Communication Studies

Associate Professors: H. Bart, J. Bart, M. Nitz

Study in Communication concerns the nature of human interaction. As such, it is one of the most useful areas of study that a person might undertake. Communication is an integral component of a liberal education. Further, communication is an intrinsic feature of functional literacy in contemporary society. Oral communication competence serves the individual in interpersonal, group, organizational, public address, and mass communication settings. Further, training in communication is excellent preparation for the workplace.

The discipline of communication is eclectic, thus serving as an ideal complement to a student’s work in another field. In addition, it has much value in its own right in preparation for: 1) advanced study in communication, business, political science, journalism, and law; 2) positions in teaching, the media, public relations, advertising, business, politics, and the social services. The scope of Communication is broad. A brief description of, and the requirements for, each of the majors is included below.

Communication Studies Major:

38-39 credit hours
Intended to serve as a liberal arts and professional major which might be used in preparation for a professional school, graduate school, or one of many varied careers in the social services, business, the media, politics, advertising, and public relations.

Required Courses: 38-39 credit hours
COMM 110 — Introduction to Communication (3 cr)
COMM 210 — Rhetorical Criticism (3 cr)
COMM 250 — Interpersonal Communication (3 cr)
COMM 260 — Persuasion (3 cr)
COMM 270 — Advocacy and Argumentation (4 cr)
COMM 290 — Communication Research (4 cr)
COMM 395 — Internship (3 cr)
JOUR 115 — News Reporting and Writing (3 cr)
COMM 310 — Communication Theory (3 cr)
–or– COMM 380 — Mass Media Effects

Nine credit hours chosen from the following courses:
COMM 280 — History of U.S. Media (3 cr)
COMM 300 — Intercultural/International Communication (3 cr)
COMM 350 — Organizational Communication (3 cr)
COMM 360 — Persuasive Campaigns (3 cr)
COMM 365 — Public Relations (3 cr)
COMM 397 — Special Topics (3 cr)
COMM 399 — Independent Study (3 cr)

For students wishing to graduate with departmental honors:
COMM 398 — Honors Seminar (1 cr)

Students who wish to seek certification for teaching speech and debate at the secondary level should major in both Communication Studies and Secondary Education. These students should take THEA 115: The Theatre Experience and THEA 230: Oral Interpretation. These courses will be accepted as COMM electives for COMM and SEED double majors only.

Communication Studies Minor:

20 credit hours
(Minor not available in Communication/Business)
COMM Elective coursework (20 cr)

Communication Studies Courses:

COMM 110 — Introduction to Communication (Area 2.2) (3 credits)
This introductory course in communication employs a blending of theory and practice. The theory dimension of the course emphasizes the role and function of human communication in the myriad settings which the individual will encounter during their lives. This dimension explores: the nature of human communication; the precepts which govern dyadic, small group, public address and mass communication; and the application of communication in modern society. In addition, the practicum dimension of the course provides students with various opportunities to enhance their speaking, listening and critical thinking competencies. Offered Every Semester.

COMM 210 — Rhetorical Criticism (W – Area 2.1B) (3 credits)
An introduction to the theory and practice of rhetorical criticism. The student will learn to effectively critique both historical and contemporary public discourse. Students will be exposed to significant discourse in such areas as women’s rights rhetoric, presidential rhetoric, civil rights rhetoric, and others. Emphasis will be on developing the student’s ability to critically think and create coherent defenses of his/her conclusions. This course is offered as a Gender Studies section every other year. Prerequisite: COMM 110; Offered Every Year.

COMM 250 — Interpersonal Communication (Area 1.2) (3 credits)
An introduction to the theory and research findings involving interpersonal and nonverbal communication. Emphasis will be on the principles for effective communication in dyadic settings. Course content will be supplemented by a variety of exercises designed to enhance communication competence. Prerequisite: COMM 110; Offered Every Spring Semester.

COMM 260 — Persuasion (3 credits)
This course is an introduction to the theory and practices of persuasion. Students will study both the production and critical evaluation of contemporary social influence. Motivation and attitudinal theories will be examined as they relate message, source and receiver strategies. Students will learn to be effective producers and consumers of persuasive messages. Prerequisite: COMM 110; Offered Every Spring Semester.

COMM 270 — Advocacy and Argumentation (Area 2.2) (4 credits)
The student will be introduced to the skills and techniques of argumentation and will learn to effectively utilize the principles and techniques of advocacy and argumentation by applying them to both written and oral discourse. The course consists of three phases: theoretical, practicum, and evaluative. Offered Every Fall Semester.

COMM 280 — History of U.S. Media (3 credits)
This course employs a chronological approach to examine the history and evolution of media in the United States. By exploring a variety of mediums, such as radio, television, film, newspapers, magazines, and more, students will learn about media’s roles at different periods of U.S. history and how historical factors have shaped and influenced these roles. A large focus will be on the shift from the broadcast to the narrowcast model and what this means for the media industry today. This course provides a foundation for further media and journalism studies. Offered Every Fall Semester.

COMM 290 — Communication Research (4 credits)
An introduction to the principles of communication research design and execution. This course will focus on qualitative methods which feature participant observation and on both descriptive and experimental quantitative methods. During this course, students will design, execute and report the results of a research project in communication. As a part of this effort, students will receive instruction, and will utilize computers, in the following areas: word processing, literature search, and statistical analysis. Prerequisite: COMM 110; Offered Every Year.

COMM 300 — Intercultural/International Communication (3 credits)
This course will help students build knowledge of some of the theories, processes and practices of international/intercultural communication. It will examine the role of communication in the creation and negotiation of shared identities between and across cultures. The course will place particular emphasis on the role of media, public relations, and other public communication strategies that nation-states, corporations and non-profit organizations use to create shared meaning within and between countries. Offered Occasionally.

COMM 310 — Communication Theory (3 credits)
This course examines the evolution of communication theories from the classical Greeks to modern times. However, the primary emphasis of the course will be on contemporary theories and theorists. This course seeks to promote both an understanding of, and a critical perspective concerning, communication theories. Prerequisite: Any 200-level COMM Course; Offered Every Other Year.

COMM 350 — Organizational Communication (3 credits)
A study of the structure and function of communication in organizations. The focus of the course will involve the concepts and principles needed for effective management of organizational communication processes. Attention will be paid to the way organizations behave and communicate, the problems that individuals encounter in organizations, effective management of organizational communication processes, and the special role of communication as the central, binding force which allows for organized behavior. Prerequisite: COMM 110; Offered Every Year.

COMM 360 — Persuasive Campaigns (3 credits)
A study of the application of the theory and techniques of coactive persuasion in sustained settings (campaigns). This course will examine the theory and techniques used in planning, implementing, and evaluating product/service (advertising), political, and social action campaigns. In addition, under the close supervision of the instructor, students will participate in the design and execution of a research project which examines a legitimate question of interest and importance to practitioners and analysts of contemporary campaigns. Prerequisite: COMM 260; Offered Every Year.

COMM 365 — Public Relations (3 credits)
The principles and practice of public relations. Lectures, reading, and discussion will introduce students to the theories, techniques, and application of public relations. In addition, case studies and group and individual projects will be used to refine and apply course concepts. Cross-Listed with JOUR 365; Offered Every Fall Semester.

COMM 380 — Mass Media Effects (3 credits)
An examination of the actual and potential effects of mass media communication. Initially the course will focus on the theories which have been, and are, used to evaluate the impact of the mass media. Then the course will examine specific mass media effects, including: television and cognitive development, the impact of the mass media emphasis on violence and sex, the media and role stereotyping, agenda setting, the impact of the media on politics, the U.S. media and the world, and the potential of the mass media to educate for positive social change. Mass media effects receiving emphasis will vary from semester to semester. Offered Every Other Year.

COMM 395, 495 — Internship (2-4 credits)

COMM 398 — Communication Honors Seminar (1 credit)
Communication Studies majors may independently develop and complete a research project under the supervision of a Communication Studies faculty member. Prerequisites: Cum GPA of 3.0 or Higher; COMM GPA of 3.3 or Higher; Senior Standing; Consent of Supervising Faculty Member and The Department Chair; Offered Occasionally.

COMM 197, 297, 397 — Topics in Communication (2-4 credits)
The Department of Communication Studies will occasionally offer special seminars on timely subjects of interest to departmental majors. Prerequisite: COMM/COBS Majors Only; Offered Some Semesters.

COMM 199, 299, 399 — Independent Study (2-4 credits)
Individual work under the direction of departmental faculty. This option is designed for Communication majors who seek an opportunity for in-depth study beyond the scope and/or depth of departmental course offerings. This option is considered additive to-not substitutive of-required departmental course offerings. Prerequisite: Consent of the Instructor and the Department Chair.