Page Header

Mass Communications

WELCOME  to the Department of Mass Communications at Virginia Union University! The Mass Communications
offers a B.A. degree in communications with a concentration either in broadcast journalism or public relations. The department is housed under the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and offers unique courses in writing techniques for journalism, TV production and public relations. 


The mission of the Mass Communications Department is to help students acquire the knowledge and skills to build successful mass communication careers and the concepts to think strategically about the role of mass communications in society. The program provides comprehensive courses of study including theory and practice in print, TV, radio and public relations.

The department houses a state-of-the-art television studio and digital editing lab in the L Douglas Wilder Library. The department's teaching goals are aimed at building professional communicators who are grounded in liberal arts, possess strong reading, writing , critical thinking skills and who will gain the strategic skills essential to be competitive within the marketplace. 

Growing and Expanding. The Department of Mass Communications launched a new Public Relations sequence January 2014. The sequence created new credited courses for students to experience such as Social Media, Public Relations Writing and Production, Media and Crisis Communications, Research in Public Relations, Event Planning, Principles of Public Relations, Public Relations Campaigns, and Persuasion and Propaganda.  

Under the new Mass Communications curriculum, students are able to select a focus between the Broadcast Journalism track or Public Relations track. Overall, students learn techniques under each track which will make them more marketable and competitive within the workplace.


USE HASHTAGS #vuumasscomm #vuupr #vuusocialmedia 


The Department of Mass Communications includes two tracks and offers courses in the areas of Broadcast Journalism or Public Relations. Students will have most of their major courses under the track selected, however are able to take courses in the other area to complete their MCM elective requirements. 

Courses offered for both tracks include:

Broadcast Journalism

MCM 200- Foundations of Mass Communications 
MCM 204- Language Skills for Communicators 
MCM 206- Social Media
MCM 210- News Reporting
MCM 245- Broadcast News
MCM 307- Media Ethics
MCM 309- Radio Production
MCM 345- TV Production I
MCM 400- Mass Communications Portfolio 

MCM 415- Mass Communications Internship 
MCM 412- Communications Law
MCM Elective
MCM 414- Advanced TV Production

MCM Elective 


Public Relations

MCM 200- Foundations of Mass Communications 
MCM 204- Language Skills for Communicators 
MCM 206- Social Media
MCM 210- News Reporting
MCM 212- Principles of Public Relations 
MCM 300- Research in Public Relations 
MCM 302- Public Relations Writing & Production 

MCM 307- Media Ethics 
MCM 400- Mass Communications Portfolio 

MCM 412- Communications Law
MCM 415- Mass Communications Internship
MCM 416- Public Relations Campaigns
MCM Elective
MCM Elective 



The Department of Mass Communications at Virginia Union University offers a public relations sequence which was introduced to the department spring semester 2014 when alumna, Heidi Wilson saw the need to bring more strategic communication courses to the program. The sequence has provided an array of new courses added to the mass communications curriculum. Students concentrating on public relations have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience along with build professional networks through the department's partnerships, internship/mentor program and events. 

Students concentrating on public relations at VUU get to explore:

Critical Thinking, Strategy, Intense Writing, Presentation Building, Creativity, Internship Placement, Mentorship Program, Hands On Learning 

Please Use Hashtag #vuupr for photos of happenings with our public relations sequence 


Why Study Mass Communications at VUU?

Students enrolled in the Mass Communications program at VUU get to explore:


Mass Comm students are given the opportunity to gain real experience in the work field through internships! Internships are available in all areas  of mass communications such as television, radio, public relations, social media, film etc. The Mass Communications department partners with various departments on campus to provide internships to students who may not feel comfortable transporting to off campus sites. Students also have the opportunity to intern with companies outside of the Richmond, VA area, especially during summer semester. Mass Communications professors ensure students are informed and well-prepared when applying for various internship opportunities. A special thank you to the Virginia Union University Department of Athletics and VUU Center for Undergraduate Research for continuously working with mass communications students.

Department of Mass Comm Internship

The Department of Mass Communications offers its own internship opportunity within the department. During this internship, students are able to assist with various projects implemented by the department.


Alumni Connection

Alumni of Virginia Union University are strongly connected to the university and its students. Our mass communications alumni actively engage and interact with Mass Comm students through visits to campus and the classroom, various programs, mentorships, internships and job opportunities. 


Guest Speakers/Lecturers 

During the academic year, professionals and professors are invited to campus to share their knowledge and experiences with students in and outside of the classroom. 


Job Shadowing 

The Mass Communications Department partners with several associations and companies to provide job shadowing opportunities for students.


Hands On Learning/Experience

Students are given the opportunity to work with real professionals and clients through campaign development, presentations and video production. 

Networking and Connecting 

Students are given the opportunity to meet and network with VUU alumni, professionals and future employers by participating in various university/department programs and activities!


Television Studio

The department houses a television studio in the L. Douglas Wilder Library. Students are able to use the studio to practice their skills and create video projects. 


The Department of Mass Communications is able to partner with other departments, companies and organizations who help the department provide opportunities for student learning. Some opportunities include sponsorship for various events, internships, hands on learning etc. 



The Department of Mass Communications participates in various fundraising activities through the year.

Student Clubs/Associations

Mass Communications students have the opportunity to join the Virginia Union University Association of Black Journalists as well as participate on various departmental committees


Student/Faculty Connection

All Department of Mass Communications faculty have open door policies and work hard to connect with students in and outside of the classroom setting. Faculty members participate in several events and activities with students. 


The Department of Mass Communications engages students through research. Students are able to conduct research in the form of interviews, surveys, focus groups, case studies and experiments through the MCM 300 Research course. In addition, the department works closely with the VUU Center for Undergraduate Research Center. Students participate in the VUUCUR "Panther Pipelines" Discovery Day and internships through the center. 


The Department of Mass Communications offers students a variety of different programs throughout the year. Programs include workshops, symposiums, mixers, meet & greets, professional development and many more. 

Department of Mass Communications Faculty 

Ms. Heidi Wilson
Chairperson and Instructor of Public Relations

Heidi L. Wilson is an accomplished Professor, Administrator, PR Consultant, Speaker and Innovator originally from Martinsville, VA where her love for communications, people and teaching began. 

Wilson currently is the Department Head and Public Relations Instructor for the Department of Mass Communications at Virginia Union University. Along with her title as Chairperson, she also currently teaches courses such as Social Media, Media & Crisis Communications, Public Relations Campaigns, Event Planning, Public Relations Writing, Research in Public Relations and more. In 2012, Wilson designed a new Public Relations sequence on behalf of the Mass Communications department that was officially approved by the University Academic Review Committee and implemented January 2014. In May 2016, the first group of students graduated from Virginia Union University with a concentration on Public Relations. In the fall of 2015, Wilson led the department in its first ever fundraising campaign titled "Shoe Rally" in an effort to help fund a Mass Communications Week event. In April 2016, Wilson implemented the first entire week of activities for the department in the history of Virginia Union University. 

Wilson's most recent accomplishments include delivering a poster presentation on "Negative Effects of New Media on Millennials," participating in the VUU Humanities & Beyond conference with Keynote speaker Nikki Giovanni and being highlighted as Member of the Month for PRSA Richmond. 

Wilson's memberships include Public Relations Society of America (PRSA, National Chapter), Public Relations Society of America (PRSA Richmond Chapter), National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), Richmond Association of Black Journalists (RABJ) and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. 

Office: 214-A Ellison Hall
Office Number: 804-257-5702

Dr. Emmanuel Onyedike, Ph.D. 

Dr. Emmanuel U. Onyedike, Professor in the Department of Mass Communications, has more than 28 years of experience teaching journalism and mass communications at the college level.  He has been an administrator for seven of those years.

Dr. Onyedike's educational background includes:

Ph.D., Education, University of Iowa, Iowa City, 1985, Dissertation topic: “Journalism Education and Newspaper Work in Nigeria.”
M. A., Public Affairs, University of Iowa, Iowa City, 1982
M. A., Journalism, University of Iowa, Iowa City, 1979 Thesis topic: “Origin and Development of Nigerian Press Laws.”
B. A., Mass Communication, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, 1975

Dr. Onyedike was Dean, School of Arts and Sciences at Virginia Union University July 1, 2005 – June 15, 2006. He was Professor and Chair, Department of Mass Communications and Journalism at Norfolk State University, July 2001 – June 2005.  He guided the department through a successful re-accreditation visit in February 2005 by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC).  He wrote Part I: General Information section of the self-study report.  He also wrote five of the 12 Standards (Governance/Administration, Budget, Student Records/Advising, Faculty (Full-Time/Part-Time), and Internship/Work Experience. He co-wrote an additional Standard, Curriculum.

Onyedike was Professor and Interim Chair, Department of Mass Media Arts, Hampton University, Hampton, Va. 1999 – 2000 where he guided the department through a successful re-accreditation visit by the ACEJMC 1999 – 2000 academic year. He co-authored the self-study reports on General Information, Part I and Governance/Administration.  Individually, he prepared reports on Budget, Curriculum, Instruction/Evaluation, and Student Records/Advising.  He also coordinated a major grant proposal resulting in a $2.3 million Scripps Howard Foundation award to Hampton University’s Department of Mass Media Arts in 2000.

Dr. Onyedike teaches the following courses at Virginia Union University: MCM 413: Copy Editing; MCM 412: Communications Law; MCM 400: Mass Comm. Portfolio; MCM 350: Visual Communications; MCM 307: Media Ethics; MCM 210: News Reporting; and MCM 204: Language Skills for Communicators.
His professional memberships include: Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), Association of Third World Studies (ATWS).

Office: 214-C Ellison Hall
Office Number: 804-257-5678

Ms. Aloni Hill
Assistant Professor 

Professor Aloni C. Hill is a native of Chesterfield, VA. She earned a Master of Arts degree in Media Management and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications from Norfolk State University. Her research areas of interests include multiculturalism and stereotypes in the media, reality television, and Christian Communication. Presently, she works as an Assistant Professor of Mass Communications at Virginia Union University. Her course load includes Television Production I, Television Production II, Broadcast Newswriting, Principles of Public Relations, and Freshmen Orientation. In addition, Ms. Hill serves as the advisor to Virginia Union University Association of Black Journalists (VUUABJ) chapter. 

Outside of her career in higher education, Professor Hill is a Multimedia Specialist. She has worked in several capacities as an audio and video editor, news content specialist, radio board operator, audiovisual specialist, magazine journalist, associate producer, production assistant, grip, and public relations specialist. Her specialized skills include video editing, audio editing, audio production, video production, electronic news gathering, electronic field production, camera operation, reporting, interviewing, and broadcast newswriting.      

Hill's memberships include: National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), Richmond Association of Black Journalists (RABJ) and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. 

Office: 214-E Ellison Hall
Office Number: 804-342-3957

Ms. Tia Brown 
Administrative Assistant 

Ms. Tia Brown is the Administrative Assistant for the Department of Mass Communications. Her interests include poetry/writing (she is currently working on her first book of poetry), music, reading, and visual arts. Her dream career is to become a feature journalist working with Essence or Ebony Magazine and a business owner of a Café/Bookstore here in her hometown of Richmond, VA.

Office: 208-Ellison Hall
Office Number: 804-342-5635

Virginia Union University Association of Black Journalists

The Department of Mass Communications re-established its Virginia Union University Association of Black Journalists (VUUABJ) chapter on the campus of VUU Fall 2016! The VUUABJ chapter is an affiliate chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). NABJ is an organization of black journalists, students and media-related professionals that provides quality programs and services to and advocates on behalf of black journalists worldwide. 

The VUUABJ chapter advised by Professor Aloni Hill has hosted many events and programs on the campus of Virginia Union to include: VUUABJ Presents Mark Tenia, Reporter at WRIC 8 News, a “Dorm Storm” event where members went to each dormitory to introduce themselves and provided students with study tips for mid-term exams, final exam study hall to prepare mass communications students for their finals, VUUABJ Chipotle Fundraiser Night and VUUABJ Presents Katie Dupree, Meterologist for WRIC 8 News.

The VUUABJ chapter also participates in community service programs such as the Making Strides for Richmond Breast Cancer Walk held by the American Cancer Society on October 16, 2016 at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond, VA. 

VUUABJ chapter members meet once a month in Ellison Hall Room 214 and would like to continue to thrive as a chapter. If you are a VUU student and would like to join VUUABJ or receive additional information, please contact Professor Aloni Hill at 

You may follow and keep up with  VUUABJ on Instagram @VUUABJ !! 


(Please click photo for video) 

    (For more videos please visit our Youtube page at Virginia Union University Mass Communications Department!)

FEATURED ALUMNI (Where are They Now?!) 

Leha Byrd
Public Relations Specialist/VCU Health System/Virginia Commonwealth University
C/O 2000

Raymond Hawkes 
Beat the Traffic Reporter / WTVR-CBS 6
C/O 2007

Heidi Wilson 
Mass Comm Chairperson & Instructor/ Virginia Union University 
C/O 2004

Clovia Lawrence
Community Outreach Director & Media Personality/ Radio One, Inc. 
C/O 1987

Gerald Huggins
Podcaster, Writer & Public Speaker/ USA Today Sports Media Group 
C/O 2016

Maurice Young 
Masters Level Therapist & Counselor/ Community Council Health Systems 
C/O 2007

Kyerra Carr 
Center for International Studies Program Assistant/Virginia Union University 
C/O 2014

Charmica Epps
Director of Alumni Relations/Virginia State University 
C/O 2008

Dex Robinson
Owner Principal at DexRob Group
C/O 2009

Patrice Baltimore Hagan
Senior Public Relations & Communications Manager 
Virginia Department of Social Services
C/O 2007

Gabrielle Easley 
Associate, U.S. Headquarters/Burson-Marsteller Public Relations & Communications Firm 
C/O 2012



Candace Moore-C/O 2007 
"The Mass Communications Department offers a supportive environment for students to excel. Faculty members provide encouragement and candor to building professionals, ultimately challenging them to apply their skills and seize competitive opportunities in the field."

Austin Haynes
Mass Comm Student-C/O 2018

"The Mass Communications Department founded its Public Relations sequence in January 2014, this outstanding program has given students opportunities to do paid internships to earn academic credit. Also, the public relations sequence gives you first hand job shadowing experiences, networking events and guest speakers."

Taylor Jenkins-Thompson-C/O 2017
"I learned so much from the Mass Communications Department! I'm happy that I chose public relations as a major because now I am confident that I will find my dream job and continue to work in the public relations industry throughout the rest of my career. I'm thrilled and ready to take public relations to the next level!" 

Trevon Womack-C/O 2017

"I'm thankful for being a mass communications student at Virginia Union University! Mass Communications is a vital part of the business world today and the department prepares students for it through its broadcast journalism and public relations tracks." 

Sheora Harris-C/O 2006
"Congratulations on the extension of the VUU Department of Mass Communications. I am enjoying watching, hearing, and learning of the many ways this department is experiencing growth and developing in order to prepare students for very competitve fields after graduation. As an alumni of both VUU and this department, I am proud!"

Gerard Woodridge-C/O 2016
"The Department of Mass Communications at Virginia Union University has opened the door for me to proceed with my love for television."

Brittany Smith-C/O 2017
"Broadcast Journalism was my first choice when coming to Virginia Union University, after taking one course with Professor Heidi Wilson, I knew Public Relations was the best choice for me. Professor Wilson's classes has definitely prepared me for a career in PR."


Thank you to our Sponsors and Supporters! 

The Department of Mass Communications would like to thank all of our supporters!! 

If you would like the opportunity to partner with the department, please contact Chairperson, Heidi Wilson at 

Department of Mass Communications Photos!