – April 3. You can reach Camea Cato via telephone (803-777-5166) or email ( during normal business hours (8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday). 

    MMC Advising Appointments: All advising appointments will be via telephone or email. Email Camea Cato to schedule an appointment ( 

    MA and Ph.D. Advising: You should meet with your advisor via email, phone, or Skype to discuss your summer and fall plans.  Once you have done so, you need to either forward the email to Camea Cato or email her your plans (include your name, student ID number, advisor’s name and courses for summer and fall). Make sure to copy your advisor on the email. Although you will not need to submit an advising form, PLEASE EMAIL YOUR PLANS TO CAMEA BY APRIL 8, 2020.

    Please make note of the following adjustments:

    April 17: Format Check Deadline for Thesis/Dissertation

    April 24: Defense Deadline

    May 8: Final Submission Deadline for Thesis/Dissertation

    Please note, that individual exceptions remain possible for the defense and final submission, ONLY if the format check has been met.  The format check is online and does not depend upon any face-to-face meetings.  I will strongly encourage you to acquire the habit of having students use the final format for a proposal meeting, and then to use that document, once approved by the committee, to pass the format check.  The student is then able to focus all energy on the content of the final document when the deadline to graduate becomes more pressing.  Not meeting the format check results in an unfair load on everyone trying to process the materials from students who met all deadlines.

    Please plan on holding thesis and dissertation defenses ‘virtually’ using Skype, Zoom or whatever interactive program you are comfortable using, without the expectation that there will be a public seminar component.  If possible, holding public seminars later in the semester, when we are able to return to campus, would be preferable.  Our collective desire is to ensure academic rigor while still facilitating student progress to degree completion under difficult circumstances.

    There is a regularly updated list of resources and webinar links on numerous tech resources, platforms, and teaching guidance information which should provide help and guidance during this time. The page includes info on how to:

    • Get individual and group assistance.
    • Get help with virtual drop-in sessions and how to teach remotely.
    • Help using Blackboard collaborate.
    • Communicate effectively and modify classroom content.
    • Use the online tools and resources which are available.

    Principles to keep in mind:

    1. Nobody signed up for this. Not for the pandemic or the associated anxiety, or possible illness, not for the social distancing, not for the sudden end(!) of our collective interaction (and lifestyle) together on campus. None of us signed up for an online class, not for teaching remotely, not for learning from home, not for mastering new technologies. It’s all new. It’s okay to feel grief about this, especially for you graduating seniors. 
    2. We cannot just do the same thing online as we planned to do in class. Some assignments are no longer possible, some expectations are no longer reasonable, some learning outcomes are no longer vital. We are going to prioritize simpler options, clear communications and expectations, and successful learning and completion.
    3. We will continue to foster intellectual development, social connection, and personal accommodation. The asynchronous content will allow for diverse accessibility, time zones, and individual situations. The optional synchronous discussions and chat encourage better learning together and combats isolation. 
    4. The best option is kindness and flexibility. We are going to prioritize supporting each other as humans as well as fellow students in a strange learning situation (including myself!). We will remain flexible and adjust to the situation. Nobody knows where this is going and what we’ll need to adapt. Nothing like this has ever happened before. Ever. Everybody needs support and understanding in this unprecedented moment.

    Message from the Director

    Dear SJMC graduate students,

    I wish you the best in these uncertain times. I’m writing to assure you that SJMC faculty and staff are working diligently to address environmental and personal concerns related to the virus, all the while looking to maintain educational continuity.

    A few important notes:

    • Work remotely and avoid campus. 
    • GTAs will be working on moving their own teaching online. If you need any support with this, please let me know. 
    • Non-GTA’s are not required to work next week and cannot be penalized for not working. 

    Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or grad faculty and staff with any questions. As always, we are eager for you to succeed and are here to problem solve with you now and in the future. Finally, please don’t forget to take time for self-care. We have challenges and there will likely be more. We will work them out.

    Andrea Hickerson's signature
    Andrea Hickerson 

    Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.