History of Faculty
The history of the Faculty can be summarised in four decades of teaching, researching and passing down knowledge. The former Faculty of Information Science was founded in 1971-1972, three years after a new public university appeared: the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), which had emerged out of high expectations and excitement during the last years of the Franco dictatorship.
The UAB lectures were held in places that today would be considered inconceivable, such as the Monastery of Sant Cugat del Vallès, which operated as the Faculty of Humanities for two academic years, or in some curious premises in Carrer Egipcíaques in Barcelona, where Communication courses were taught. It was then when Information Science Studies in the field of Journalism was created, and a year later, in the Advertising field as well.
In 1992, the twentieth anniversary of the Faculty, a ceremony in memory of the graduates of thirteen academic years was held. It has been another 25 years since the year of the Olympics, and the outcome is that today's Faculty of Communication Studies —and not "Information" given the historical technological and scientific changes— is one of the most well-known faculties in Europe in this field. The Biblioteca de Comunicació i Hemeroteca General (the library), the radio labs, the TV studios and all the teaching and technical equipment make it one of the top European faculties of communication. Furthermore, we have a team of academic and administrative personell working to achieve excellence in this very competitive and highly demanding world, with the support of a constant increase in contributions and improvements throughout its history. The Departments is where you find most of the teaching staff who are in direct contact with the ever-changing realities of the professional world in the communication sector and all the profound changes that all the world is undergoing regarding digitalisation and the Internet.
The original degrees offered, Journalism (1971) and Advertising (1972), were added to with the BA in Audiovisual Communication and the second year of Documentation, which became available ten years later. During 2016-2017 many commemorating events were held, such as speeches and meetings: a homage to the first students who graduated in Journalism and in Advertising over 40 years before. The trajectory of this faculty illustrates how communication has changed overall, especially as a profession, the profile and the concerns of the old and new generations and even the Faculty itself, which has premises for teaching, researching and management available.
There is no doubt that the best assessment of the Faculty of Communication Science has been its impact on the state and development of journalism, advertising, public relations and of experts specialised in fiction and audiovisual entertainment. The importance of the activities of the Journalism School, the Public Relations and Advertising School, the Professional Audiovisual School of Catalonia, Catalonia Audiovisual Council, the Societat Catalana de Comunicació, the ACPC (a Catalan association of regional press) and many other national, state and international organisations—APTIC, FELAFACS, AIERI, UNESCO...—cannot be understood without the protagonism of UAB professors and the graduates, who have achieved intellectual importance and recognition. In particular, the spread of teaching Communication in Catalonia has its origin in the professors and graduates of our Faculty, who took took on the challenges of introducing new studies in Communication to other public or private universities in Lleida, Girona, Tarragona, Vic or the city of Barcelona.
All of this has contributed to making Catalonia one of the most dynamic and innovative areas in Europe when it comes to Communication—from the creation of ethical codes to setting professional criteria.
The teaching staff's job has been—beyond strictly simply teaching—a contribution to the renewal in the debate that puts Communication in a central point of analysis. The established values in the students generations have helped consider all the degrees of Communication as professions with social responsibility. In the academic field, it is important to mention the big amount of PhD thesis and bachelor degree thesis, Master degree thesis (TFM) and PhD and speciality programmes. It is worth pointing out the state and international student exchange agreements that make programmes such as ERASMUS, SENECA and UAB Exchange Programmes in countries such as the United States or Australia possible. The Faculty has exchange agreements with the leading universities of all countries in the European Higher Education Area and Spain. The wide variety of Master degrees that we offer has attracted many students from all over the world, specially from Latin American countries and China.
All of this has contributed to Catalonia becoming one of the most dynamic and pioneering areas in the communication sphere in the whole of Europe, playing an active role in such crucial issues as the development of the Catalan deontological code for journalism and the establishment of standardised professional criteria in the trade.
The endeavour of the Faculty’s teaching staff has extended far beyond the mere provision of technical education to its students, and it has given significant momentum to the renewal of societal debate that places communication at its analytical centre.The values that have been passed down to the new generations of students have also helped raise public awareness of the high degree of social responsibility that comes with our profession. Our Faculty has also made remarkable contributions to academia: we have produced an outstanding number of diploma theses, doctoral theses, MA final projects as well as developing specialization and doctoral programmes. Our national and international connections are worth highlighting too: we have academic agreements with all of the main universities in the European Higher Education Area and in Spain, which allows our students to participate in a wide range of exchange programmes, from ERASMUS and SENECA to the UAB Exchange programme, which has agreements with universities in the USA, Australia, and many other countries overseas. Our broad range of MA degrees has also made it possible for us to attract a large number of international students from all around the world, especially from Latin America and China.
We seek to provide our students with a high quality education and, simultaneously, with the necessary toolkit that allows them to become the information mediators of the future, with the ultimate goal of creating a fairer, freer and better world. In order to achieve that, our Faculty has been equipped with the optimal technical infrastructures, which allow our students to not only learn the theoretical principles of our science, but also the practical basic skills of our trade.
Both the UAB and our Faculty have become an engine of renewal for teaching programmes, welcoming such initiatives as those of the Centre for Political Documentation (or CEDOC, in its Catalan acronym), the Communication Institute (or INCOM) and many others that help project our institution internationally, ranging from the UNESCO cathedra to the specific educational activities aimed at the Faculty students. And most importantly we need to mention the fact that, since 2015, our Faculty relies on its own media platform and its own radio and television stations, which constitute the UABmèdia, a platform that allows our students and teaching staff – and those of other faculties too – to channel their creativity into the design and development of non-stop brand new programming every academic year.
The Faculty has also promoted events and congresses, meetings and gatherings in all of the communications-related fields, and at all national, state and international levels. It has striven – and still does – to build a bridge between the different generations of communication professionals, with the goal of facilitating a mutually beneficial relationship, where the experience of the older fuels the enthusiasm of the younger, and vice versa. We can highlight, for example, all of the editions of the critically acclaimed Festival de Publicitat Drac Novell, or the numerous events and congresses on graphic design, history of the press, audiovisual narratives, television, cinema, communication and sports, and many, many more.
If there is something that characterises our Faculty, it is the prestige we have among companies in the communication sector. This translates into hundreds of academic agreements that allow the students of our three different Bachelors to carry out internships in many different marketing companies, public relations agencies, audiovisual producers and local and state media platforms. We thus guarantee, year after year, the successful incorporation of our alumni into the job market, where their skills and experience are highly valued and their career prospects are both promising and exciting.
This Faculty was, alongside the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and the Universidad de Navarra, the first one in Spain to successfully produce and educate a whole generation of communication professionals. Today, after 45 years, it continues to do so with the same level of commitment, dedication and will to serve the community, the profession and our country.
Josep M. Figueres i Maria José Recoder