The Department was established in the year 1964 as Rural Community Extension under the aegis of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Government of India and was later taken over by the University of Delhi. Later, the course was restructured and the nomenclature Community Resource Management and Extension (CRM&E) came into being in 1983. The Department was renamed as Development Communication and Extension in 2007.
The research focus of the Department is on development concerns, advocacy and communication for sustainable social change. The other important areas of research are gender, media monitoring, audience segmentation, new media technologies as well as analysis of national flagship programmes. Master’s students are guided to take up independent empirical research and write a dissertation as part of their academic programme. The Department has endeavoured to explore participatory methodologies and innovative techniques in research.
The different courses create a holistic understanding between development issues, programme management, development of media and strategies for sustainable change. The students are trained in Behaviour Change Communication methodologies. They acquire professional skills in developing radio programmes and documentary films along with designing a wide range of print media.
The Internship and Placement Programmes are organized with media agencies, social marketing institutes and media research organizations along with government departments and corporate organizations. The field work experience is structured with an interface with established grassroots organizations based in Delhi and neighbouring states. Seminars and workshops conducted by professionals working with training and capacity building organizations help students to acquire appropriate skill sets.
The Department hosts a Study Abroad Programme with the Department of Human Ecology, Michigan State University, USA. It provides an opportunity for first year Master’s students to attend a programme on American Families and Community Life with a specialization in Development Communication and International Extension systems. Students from the Michigan State University are also hosted by the Department.
Synergy across different disciplines provides a broad based exposure to students. Interaction of the students with faculty from other academic institutions in India and abroad provides strength to academic inputs.
The faculty is well qualified, with training in diverse disciplines of community processes, research extension, mass communication, anthropology, community nutrition, gender studies, development economics, post-harvest technologies and training methodologies for capacity building and skill development. With the introduction of new courses in communications in the revised curriculum and internship with media organisations, an opportunity has emerged for careers in media content design and as editors, in autonomous institutes engaged in communication for social change and corporate social responsibility initiatives. Others are freelancing as consultants and teaching in media schools.