Today’s Department of Media and Communications has its roots in the ‘Faculty for Educational Technology’, which was founded by Adolf Melezinek in 1971. The University for Educational Sciences was established with the intention of developing a comprehensive teaching and research programme relating to educational processes. Within the framework of the ‘Faculty for Educational Technology’, questions relating to the use of media for teaching purposes were to be addressed.
In 1978, the faculty became the ‘Institute for Educational Technology and Media Education’. In the same year, the ‘Interuniversity Research Institute for Educational Technology, Educational Media and Engineering Education of Austrian Universities (IUI)’ was established, which, in cooperation with other Austrian institutions, primarily dealt with the production of audiovisual information and teaching materials, as well as multimedia packages.
In 1980, the department’s scientific focal point expanded in terms of content. Mass media also became a subject of scientific debate. In terms of theory, the concept of ‘media maturity’ provided an important contribution to the discussions about media competence. This resulted in research interests such as media and politics, public relations, interpersonal communication, reception research, media and culture and media and gender, which were further developed by the staff members at the department.
Together with the changes to the department’s scientific orientation, the range of study programmes offered was also further developed. Initially, the subject ‘Teaching Technology’ was available, which was exclusively open to students of Educational Studies. In 1983, this was replaced by ‘Media Communication’, which could be combined with any diploma curriculum. From 1999 until the winter semester of 2009/10, the department offered a fully fledged diploma curriculum ‘Journalism and Communication Studies’. This was replaced by the Bachelor’s degree programme ‘Media and Communications Science’ and the Master’s degree programme ‘Media, Communication and Culture’. When the range of courses was revised, special emphasis was placed on achieving an even balance between practice-oriented courses and those with a more theoretical focus.
When the 1993 University Organisation Act [Universitätsorganisationsgesetzes 93/UOG 93] was introduced at the Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt in 1996, the department changed its name to the ‘Department of Media and Communications Science’, in order to make the new areas of focus in research and teaching visible.
The university’s Vorstufengebäude, which houses the Department of Media and Communications, was designed by the architect Prof. Roland Rainer in 1970 and was realised in 1971. In accordance with the guidelines for the protection of historical buildings and monuments, the redevelopment of the Vorstufengebäude was designed by the architectural firm frediani+gasser architettura and completed in October 2008.