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Faculty of Media and Communication Studies, University of Central Punjab: Breaking New Grounds in Media Education

By Naeem Mustafa (Daily Pakistan)

Since the concept of the global village was introduced, the importance of mass communication has rapidly increased worldwide. Students are more inclined towards communication studies as compared to earlier times. New fields of communication studies are being introduced with new ideas and concepts. Many reputed institutions of communication studies are being opened in several countries including Pakistan. During pandemics, online education became common, and students of mass communications also enrolled in online courses in huge numbers compared to on-campus students. The way media studies have gained popularity in our country is tremendous. However, some people criticized the establishment of too many educational institutions.

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 Once Punjab University was the only institution that was providing Journalism education. Initially, it was just a diploma that converted as a proper degree, firstly of one year and then of two years. Slowly it transformed into the proper Department of Journalism. With time, Department of Journalism tuned into the Institute of Communication Studies. Initially, many colleges were affiliated with Punjab University for B. A and M.A Journalism degrees. There have been revolutionary changes in discipline of journalism, especially after the introduction of electronic media during the last twenty years. Now digital media has taken over the media and educational industry. At first, it was believed that the curriculum taught at Punjab University was not only outdated but also not in line with modern trends. It is trying to meet the market requirements.

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Private educational institutions, on the other hand, are trying to create an unmatchable standard. Faculty of Media and Communication Studies FMCS, University of Central Punjab, stands out much ahead of all other private of educational institutions. This Faculty of Media and Communication Studies FMCS has made progress at such an astonishing rate that it is unbelievable. The Courses Outlines, Classroom setups, laboratories, Production house, FM Radio, and Skill Centers highlight the efforts made by the faculty members of this Faculty.

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Since Prof. Dr. Taimoor-ul Hassan has taken charge of FMCS UCP as Dean of FMCS, the working efficiency of regular and visiting faculty members has tremendously improved. Well-known Journalists of Print and Electronic Media are associated with the faculty. This combination of Academia and Media Professionals makes this faculty prominent among others.

In the last few years, the faculty has organized workshops for students and faculty members to empower them with Print, Electronic, and Digital Media skills. FM Radio and Production House have put in many efforts while broadcasting different programs that were appreciated on campus, but common people also admired them.

To bring the faculty to Media Houses and other related Institutions, establishing the Industrial Advisory Board was a milestone achieved. The first meeting was arranged in faculty recently. Along with Head of Department & Associate Professor Dr. Fawad Baig, experts from the media industry, namely Mr. Ajmal Jami (Anchor/Special Correspondent at Dunya News), Mr. Naeem Mustafa (Editor, Daily Pakistan), Mr. Awais Hameed (Executive Producer, Express-News), Mr. Danish Sohail Aziz (Head Business Development at Message Communications, Lahore), Mr. Hasan Zuberi (Founding President of Council of Public Relations Pakistan). Dr. Athar Mansoor (Director ORIC, UCP) was also present. Faculty members, including Dr. Sundus Mustaqeem (Assistant Professor), Mr. Kamran Butt (Principal Lecturer), Mr. Ali Ashraf (Senior Lecturer), Mr. Saleem Akhtar (Lecturer), and Ms. Tabina Sirhindi (Lecturer), also attended the meeting.

The member of the Industrial board gave suggestions to bridge the gap between Media houses and Academia in the light of their personal experiences.

Every semester, a huge number of students got themselves enrolled in FMCS. The Course Content of BS Hons (four-year degree program), MPhil Research and Professional track, the Ph.D. program is designed according to the need of time. In this regard, Dean Dr. Taimoor ul Hassan says that we will introduce short professional diplomas along with these Courses because there is a huge demand for this in Print, Electronic, and Digital Media. Dr. Taimoor ul Hassan wants to take FMCS to the glorious heights at International Ranking. He believes that faculty members, staff, and students together will help him achieve this goal.

Dean of FMCS, Dr. Taimoor ul Hassan played a key role in completing the MPhil and Ph.D. degree program. Many students who could not complete their theses had gracefully completed their degrees under Dr. Taimoor ul Hassan’s leadership. Recently 10 Ph.D. Scholars have completed their degrees. The Governor of Punjab, Chaudry Muhammad Sarwar, distributed the Ph.D. degree to scholars in the 23rd Annual convocation of UCP. Pro-Rector.

Dr. Nassar Akram and Director of Educational Excellence Prof. Sohail Afzal were also present. Dr. Taimoor ul Hassan congratulated the Ph.D. Doctors of FMCS. Dr. Robina Saeed, Dr. Ashfaq Hussain, Dr. Rubab Musarrat, Dr. Irfan Qadir, Dr. Shahbaz Aslam, Dr. Usman Saeed, Dr. Sajjad Hussain, Dr. Pervaiz Akhtar, Dr. Aemen Khalid, and Dr. Jam Sajjad Hussain have completed their Ph.D. Degrees from FMCS. Dean of FMCS, Dr. Taimoor ul Hassan said FMCS would continue efforts to progress and grow education and research.

As far as the link between Curriculum and Media Industry is concerned, the senior Journalist from the Print and Electronic Media Industry working as visiting faculty are playing the role of the bridge. Likewise, FMCS has taken crucial steps to promote professionalism among the students. Different workshops are organized in this regard. Industrial tours of Media Houses were arranged for the students to observe the working strategies of journalists. Dr. Fawad Baig, Mr. Fahad Anis, In-charge Production House Sir Irfan Aslam, Dr. Atif Ashraf, Sir Ali Ashraf, and coordinator Sir Rehman Nasir and Saleem Akhtar deserve appreciation for arranging workshops and seminars. As far as research is concerned, FMCS is doing a tremendous job. FMCS, UCP is also collaborating with different government and private Media organizations. Moreover, MOUs are also signed between the Institutions and other organizations. The credit of all achievements mentioned above goes to the Dean of FMCS, Prof. Dr. Taimoor ul Hassan and his team.

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