Affiliation: School of Social & Cultural Studies
The Communications faculty’s view that theory and practice are complementary and mutually reinforcing is reflected in the curriculum of the major and minor. The curriculum is designed to cultivate a learning environment that emphasizes the interrelationship of humanistic, performative, and social-scientific approaches to the study of human communication through experiential, cooperative, and transformative learning experiences. Students complete the program with a broad understanding of different communication research methods and strategies so that they have the ability to integrate these perspectives when confronting and solving communication problems in everyday life.
The course requirements begin with foundational courses in which students acquire a variety of oral, written, and critical thinking skills that are necessary to the development of communication competence and in which they become familiar with the major theoretical issues and methods in the discipline. As a student progress into the higher-level courses, he or she works with and evaluates the advanced theoretical perspectives that guide contemporary research and build upon communicative skills through application of the communication principles in problem-solving approaches to learning.
The curriculum is guided by the faculty’s strong commitment to fostering respect for the diversity of human communication experiences. The course offerings invite students to appreciate the richness of a multicultural environment and encourage greater sensitivity to civic engagement, as well as inspiring imaginative responses to confounding challenges. A student guided by these principles of learning benefits in many ways. The curriculum is designed to facilitate each student’s professional, civic, and personal development so that they can become citizen-leaders motivated to live healthy and meaningful lives. Communication majors are prepared to meet the communication complexities that characterize an advanced, technical, and multicultural world. Thus, the Communication curriculum provides a firm foundation for enriched personal living and learning, for professional effectiveness regardless of the specific career one may pursue and for informed engagement in the human community.
Students majoring in communication choose to emphasize one of the following areas: Communication Studies, Journalism, or Public Communication.
The Communication Studies emphasis contributes significantly to a student’s personal growth and development given that cooperation, negotiation, and mutual understanding are the cornerstones of successful relationships in work, the family, and the community. By acquiring theoretical and practical knowledge of human communication resources, communication studies graduates can enter new careers confident in their ability to communicate ideas with clarity and effectiveness, a skill that opens doors in any professional field.
The Journalism emphasis promotes competencies required for various modes of mediated communication by developing skills for analyzing, interpreting, and critiquing civic issues in ways that can transform students’ personal lives, social relations, political institutions, economic organizations, and cultural and aesthetic conventions in society. The journalism emphasis promotes industry convergence, critical thinking and competencies required for careers in mediated communication such as newspaper, online, magazine, radio, and television. It builds practical skills in writing and producing content for the new convergent media environment.
The study of Public Communication prepares students to participate in civic and community affairs at a professional level by equipping them with the skills necessary to critically evaluate social issues, identify ethical communication options, and enact responsible leadership and advocacy through practical problem-solving processes. It builds practical skills in writing, speaking, and advocacy based in a social scientific understanding of the formation of public opinion. Specialists in public communication choose from a variety of careers in public policy development, political consulting, public relations, integrated and social marketing, non-profit activism, and other areas of social influence necessary for a thriving democracy.
To become a Communication major, students must have a 2.0 overall GPA and not be on academic probation. Students entering the major are required to take the examination for placement in fulfilling the Public Speaking Essential Skills requirement unless they have previously completed the requirement. No grade of “D” in major courses is accepted toward completion of a Communication major.
DEPARTMENTAL HONORS IN COMMUNICATION
Seniors who wish to graduate with Honors in Communication must meet the following:
- Cumulative GPA of 3.50 or better
- Communication major GPA of 3.50 or better.
- Satisfactory completion of research project with a conference presentation or a juried publication, or satisfactory completion of a comparable evaluated internship.
- Score 80% or better on the Senior Examination in Communication.
- Concurrence of majority of non-abstaining communication faculty.
- Submit the application to Department Office the week after completing the Senior Examination during the final semester
A full description of the requirements and the application form are available on the Communication Department website.