Affiliation: School of Social & Cultural Studies
The Communication major provides a firm foundation for enriched personal living and learning, for graduate study and professional effectiveness regardless of the specific career one may pursue, and for informed participation in the human community. The communication curriculum integrates theory and practice, preparing students to meet the communication challenges they will face in our rapidly changing world. Students complete the program with a broad understanding of different communication research methods, the function of communication in diverse contexts, the principles that guide ethical communicators and the ability to integrate these perspectives when confronting and solving communication problems in everyday life.
The course of study engages a developmental approach to learning in which students advance through a progressive series of courses centered on the principles of personal enrichment, academic and professional effectiveness, and civic participation. Students begin with foundational courses where they 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 communication discipline. As students progress through the advanced courses, they will work with and evaluate the advanced theoretical perspectives that guide contemporary research and build upon communicative skills through critical application of the principles governing communication studies.
The faculty’s strong commitment to fostering respect for the diversity of communication experiences guides the curriculum, so course offerings encourage students to appreciate the richness of a multicultural environment and promote greater sensitivity to civic engagement. This curriculum is designed to cultivate an experiential and cooperative learning atmosphere that emphasizes the interrelationship of humanistic, performative, and social-scientific approaches to the study of communication. A student taking courses guided by these principles benefits in many ways.
Communication students are engaged in a variety of learning experiences and organizations beyond the classroom.
-Many choose to study abroad.
-Many participate in internship or practicum experiences in such fields as public relations, advertising, journalism and political communication. For example, recent graduates completed internships at Fleishman-Hillard, WashingtonPost.com, St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Missouri Attorney General’s office.
-Communication undergraduates have presented their original research or spoken on panels at numerous academic and professional conferences, including the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, the National Communication Association, the Central States Communication Association, the Broadcast Education Association, the Associated Collegiate Press National College Media Convention and College Media Advisers National Convention.
-Students compete as members of our nationally ranked forensics and debate team. They participate in our state and national award-winning media: Index, the campus newspaper; KTRM-FM, the radio station; Detours, our travel magazine; and News 36, our television news program.
-Students are active in pre-professional and honorary organizations such as the Society of Professional Journalists, Ad and PR Organization (International Association of Business Communicators), Lambda Pi Eta, Pi Kappa Delta, and the National Communication Association Student Club.
Students majoring in communication emphasize one of the following areas: Communication Studies, Journalism, or Public Communication.
The Communication Studies emphasis contributes significantly to a student’s personal growth by helping him or her make conscious decisions about message creation and relationship building. Responsible influence, cooperation, negotiation and mutual understanding are the cornerstones of successful relationships in families, workplaces, and communities. The study of theories and practices from both rhetorical and social scientific viewpoints prepares students for a wide variety of careers in management, consulting, research, and client/customer service.
The Journalism emphasis promotes critical thinking and competencies required for various modes of media communication by developing skills for analyzing, interpreting and critiquing events and civic issues in ways that can transform students’ personal lives, social relations, political institutions, economic organizations, and cultural and aesthetic conventions in society. It builds proficiencies in writing and producing content for the new convergent media environment among newspaper, Internet, magazine, radio and television.
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 evaluate social issues, identify ethical communication options, and enact responsible leadership and advocacy. 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.
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 will be accepted toward completion of a Communication major or toward completion of the Communication Minor.
DEPARTMENTAL HONORS IN COMMUNICATION
Seniors who wish to graduate with Honors in Communication must meet the following:
- 3.50 or better overall GPA.
- 3.50 or better GPA in the major.
- Satisfactory completion of research project or comparable evaluated internship.
- Present at Truman’s Student Research Conference, Lambda Pi Eta conference, SPJ or professional conference, or publish a paper. A paper that has been submitted for publication would qualify. “Present” means the student was a major contributor to the research paper who participated meaningfully in all parts of the project. The faculty mentor is responsible for verifying the level of participation.
- Concurrence of majority of non-abstaining communication faculty.
- Submit application to Department Office the first week of the final semester.