Communication and Media Studies

The Department of Communication and Media Studies represents one of the fastest-growing disciplines in higher education. It is founded on the belief that competent communication transforms individuals, organizations and society. Graduating majors are prepared for careers, or for advanced education, in fields as diverse as advertising, entrepreneurship, public relations, broadcast journalism, law, ministry, human resources, higher education and not-for-profit management.

Departmental faculty define oral communication competence as the ability to form and maintain satisfactory relationships as well as the ability to gather, organize and deliver informative and persuasive speeches. Thus, course offerings in the broad areas of corporate communication, media studies and organizational communication are supported by both interpersonal and rhetorical theory. Graduates of the Department of Communication & Media Studies will be able to:

  • analyze the relationship between communication and context by examining how communication functions in specific interpersonal, group, organizational, and public context(s);
  • relate communication and culture in the construction of alternate world views;
  • articulate and apply ethical guidelines for communication practice;
  • think critically about communication situations or problems;
  • effectively use research methods and materials;
  • construct and deliver an ethical, well-organized, and appropriate message using technologically diverse methods.

Department learning outcomes are measured (in part) by the students’ abilities to demonstrate skills in and/or knowledge about (1) message design and (2) message effectiveness in public forums.

Effective message design requires (a) audience adaptation, (b) established speaker credibility, (c) support for claims (through logical argumentation and credible research), (d) adherence to ethical standards (i.e., understanding the intended and untended consequences of manipulating or falsifying information), and (e) a recognition of how various channels influence message reception (e.g., computer mediated information).

Major

(B.A. degree) Thirty-three hours required in Communication and Media Studies, including COMM 115, 200, 250, 305 and 450. Eighteen additional hours, including a minimum of twelve upper level hours, may be selected in the student’s area of interest. (No more than three hours of practicum and three hours of internship credit may be applied to the major or minor.)

Minor

Eighteen hours required in Communication and Media Studies, including COMM 115 and 200. Twelve additional hours may be selected in the student’s area of interest. A minimum of nine semester hours must be 300/400 level.

Courses

101. Principles of Communication. (3 hours) Survey course designed to provide students with an introduction to human communication processes. Students will acquire a theoretical basis for understanding and evaluating specialized content areas within the discipline which include: (1) Interpersonal/ Relational Communication, (2) Media Studies, (3) Corporate/Organizational Communication, and (4) Rhetorical Studies. Fall and Spring

115. Professional Communication. (3 hours) Introduction to the rhetorical dimensions of public communication in the professional world including the use of technology to enhance multi-media presentations. Fall and Spring

200. Personal and Interpersonal Bases of Communication. (3 hours) Introduction to the social, psychological, and physiological bases of private communication. Fall and Spring

215. Introduction to Broadcast and New Media. (3 hours) Introduction to the operation of radio studio equipment and general studio operation; practical experience producing various types of radio broadcast material. Lecture and Lab. Fall and Spring

250. Communication Theory and Research Methods. (3 hours) This course examines the role of communication theories used to understand and assess communication in contemporary social environments. Specifically, this course examines current trends in communication research along with various fundamental theories. Prerequisite: COMM 115 or 200. Fall and Spring

260, 261, 262. Speech Lab Practicum. (1 hour each) Supervised practical experience in tutoring, communication assessment, and speech lab administration and management. Requires 3 scheduled hours per week for every credit hour taken. Prerequisites: COMM 115 and instructor approval. Fall and Spring

263, 264, 265. Practicum in Broadcasting. (1 hour each) Supervised practical experience in radio production through the facilities of the student radio station and, possibly, Webcasting. Prerequisite: COMM 115. Fall and Spring

300. Advanced Interpersonal Communication. (3 hours) This class examines theoretic assumptions that guide relationship research across major developmental periods of the life cycle, such as childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. Prerequisite: COMM 200. As needed

302. Media Journalism. (3 hours) Principles and problems of news and feature writing for print media. Prerequisite: COMM 115 or 200. As needed

306. Media Criticism. (3 hours) Provides an examination of critical theories and their application to a variety of media forms. Prerequisite: COMM 115 or 200. Spring

308. Argumentation. (3 hours) Argumentation in political, economic, cultural, and social decision-making through theoretical examination and practical application of basic concepts. Prerequisite: COMM 115 or 200. As needed

310. Persuasion and Propaganda. (3 hours) Examination of classical and contemporary theories of rhetoric (persuasion and propaganda), as they apply to speech, media, campaigns, social movements, and popular culture. Prerequisite: COMM 115 or 200. Fall

312. Group Dynamics. (3 hours) Examination of the increasing importance of interpersonal communication in small group situations. Experiential group activities and research required for in-class and outside projects. Spring

315. Advertising. (3 hours) Examination and analysis of principles and concepts of advertising with special emphasis on developing creative strategies for the marketing plan and advertising campaign. Prerequisite: COMM 115 or 200. Fall

323. Conflict Management. (3 hours) Examines the roles of communication relational conflict. Addresses interpersonal theories that explain (in)effective skills, personal dispositions and strategies that affect dispute resolution. Spring

329. Gender and Communication. (3 hours) Examination of gender and gender stereotypes related to communication competency in four primary contexts: intimate relationships (e.g., friendships and family), the educational setting, the media, and the workplace. Fall

331. Nonverbal Communication. (3 hours) Examines nonverbal communication codes, including their structures, usages, and interrelationships. Stresses student understanding, analysis, and application of nonverbal communication through lecture, discussion, and experiential activities. Spring

335. Media Communications. (3 hours) Study of media communications and the effects of the media on our lives. Prerequisite: COMM 115 or 200. Fall and Spring

350. Entrepreneurial Leadership. (3 hours) Attempts to identify the new characteristics and behaviors that benefit new ventures and also questions whether these characteristics benefit leaders in contexts other than startup organizations. Prerequisite: COMM 115 or 200. Even Falls

400. Organizational Communication. (3 hours) Communication processes within an organization, such as socialization, performance control, decision-making, conflict management, diversity, and technology. Fall

413. Leadership for Change. (3 hours) Overview of leadership theories, and the examination of the communication processes involved in developing and sharing a vision, making and implementing decisions, and managing conflict. Prerequisite: COMM 115 or 200. Spring

415. Public Relations. (3 hours) A campaign based study of public relations literature and practices in business, industrial, educational, social, and governmental contexts. Prerequisite: COMM 115 or 200. Spring

418. Intercultural Communication. (3 hours) Examination of the influence of culture as a primary variable on interpersonally oriented communication outcomes in contexts ranging from macro and mirco cultures of social and ethnic identification to countercultures, social classes, rural-urban settings, geographic regions, and gender differences in organizations and families. As needed

420. Videography: The Documentary. (3 hours) An examination and analysis of principles and concepts of videography including the planning, development, production, and post-production of short-video genres. Prerequisites: COMM 115 or 200 and COMM 215. Fall

440. Independent Study. (1, 2, or 3 hours) Study of a limited subject within any communication area, proposed by the student, and submitted in written form stating objectives, methodology, and time limit. Must be approved by a COMM faculty member who agrees to supervise the study and by the department chair prior to registration. Only three hours may be applied toward the major. Prerequisites: COMM 250 and approved prospectus. As needed

450. Seminar in Communication and Media Studies. (3 hours) Integrative experiences and research on current topics of interest in communication theory and practices. Prerequisites: 27 hours of major completed including all core courses and application approved by department. Fall and Spring

461. Internship. (3-6 hours) Fieldwork activity in a related communication field to apply classroom theory. Prerequisites: 24 hours of major completed and chair approval. As needed

471. Topics in Communication and Media Studies. (3 hours) Group study of selected topics in special areas Communication Theory; Non-verbal, Family, Health Care, and Electronic Media. Prerequisite: COMM 115 or 200. As needed



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