To celebrate its 40th anniversary, the Center for Communication Practices at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has announced a broader vision as well as a new name: the Center for Global Communication and Design, known informally as Comm+D. The center, located on the first floor of Folsom Library, will host an anniversary celebration and open house on February 12 and 13, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Comm+D was established in 1978 as The Writing Center to offer communication assistance to the Rensselaer community. For four decades the center has offered one-on-one consultation to students, faculty, and staff in preparing written, oral, and electronic communication projects.

Now the center is expanding its areas of teaching, research, and service beyond writing and oral communication to include various types of visual communication including illustrations, interface design, video and animation storyboards, and multisensory data representation.

In addition, workshops and discussions with international scholars will highlight research in different areas of communication and inform pedagogical initiatives that prepare students to communicate effectively in diverse global contexts.

Also, beginning in the summer of 2018, the center will operate year-round in support of The Arch program’s new academic summer semester, providing mentoring, research presentations, and professional workshops.

The director of the Center for Global Communication and Design is Patricia Search, professor in the Department of Communication and Media and a designer of interactive multimedia installations that explore the aesthetics of space, time, and action in multisensory design. Barbara Lewis, lecturer in the Department of Communication and Media, is the communication practices lead faculty in the center with expertise in writing in disciplines. Center staff include graduate teaching assistants and undergraduate mentors who have significant experience in composing and responding to many types of either written or visual work.

The new name and expanded mission of the center align it more fully with The New Polytechnic, the teaching and learning paradigm at Rensselaer that fosters multicultural sophistication and a global view among students. The foundation of The New Polytechnic is the recognition that global challenges and opportunities are so great that they cannot be addressed by the most talented person working alone. The New Polytechnic enables collaboration using the latest, most advanced tools, technologies, and approaches to address the complex problems of the world.